Meet Diane & Anders
Stories of Goodwill About Good People.
Customer Spotlight: Diane Durante
Best Way to Train Your Service Dog? Adopt a Bank!
River Valley Bank customer Diane Durante is facing some life-challenging medical issues. Having a medical service dog at her side is an opportune way to keep her safe—and keep her and everyone around her smiling.
But what if your dog is a medical service dog in training and needs lots of socialization and sensitivity coaching? You think of your community bank as a great resource, right? Well, one wouldn’t say that’s the first place that comes to mind as a training facility. But this particular journey began from a whim of a conversation during a customer transaction at the River Valley Rothschild branch…and grew heartwarmingly from there.
Meet Anders. He’s a miniature aussie-doodle
with adorable floppy ears, stands about 12
inches tall, weighs no more than 10-15 pounds and boasts a tan and white mane of soft poodle-like hair. He’s also got eyes that will melt your heart, but only after his timid demeanor trusts you enough to look at you before hiding behind a chair…
The Lobby Is A Safe Place
It was Mother’s Day weekend last year when Diane came into the Rothschild branch. While exchanging small talk about her business, her impending health issues and that she was soon getting a service dog—that last point clicked with Iris Durrant, the bank’s assistant market manager…and an avid dog lover. “Bring him in,” Iris encouraged. And that she did. From then on, dog visits became tradition.
Diane and Anders now visit two to three times a week. Sometimes the visits are short, and sometimes they’re a few hours long. As part of the Medical Service Dog training program Anders is in, socializing your dog is an important part of the homework.
The name ‘Anders’ is Norwegian for ‘strong’. “It’s what he’s going to be when he’s done with his training…and we need to be strong for each other,” notes Diane. But right now, he’s “really, really shy,” she says. “I didn’t know he had such a huge learning curve when I got him as a puppy.”
According to Anders’ trainer, getting out into the community is a large factor in his stress reduction. The reaction from her fellow class members about her training technique: “You take your dog to the bank?!” Diane proudly states: “YES!”
“It Means A Lot That I Can Do This Here. Nowhere Else Would Tolerate It.”
The staff has embraced the concept of helping socialize Anders and partake in some of the desensitization methods such as leashed walks around the lobby, brushing Anders with a special sensitivity brush to curb anxiety and, of course, rewarding good behavior with a stash of cheese treats. “He’s got an important job to do as a medical service dog for an endeared customer,” explains Iris, one of Anders’ biggest supporters. Does this qualify for providing an Incredible Customer Experience—a River Valley Bank philosophy? We think so!
The lobby seems to transform into an uplifting environment when Anders is around. The customers love him and you’ll often here: “Oh, what a cute little puppy!” Bank visitors stay longer and start sharing stories and smiles. The general consensus: anyone can go through the bank drive through, but you really get a personal experience when you come into the lobby. “It’s a safe place for me and Anders,” shares Diane. “It’s home.”
We’re really not sure if Anders and Diane adopted the bank, or the bank adopted Anders and Diane. Either way, it’s a partnership filled with the type of #IncredibleMoments that will linger in our hearts for a lifetime.
We wish Diane and Anders the best as they get closer to the completion and Anders’ hopeful graduation of the medical service dog training class.