Tonight after orchestra rehearsal, I was cursed at and threatened by a security guard because of my service dog.
Rehearsal itself went well! I was nervous all day leading up to rehearsal, but managed to get through the anxiety and make it there. My seat-mate Bethany was not there, but I did get to sit next to my new friend Chris again. He is a fun guy to sit next to!
We played a lot of my favorite songs, and then near the end of rehearsal, the conductor told us to pull out Tartini. This is a concerto that I have been too afraid to attempt before tonight as I have to play in 7th position (for non-violin players, this means I have to put my hand up really high on the violin which is hard to do). 21 years ago when I last played violin, 7th position was no big deal for me. So I tried it tonight, and success! My fingers remembered for the most part how to play that high!
I wasn’t perfect, but I was able to sight read the song pretty well. So I was on a little bit of a high as I left the practice room and headed to my car.
Now you may remember that after the first rehearsal on September 9th, a security guard in a golf cart approached me and told me I was not allowed to have pets on campus. I politely explained she is a service dog. I thought that interaction was the end of it.
However, after tonight’s rehearsal, I was walking back to my car and the same security guard drove by on his golf cart. He told me I needed to respect the rules of the campus. I asked him what rules I was breaking, and he told me that there are no pets allowed.
I responded by saying that my dog is not a pet, she is a service dog. He then cursed at me, saying “Bulls**t”. I repeated again that she was a service dog, and was about to explain what she does to assist me (following the ADA), but he cut me off. He told me angrily that if I didn’t stop bringing my pet, that he would do everything in his power to ensure the orchestra could not practice there anymore. Then he drove off.
What an awful end to a very nice practice! I was rattled to say the least, but after 14 years of working with service dogs, I was able to pull myself together enough to get home safely. I wrote to the two people whose emails I have from the orchestra just to let them know, and to a general email address for the high school where rehearsals are held so they can educate the guard. I am hoping that polite education does the trick for this issue!
Wish me luck!