My name is Susan Ivancevich, and I am the mother of Amanda, the little girl in the story. Amanda’s service dog, ELLIE, was provided to her by the paws4people foundation, an organization that provides service dogs primarily to disabled children and veterans. ELLIE was trained in a federal women’s prison, and she knows over 100 commands, including such things as turning on and off lights, opening doors, getting the phone, retrieving seizure medicines, etc. She helps Amanda with everything from mobility assistance to seizure detection and treatment. ELLIE also regularly does therapy visits with local school children and is bathed and groomed frequently.
Our intent in going to the Western Shop on Monday was to buy a bit for our horse. I would have much preferred to have gone in the store, not experienced this situation, and been able to enjoy riding our horses this week. I was very irritated after the incident and, as a result, posted a message on my Facebook account expressing my displeasure (I did not name Mr. Bryant’s business). At that point, through Facebook contacts, I agreed to be interviewed by the media, and the story took off.
I watched Mr. Bryant’s apology tonight on the news, and I believe he is sorry for his actions. This situation has been very stressful for my family and I am sure for Mr. Bryant’s family as well. In response to Mr. Bryant’s apology, I have offered (through a reporter who agreed to contact Mr. Bryant on my behalf) to meet him tomorrow to discuss the situation, and have him meet ELLIE and Amanda in a more positive setting, accept his personal apology if he chooses to do so, and put this behind us so that we can move on toward healing. I have been overwhelmed by and am very thankful for the wonderful support of the community. I believe the positive outcome from this story will be that more people will understand the amazing things that service dogs can do for others so that similar situations do not happen in the future. I hope that we can heal as a community and move forward to making the Wilmington area an even more wonderful place to live.
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