In July the Law Library Staff welcomed a new member to its team, Bubba Jeb, a Hearing Service Dog. He accompanies his deaf human, Teresa, to work each day. Bubba Jeb sat down with MoreUs for an interview and a few treats. Yesterday we ran Part 1 of that interview. Following is Part 2.
A Day in the Life of a Service Dog
MoreUs: As a Hearing Dog, what is a typical day for you? How do you help your human?
Jeb: I am her only hearing. She is fully deafened. I walk with her outside and alert her to any sounds, such as cars approaching from behind us, or people walking behind us, that sort of stuff. In this way, I keep her safe from being hit by a car or stepping into traffic. I nudge her when we’re in the car if I hear a siren. This alerts her to look for an emergency vehicle.
At home I let her know if someone is knocking on the door, if I hear thunder, or some other sound in the house. If something falls and makes a noise, for example, I run and get her and take her to the thing that made the noise.
I also go to the grocery store, shopping (I LOVE to go shopping), post office, and even to human doctors’ offices.
And, now I come to work each day at the Law Library, only I don’t think it’s work.
MoreUs: You don’t think it’s work? Why?
Jeb: Well, this is the most welcoming environment I’ve ever been in. The humans here are so nice and open hearted. It’s really like being around a bunch of Labs. I love coming to work each day. So many of the Law Library staff members make time for me and make sure that I have a treat or two so that I can keep my strength up to work. I love meeting the students. U.Va. law students are the best. I know that they are smart because so many of them like me. The students who work at the reference desk are fantastic. They are some of my new BFFs.
MoreUs: Do you have any favorites on the staff?
Jeb: Well, as a Lab mix it’s in my genes to love everyone, but I can sniff out a dog person. So, if you see me hanging around an office you know that I’ve found a kindred spirit. Each person here makes me the happiest dog on the planet.
MoreUs: Since you’re a Service Dog, are there some things that humans should or should not do when they see you?
Jeb: It’s okay to pet me and talk to me, but I still have to keep my ears open for my human. When I’m wearing my Hearing Dog vest I know that I am on duty. Fortunately for me, there aren’t any cars in the Law Library so I can take time for making friends. And, being a dog, all the extra attention doesn’t go to my head. It goes to my tail which I just wag more.
MoreUs: Do you get any time off from being on duty?
Jeb: I’m on duty 24/7 just like my human is deaf 24/7, but she allows for a lot of time for me to simply be a dog. She takes me on an off leash trail run each morning on our way to work and we end each night with a long run. I get a walk and play time break at work each day. During the summer I swim in ponds and lakes. When I went to the beach I couldn’t get enough of swimming in the ocean. So we mix play in with our work. She’s very dog like that way. I’ve trained her well.
MoreUs: What have you found most interesting about the Law School?
Jeb: I am fascinated to learn that U.Va. Law has an Animal Law Program! I’d love to learn more about it. All animals need and deserve the support and protection that humans can provide for us. I hope that they study the ADA Service Animal requirements. That’s a very interesting area of animal law. It’s one that needs the input of intelligent attorneys so that both the needs of a service animal and a disabled person are met. It addresses humans and animals equally.
MoreUs: Since you are a Service Dog you probably are the right one to answer the age old question, “Dogs or cats: which are better?”
Jeb: Well, I think the best way to answer that question is with another one: Have you ever seen a Service Cat?