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Two Fibromyalgia Patients Turned Away Because of Their Service Dogs

  [ 60 votes ]   [ 16 Comments ]
By Karen Lee Richards • www.ProHealth.com • March 1, 2015


Two Fibromyalgia Patients Turned Away Because of Their Service Dogs
There were two separate reports in the news recently about women with fibromyalgia being denied service because of their service dogs. One involved a Connecticut allergy doctor and the other a Mexican restaurant in Texas.

Connecticut Doctor Turns Away Woman with FM

Danyelle Carter, 24 of Hartford, Connecticut, told Fox CT that Dr. Michael Krall kicked her out of his office when she arrived for her allergy appointment with her service dog, Ziva.

According to Fox CT news reporter Beau Berman, “Danyelle said she called the office two months earlier to confirm it would be okay to bring Ziva and was given the go-ahead by whoever answered the phone... But when she showed up for her February appointment, Dr. Krall kept shouting that he was allergic and said the dog had to leave, according to Danyelle... He said he ‘didn’t care what the law was, he’s the boss’ and to ‘get out of his office,’ and he was just yelling at me,” said Danyelle.”

Dr. Krall reportedly declined to make any “on the record” comments.

According to the Service Animals section of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, “Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.”

When it comes to allergies, the ADA is also has a very specific rule. “Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.” The act goes on to explain that a person who is allergic to dog dander must try to make reasonable accommodations.

Danyelle filed an ADA complaint with the Department of Justice. She said she went public not just for herself, but for everyone with a service dog.

“I would like something done so that he realizes what he did was wrong. I don’t want to see anyone ever being barred from anywhere. I don’t want to see anyone denied medical treatment just because of a service dog,” Danyelle told Berman.

You can read the full news article and see the video report on Fox CT.

Texas Restaurant Refuses Service to FM Patient with Service Dog

Rita Abrego told ABC's KSAT News that when she went to Herredero Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio, she was denied service because they don't allow dogs in the restaurant.

Rita suffers from a number of conditions including fibromyalgia, lupus, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. She says her service dog Selene comforts her when her blood pressure is high or she is in pain.

Very upset by the incident, Rita called the police. “I was shaking, my face was all red. I was getting all swollen,” Rita said.

When questioned about the incident by KSAT anchor and reporter Myra Arthur, restaurant owner, Blasa Reyna, said “I thought it was just a pet. I was thinking ‘she’s not blind.’ The other (service) dogs are really tall, really big. They’re, like, taking the person to the table.”

Reyna went on to say that she really thought service dogs were just for blind people. She didn't realize service dogs can be small, like Selene who is a Maltipoo, or that they can be used for disabilities that are not obvious.

According to the ADA, “When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.”

Once the police came and Renya understood that Selene was indeed a service dog, she offered Rita a free meal, but Rita chose to leave the restaurant.

You can read the full news article and see the video report on ABC's KSAT News.

My Thoughts...

In the first incident, while it is understandable that a doctor who is allergic to dogs might have a problem treating a patient with a dog in the exam room, I don't think yelling at the patient is the appropriate response. A better solution might have been to explain his situation and ask the patient to return with a friend or family member that could help her rather than the dog – or simply to refer her to another allergist who could treat her with her service dog.

I think the second incident was a genuine case of the restaurant owner not fully understanding how service dogs can be used. Although it could be argued that knowing the law regarding service dogs is her responsibility as a business owner, at least when she was informed, she tried to make it right by offering a free meal.

It's unfortunate these two women had to go through these stressful situations, but I'm glad to see it being covered in the news. Obviously there are business owners who don't know the law regarding service dogs and disabilities and hopefully these stories will help educate them.

Do you have a service dog? Have you or anyone you know ever been denied service of any kind because of your service dog?
_______________

Karen Lee Richards is ProHealth's Fibromyalgia Editor. She is also co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and was Executive Editor of Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine for four years.






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Article Comments Post a Comment

Can I file a complaint and how?
Posted by: OSparkey
Mar 2, 2015
I moved into a new apartment complex about 6 months ago with my service dog of 10 years. In previous complexes I had been able to explain to the manager the ADA rules in what they could ask me for or about the dog and I was fine. This complex refused ALL laws and made me go to the doctor for a new letter, go online and buy a 'fake' service dog license to show them, and refused to listen to what the law said stating, 'that was what their property management required and could not let me in without'. It was one day before move-in and I couldn't not move in or be homeless!!! So I was forced to make a doctor appointment that I had to pay for, retrieve yet another newer letter from same doctor of previous letters, go online and purchase a fake certificate and ID where I took a picture of my dog and uploaded it. I then paid the amount (I cannot remember amount offhand) and received a receipt which I printed and gave to the management. It was all a crock and so against the law but I was exhausted from the move and frustrated that they had the gall to blatantly break the law. Since then I have seen them breaking other known laws and have not been up for the fight... Until I read this! Can anyone tell me what I can do?
Reply Reply

 
Housing and service dogs
Posted by: lilfarfa
Mar 2, 2015
Housing does not fall under the ADA. It falls under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Under the FHA, a landlord can ask for a doctor's letter verifying your disability and the need for a service animal. If the homeowner owns less than four homes, or there are less than 4 units, they fall under the exception and are exempt from the FHA, and therefore do not have to allow service dogs or any accommodations.

If you have a problem with a landlord not following the FHA, you can file a complaint with HUD. The number is 1800callFHA.

*I am both a disabled service dog handler and a disability advocate.

 

 
Housing and Service Animals
Posted by: lccosby
Mar 9, 2015
FHA laws state that if your disability is not obvious that a landlord can require a letter (a new one every year) from your doctor. That is all they are allowed to ask for. They can not put breed restrictions, weight limits, or ask for certification or training documentation. If your neighbors complain about the dog to much then they can a notice to get rid of the dog or move out within 30 days and if you only live in a 4-plex or less and the landlord lives there then FHA laws don't apply. You have options on what you can do because your rights have been violated. I just dealt with my apartments because I'm getting my first ESA (can't call it a full service dog yet because she will have to be trained and I'm not paying $15000 to buy a dog that is already trained). They tried to tell me my letter wasn't valid because I go out of state to see my doctor (I live in 2 different places and my doctors are in a different state), then they tried to tell me that the letter wasn't accepted because it didn't have a "letter" head on it, then they said it would have to have training documents and certificates saying it was a service animal. I spent 3 days researching and printing laws to give them. When it came down to it my landlord thought SA and ESA's were the same and that it fell under the ADA laws. Once I calmly (Which is a giant challenge for me) explained the laws and got my doctor to write a new note (biggest pain but my doctor is awesome and didn't mind) and faxed it to the apartment instead of me handing it to them (since the letter head supposedly wasn't proper and anyone could have made the letter) they verified with their lawyer that I am well with in my rights. The one thing they have asked up me that is not actually legal is to get renters insurance for any damage the dog may do or in case the dog gets violent I guess. I agreed to that term because having renters insurance is honestly never a bad idea. If I didn't have the extra $6/month that it cost me I could fight them on it if I wanted to and I could still report them if I really wanted to fight. Now as far as your options go: You have 2 years to file a violation for FHA and HUD violations. Turn them into the attorney general or call your local FHA or HUD office. Google will be your best friends for finding phone numbers and addresses fo your local HUD or FHA office, and a lawyer if you might need one. You can sue your apartment if you want (even though you already moved in). You are well within your rights. Please note that if you do, alot of times landlords will then try to evict you. Make sure you have receipts saying you paid all your rent on time, that you have broken none of their rules, etc. If it is the 1st time they have been found in violating FHA or HUD laws the find can be 16000 then 26-32000 for a 2nd and 45-64000 for a 3rd (don't quote me. I found several different ammounts when I was researching. It may very by state.) I would suggest that if it hasn't been 2 years, start looking for a new place, turn in your notice that you are moving out (even if it breaks the lease). State in your notice that your rights have been violated and exactly what they did to violate them. Include how much you paid for the "fake" certificate and where you bought it. You can include how much your doctor visit was but they were in their rights to ask for a letter if your last one was more than 365 days old. Keep a copy of the notice, the letter from your doctor, and any receipts for the doctor visit and certificate (you should be able to get a copy of the receipt from the "fake" certificate people and your doctor by emailing or calling). Once you have turned in your notice move out and then take them to court. Bring all documentation showing that your rights were violated but that you humored them and did as they asked so that you would not be homeless. In one fail swoop you will keep the eviction off your credit and teach them the law. You may not get money if they counter sue you for the eviction but if they falsely evict you (saying you paid rent late or this or that) or evict you for breaking your lease because they violated the law then you will not owe them anything and they will owe you alot.
Your other option is to leave it alone of course and next time you move turn in all your paper work for your SA before you move in. I personally would go for the fight. It may be a headache but they would never do it to someone else. It only takes getting sued once for someone not to do it again.
The things I learned through my research are this:
-Most business and landlords are truely just uninformed
-Most landlords see it as if they let 1 then they will have to let all
-It is harder to fight with someone than just give into their rediculous demands.
-Be open about your disability. They can not ask about your disability but if you are willing to talk about it then they are less suspicious.
-The frauds have ruined it for us. People find out that if they have a SA or ESA they don't have to pay pet fees/rent so they go online, buy a fake document, and move in. Then they destroy their apartments or don't take care of the animals and the landlords have to deal with it. So now landlords think everyone is a fraud and want to make you jump through hoops to prove you aren't but in the end you just did the same thing a fraud did to make them happy.
If you like your home, you are happy, and your SA is happy then is it really worth the court battle. If you are still really upset and your rights are still being violated then take them to court and teach them a lesson for the rest of us. Maybe it will keep other businesses or apartments in your area from violating others rights as well.

 


Service dogs and allergies
Posted by: lilfarfa
Mar 2, 2015
The ADA disallows allergies as a reason to deny access to a person with a service dog for a reason. Allergies to dogs that rise to the level of being a disability are very rare. Disabling allergies that are not contact allergies are almost non existent. The allergist who denied access to the woman with a service dog broke the law and can, and should, be fined for it. Depending on state law, criminal charges could also be filed.

As a disabled service dog handler and disability advocate, I see the "allergy card" played A LOT. People see it as a "get out of jail free" card, and it is not. If someone has a non contact allergy to dogs that is disabling, they are going to react to every dog owner they come in contact with bc dog hair and dander will be on the clothing.

As for the woman at the restaurant not knowing about non guide dog service dogs, the law is 25 years old. That excuse no longer holds any water.
Reply Reply

Me, too. Question about telling what tasks dog is trained to do.
Posted by: ay
Mar 9, 2015
Hello, I also have FMS and a couple of other conditions and a service dog. I did not realize people were allowed to ask what they do. This has always been uncomfortable for me to answer because it's really hard to define, PLUS in telling what she does, it reveals a lot of very personal info about me. I have tried just saying she's a therapy dog. Then people either look at me like "Oh you are mentally imbalanced" or they think she goes to hospitals to visit patients or they think I'm trying to get away with something.
So my question is, how do I answer that question without revealing too much about my disability?

Any suggestions?
Reply Reply

 
How to answer about SA task questions?
Posted by: lccosby
Mar 9, 2015
The question starts with do you have an ESA or an SA. An ESA is considered a compannion animal and is usually for psychiatric reasons and an SA is something you need always to function. If your SA is trained to do a task that is something you only need at home (getting out of bed because you cannot wake yourself, getting dressed, things you wouldn't be doing in the middle of a store or in public) then you shouldn't be taking your SA places even though they really are a SA. If you do have a real reason for your SA to be out with you (panic attacks that disorient you, balance issues (please don't use a small dog for this), etc.) not "my dog makes me feel better and I can't explain how he knows it) and you don't feel like discussing your own problems then make one up. Tell them your SA is a medical alert dog. People can't make your dogs do tricks and if you are uncomfortable with your own disability then lie. It may not be right but if you honestly need a SA (please remember only about 6% of the population actually qualify for a full fledged SA) and you don't like talking about your real problem then use someone elses. I am not ashamed of my disabilities. I'm very open about them and if someone wants to ask me why I need a SA I will be more than happy to tell them that my SA gets me the heck out of dodge when I can't cope with reality. I understand some people aren't that open. You should never feel guilty about having your SA. I know that I have felt many times that I'm not disabled enough to need a SA or that maybe I'm just telling myself I could benefit from one. But honestly I do benifet from one. That is the point of a SA. To enrich our life. Without my SA I can't go to the store alone. Without my SA I don't walk out my front door alone (meaning if my husband could be with me 24 hours a day then I wouldn't need an SA). So does my SA make me feel better when he is with me? yes. Does it give me confidence? Yes! What is it's task? To know find the closest exit when I'm in freak out mode. Does my SA always have to do this? Nope. By having my SA with me I usually am able to not have a panic attack. So my point is don't be embarrassed by your condition but if you don't want to talk about your own then use someone elses. And answer questions vaguely as possible. "My SA is for mobility/medical alert/guide and yes I'm disabled."

 

 
Emotional support dogs are not covered.
Posted by: wolfshepherd6199
Mar 9, 2015
I have used a service dog since I was 18 for seizures, was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia due to the damage the seizures and the medications caused. I learned the ins and outs of the law. The second woman set herself up to be denied. As "comforts her when her blood pressure is high or she is in pain" Defines her dog as an emotional support dog. Those are not trained tasks under the ADA definitions. Therapy dogs as well are not protected by the ADA. If the dog is trained to do DPT or Deep Pressure therapy, or alert to an oncoming high blood pressure episode with a shaped alert that has been reinforced(a dog that just alerts but has not been trained a consistent alert such as a paw touch is not considered trained under the ADA) Yes dogs can alert naturally, but the alert must be shaped into a trained task to be covered. I use my dog alerts me to an oncoming medical condition or helps me with my mobility to keep from revealing my private information. These distinctions are making people not realize their dog is not covered and causing them issues. Please make a clarification on these points as it could cause problems for others. https://www.animallaw.info/article/faqs-emotional-support-animals http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

 


Big hassles in the Big Easy
Posted by: woofhound
Mar 9, 2015

April 26, 2012 ·
ALL MY FRIENDS, PLEASE READ THIS. WARNING, EXTREME RANT ABOUT THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS FOLLOWS.
I freaking give up. I'm leaving New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. I'm ready to head back to the more progressive west coast and leave this forsaken town behind.
Subway Sandwiches, Kenner, Louisiana:
"Sir, you can't have a pet in the store"
"this isn't a pet, it's a service dog"
"sorry sir, you can't have a pet in the store"
"can you see the vest and the ID card? She's not a pet, she's a service animal"
Cafe Du Monde, french quarter, New Orleans:
GRACIOUSLY accepts me and my service dog on multiple occasions, thank you.
Clover Grill, french quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana:
...is annoyed that I've brought in a service animal but tries to not show it too much.
Parking enforcement, city of New Orleans:
Tickets my car for parking meter violation. I've never been in a state that enforces any time limit on a disabled person's vehicle. (I contest the ticket and win, ticket dismissed)
I park on a small street in a legal parking zone. I now understand archaic louisiana disabled parking procedures and put a small nickel in the meter and put the parking slip on my dashboard for 3 hours of parking instead of posted limit of 2 hours. I return to find my car TOWED. That's right the city TOWED MY FREAKING, HANDICAPPED PLATED, HANG TAG DISPLAYED, DISABLED FREAKING PERSON'S CAR, leaving me and my service animal stranded in the french quarter. There are no signs on this block indicating that there's street sweeping from 8 till noon, and who the hell tows a disabled person's car in the first place???
Oh wait, I'll just hail a cab:
First cabbie: "I don't allow dogs in my cab", but wait it's a service.... he drives off
Second cabbie: "sorry, no dogs", but wait.... drives off
Third cabbie is Joel of Elk's Elite Cab Service (504-822-3800):
"I don't take dogs in my cab"
"but this is a service animal sir"
"I don't care, I don't take dogs in my cab"
"You do realize sir, that you are breaking federal, state, and city law by refusing me a ride?"
"You have to muzzle the dog then"
"I don't carry a muzzle sir, this is a service dog, they don't wear the vest and ID if they are aggressive. You are REQUIRED to give me a ride"
"You mean that dog is a seeing eye dog for the blind?"
"similar sir, but not exactly the same"
"so you want me to take a blind guy and his dog to the impound lot to pick up a car that you can't drive? I'm not taking your fare"
Thank you Joel for pausing long enough for me to snap pictures of your cab. Everyone please feel free to call Elk's Elite Cab, 504-822-3800, and let them know what you think of Joel - cab operator.
Since no one will give me a ride, me and my service dog, have to walk almost two miles to the city impound lot to retrieve my car. While on the way I pass the police station, so I wander in to press charges against Joel, cabbie. They transfer me to the Taxi Cab Enforcement Bureau who takes my report and evidence and assures me that they will sanction Joel Irons, cabby, and that yes indeed it is illegal for him to refuse to give me a ride. It breaks federal, city and state laws. No sir, you won't even have to be present to testify, your written affidavit will suffice.
I continue my walk to the impound lot. When I get there I'm told that I have to cross the street to the locked lot and retrieve my vehicle registration from my car.
"Hello nice impound lot lady"
"You can't bring 'that animal' in."
"She's a fully compliant service animal, wearing a vest and ID card."
"You can't bring the animal into the lot. You have to chain her outside the fence"
"I'm not chaining my legal service animal to a fence. Please call the police then."
(She doesn't call anyone, just stares me down)
"Okay, I'll call them for you then."
I dial 911 and explain to them that I'm illegally being detained from accessing my vehicle at the city impound lot and could they please send over an officer. When I finish with this call I just say
"Screw this I'm going to my car, with my service dog, since I know it's legal, and you can just try and stop me."
and I begin walking toward my car... No longer nice impound lot lady is now screaming at my backside and blowing the horn of her official vehicle. I walk unmolested to my car and get my registration papers. On the walk back I'm accompanied by a very nice sheriff's deputy who assures me that lot lady is indeed in the wrong. Maintaining a strong smile and intense eye contact with lot lady, we pause while sheriffs deputy chastises lot lady and explains federal, state, and city law to her.
"Sorry to trouble you madam." I say, "glad to have helped in your legal education madam, have a really nice day"
I now have to pay $190 to un-impound my car. To get my money back I have to once again contest it at parking enforcement HQ. So now I have to go print my photo evidence and go back to court tomorrow. Then you know what?
I give up New Orleans. I'm leaving you. I'd like to say it's been nice, but it hasn't. I think it's time to start heading back to the more progressive and well informed southwest and west coast.
CYA N.O. I'm out!
Sincerely Craig Braquet.
Reply Reply

To the person leaving NO
Posted by: jfullfms
Mar 9, 2015
Wow, is all I can say. There are a lot of ignorant people out there. I am so sorry!!! And seriously, the dog can't go with you to your car to retrieve your registration???? Wow. I would have called the police when it was towed to report it stolen. :)
Reply Reply

Discrimination
Posted by: debbi64
Mar 10, 2015
I have had housing issues, Doctor issues and medical transportation issues duebto my service dog. I have filed complaints on with D.O.J. and A.D.A.
Reply Reply

Service dogs and Fibro
Posted by: chlomonkey
Mar 10, 2015
http://www.10news.com/news/apartment-complex-breaks-law-by-restricting-where-service-animals-can-go
Reply Reply

More than I can rewrite.
Posted by: chlomonkey
Mar 10, 2015
We also ended up on channel 10 news San Diego about service dog tags. I had a service dog 13 half yrs she was vested and tagged because of my dis Fibro and CFID. Then she passed. I got another SD pup train her and local animal control wouldn't give me a tag they said Dis has to mitigate the use of a SD. What, they honored me for 13 yrs.

1st new story:
Channel 10 news San Diego disabled-woman-upset-over-service-dog-tags

2nd news story:I won here is the day we received our service dog tags.
Channel 10 news San Diego "Its has been a rough ride"

3rd story: mentioned above.

When is someone going to get that our dis Fibro and CFID and ...... warrant the use of a service animal. I believe that our dis must release a chemical like epilepsy and migraines and canines can identify. My first SD American cocker spaniel was just a pup and woke me to go to hospital. She warned me when Fibro was attacking my stomach, spine, CFID and migraines.

New pup cocker spaniel knows CFID, Fibro attacking stomach and retrieves meds nightly for me.

To much to rewrite hope okay I do "The Hayliegh Project" and http://hiddendisabilities.wordpress.com.

Is there anyway we can come together and share with the world our health and the use of a service animal? Please contact me.
Reply Reply

More than I can rewrite.
Posted by: chlomonkey
Mar 10, 2015
We also ended up on channel 10 news San Diego about service dog tags. I had a service dog 13 half yrs she was vested and tagged because of my dis Fibro and CFID. Then she passed. I got another SD pup train her and local animal control wouldn't give me a tag they said Dis has to mitigate the use of a SD. What, they honored me for 13 yrs.

1st new story:
Channel 10 news San Diego disabled-woman-upset-over-service-dog-tags

2nd news story:I won here is the day we received our service dog tags.
Channel 10 news San Diego "Its has been a rough ride"

3rd story: mentioned above.

When is someone going to get that our dis Fibro and CFID and ...... warrant the use of a service animal. I believe that our dis must release a chemical like epilepsy and migraines and canines can identify. My first SD American cocker spaniel was just a pup and woke me to go to hospital. She warned me when Fibro was attacking my stomach, spine, CFID and migraines.

New pup cocker spaniel knows CFID, Fibro attacking stomach and retrieves meds nightly for me.

To much to rewrite hope okay I do "The Hayliegh Project" and http://hiddendisabilities.wordpress.com.

Is there anyway we can come together and share with the world our health and the use of a service animal? Please contact me.
Reply Reply

Differences between SD, ESAs, and Therapy dogs
Posted by: AuntTammie
Mar 18, 2015
The law regarding these situations depends on what each animal is classified as. There are several differences between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, and Therapy Dogs. The following article (with a chart at the end) explains these differences re what they are trained for and what the laws say about them:

http://pleasedontpetme.com/differences.php
Reply Reply

Service Dogs
Posted by: Failidh
Mar 18, 2015
I've been through similar experiences with my dog. As unpleasant as this may be, I think it important to realize that many arise simply from ignorance and that often the people reacting so negatively do so because they feel that their rights are being encroached upon. Although the allergist obviously felt that, being it was his office=his rules, and that, apparently having a serious allergy himself which his clientèle might share, it would seem that the nastiness with which he responded was rather excessive to say the least! However his potential patient may have been very fortunate in that she avoided a professional relationship with him!

In my experience, checking in advance by phone about bringing a dog into an office, shop, etc. isn't good enough. Even if you have 'right' on your side, who wants to be subjected to an acrimonious exchange or expend precious energy dealing with the emotional toll. Better to use that energy to prepare a form letter that explains your situation and requests permission to have your dog accompany you. Then, when you call to ask permission to bring your dog with you, ask to email the letter and to have it signed and returned to you- by post if possible.

Best of luck and aren't we all just so very fortunate to have these fabulous, loving creatures caring for us.



Reply Reply

Things to Remember
Posted by: LarryG
Jan 25, 2016
My Fiancee has Fibromyalgia, PTSD, and Anxiety. We are getting a puppy in the next month or so that we plan to try to train as a service animal for her. I was very shocked to read some of these comments regarding denial of service and general poor treatment. It seems to me that a few things should be kept in mind:

1. Know your rights under the law and be able to explain them calmly and intelligently. It seems like most people are simply uninformed. For those who don't seem to care about the law see #2.
2. Stay calm. nod, smile, and file a complaint as the situation permits. If you get belligerent then so will the other party involved. I certainly understand how angry one can get when one's rights are violated.
3. In situations that warrant just go somewhere else. I'm sure there are plenty of other places which provide the same service and are happy to accept your service animal, your sanity will thank you for it. File a complaint against the other place if you feel that your rights were violated.

Self education is key. Your demeanor is key, you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!
Reply Reply


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