Heritage Specialty Dogs — Awful company
The dog that our family contracted to receive from Heritage Specialty Dogs was supposed to be able to do a list of tasks that were plainly listed on the contract. The dog we received was not able to do the majority of the things on the contract. Our family fell in love with the dog we received and although it had many short comings, we were sure that Heritage was going to follow through with its plan to continue training once the dog was home so that the dog would eventually be able to do the tasks needed for our family member. I would email and ask how to address a particular problem and would be told...'Oh we will work on that when we meet, I have some ideas.' Each time we would schedule time to get together with the trainer to work on the deficits, we were told to meet at a restaurant (and instead of a training session, it turned into a social event.) or the meetings were cancelled. (It seems that the trainer's life is very drama filled.)
Many excuses were made and eventually we stopped asking and employed the help of a local dog trainer to address the situations with our dog. Eventually, the trainer stopped emailing and I can only assume that my eventual silence has made them think we are a happy client. Because of our problems with our dog (who by the way, is NOW able to perform all of the tasks needed for our disabled family member--thanks to an outside trainer) we would not recommend this facility. Yes, we would be considered 'Unhappy clients' because the contract was not met. There is no way that the tasks listed as being trained in this dog could be done in the short time it took to get the dog.
This would be the major problems that we see in Heritage Specialty Dogs:
1- Very disorganized. They cannot find documents at times that are pertinent to dogs that they have placed, and their vet care. (We had to call her vet ourselves to get the vet records that she could not find in her home office.)
2-Emails and phone calls are eagerly responded to at first...while you are being baited on the hook. Later, they are returned sporatically, if at all and then, if you ask a several questions, only one or two will be addressed while the rest are not acknowledged. Frequent excuses of computer crashes--but later will say 'I have the emails to prove it!' when she feels she might need to use something someone said against them.
3-Credentials appear to be inflated. Give some references for service dogs that you placed 10 years ago...not just the people who have had dogs placed in the last year and may still be discovering what their dog is NOT doing. Give some references for people outside of the local area so that potential clients can see what your distance follow through is like.
4-Employees are rather young or immature and tend to fly off the handle into situations and discuss things that they were never involved in or only heard about second hand. Very poor business practice to allow employees to do this--simply heresay.
5-Dogs are not valued and are in poor condition when turned over to rescue shelters because they do not work out as service dogs--dogs that don't work out become 'dead weight.'
6-Poor Vet care. Dogs are only getting vet attention before they are placed in homes. Some dogs who are very needy of vet attention do not get it because it is deemed 'too expensive.' Some dogs have heartworms and only discovered when taken to the new owners vet. Vet records are hard to come by--sometimes only obtained by going around HSD and calling the vet yourself...and imagine discovering the dog that just cost MANY thousands of dollars had a broken leg last year--and that it was never disclosed to you thus, possibly reducing the number of years that this dog could do service work!
I could really go on and on--but to wrap it up...I think Heritage started out with its heart in the right place, but as time went on and drama ensued in her personal life, it became easier to just half way train a dog and we as parents, who did not get up in arms over it immediately, made it easier for her to do this. Many of the unhappy clients have decided it is not worth it to pursue it with you after the initial contract was not met and the follow-ups were not met or successful. That does NOT mean that all of the clients are happy because they choose to pay another trainer to fix your mistakes.
If you are considering Heritage for your service dog needs, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get plenty of these so-called happy clients references. Ask for 10----(if they can be found!)