Hank Q & A

What type of service dog is Hank?

Hank is an ADI dog - Assistance Dogs International – which means he can go anywhere in the world with Emma Faye. He has been specifically trained to make long international flights. He is Emma Faye’s permanent sidekick wherever she goes. Hank is a professional when he is dressed for work in his vest and gentle leader he has to stay focused therefore the “no petting” policy is in place.

Is the red strap across his nose a muzzle?

No, the strap across his nose is a “gentle leader” just like a horse has a halter that leads them gently by their head, the leader reminds Hank that he is working. It doesn’t hurt, he actually prefers it while he is working because he knows he is on duty. He has full use of his mouth to catch a ball, eat or drink water. It also helps Emma Faye, because it is loose, and the direction of his head pulls the leash to alert her where the sound is coming from.

Does he bite?

Hank doesn’t bite.

Does he bark?

Hank doesn’t bark – even when other dogs are barking at him - because he has been trained to be Emma’s ears and barking does not help her because of being deaf. He will bark on command if she is feeling unsafe or asks him to bark.

How can you tell the difference between a pet whose owner is trying to pass off as a service dog and an actual trained ADI certified service dog?

The difference is drastic in their behavior. For example, traveling on a plane or in a restaurant, a service dog will “go under” and fit in tight spaces including under the airplane seat. Hank immediately goes “under” and will fall asleep or rest until he is commanded to go. You will never see a certified service dog getting up and wandering into the plane aisle. There is no outside sound, person or other animal that will make Hank misbehave especially when working.

Where does he sleep?

Hank sleeps in his own bed because this is when Emma needs him to be attentive the most. Hank is on alert for any out of the ordinary sound to help her stay safe. If the fire alarm or alarm clock goes off, Hank will jump in the bed until Emma wakes up to let her know there is danger or it is time to wake up.

Why can’t I pet him?

Service dogs are working to hear and alert their person to what is happening around them. Petting distracts him from his job. If Emma gives the command to “say hello,” he can visit while he is working.

Can my pet become a service dog?

Hank is one of the rare dogs bred to become a service dog. He was born with the purpose of becoming a hearing dog. However not all dogs in this program actually pass to become a hearing dog. A small percentage actually pass to become an ADI registered service animal. It takes about 2 years of training and thousands of dollars by these certified facilities to train dogs like Hank. Hank had a financial sponsor who paid the facility to train him. Hank has about $45,000 in training.

He’s so serious; does he ever have any fun?

As soon as Hank takes off his work clothes, Hank is a dog. Although still very well behaved, he likes to play, run, lick, jump and act like any other dog. Hank has a serious professional side and a fun playful side.

Can I feed him or bring him a treat?

Unfortunately, no. Hank is on a very special diet and has to stay at 73lbs. He is a working dog with thousands of dollars of training invested in him; he needs to stay in tip-top shape for as long as he can. Hank is a Lab and this breed has joint problems, so weight gain causes these problems to accelerate. Also, Hank never gets people food and has a very sensitive stomach and people food makes him very sick.

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