In early December 2016, an Internet posting and photo by Judy Rose of Abilene, Texas went viral as it depicted a disabled veteran and his Golden Retriever service dog, Charlotte, at work in the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store. Earlier that day, Julie and her husband Brian had been at the store to pick up some needed materials, and happened to catch sight of the dog, outfitted with a Lowe’s service vest, clearly identifying her as an ’employee’.
When they inquired about the dog, they were told she belonged to Lowe’s employee Clay Luthy, and that she was considered a faithful companion and an extremely useful assistant in her duties as service dog. After posting the photo she took of the two companions, Judy Rose and her husband went to see a movie, and by the time they returned, their Facebook notifications were piling up astronomically from fascinated observers all around the country.
Disabled vet hiring
It wasn’t long before all that attention spilled over to the Air Force veteran himself, and Clay Luthy was literally overwhelmed with media requests for interviews about the growing story. Requests were so numerous in fact, that a Lowe’s spokesperson had to step in and make a statement on behalf of the company itself, which was receiving high praise for its enlightened employment policy.
Lowe’s Human Resources Manager Jay Fellers announced to the media that Luthy’s hiring was simply a matter of employing a candidate who was qualified for the available position. When Luthy showed up for a job interview accompanied by Charlotte, he was told that having the service dog with him would present no problems for the store, and that should he be hired, Charlotte would be welcome at Lowe’s to help him in the performance of his duties.
The stated policy for Lowe’s welcomes well-behaved pets in the store, even if they aren’t service dogs. Although no company-wide statistics are maintained on the subject, it is known that there are several other employees working for the company who are assisted by their service animals.
Clay and Charlotte
Luthy has survived several Air Force deployments, including one in Uzbekistan and two in Qatar, although he has sustained significant damage to his knees as a result, and has difficulty walking. Even before the Internet story broke, Lowe’s customers had frequently mentioned how much they admired the fact that Clay and Charlotte were seen working together in various areas throughout the store, and what a heart-warming story their collaboration was.
Unfortunately, Charlotte is now 10 years old, and tires easily, which is gradually diminishing her effectiveness as a service dog. That’s why Luthy has begun training another Golden Retriever to act as his service dog when Charlotte can no longer provide effective service. He concedes that it will be a very sad day for himself and for others when Charlotte retires, especially since she has been so good at entertaining children while parents are shopping at the store.
Lowe’s Department Store was founded in 1945, and in the time since then has grown from a small hardware store to a Fortune 50 department store which hosts more than 17 million customers weekly throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, where it has store locations. Beginning in 1982, the store began to take on its present look as a do-it-yourself depot which supplies all kinds of tools, material, and equipment for various home improvement projects. In the three countries where it has a significant presence, Lowe’s currently has almost 2,400 stores in operation, generating annual sales figures in the neighborhood of $60 billion.
Company Name: USA Service Dog Registration
Contact Person: Scott French
Address:1240 India St #312
City: San Diego
Country: United States