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Health-LiveIamA Guy Born With Out His Left Arm AMA!

Feb 5th 2017 by 1armedfreak • 21 Questions • 4791 Points

EDIT: Thanks everyone for your questions! I have to get back to my duties as ref, but make sure to watch Puppy Bowl XIII this Sunday, February 5 at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT on Animal Planet!

Hi everybody! I'm returning this year to be the official referee for The 13th edition of Animal Planet’s PUPPY BOWL premiering this Sunday, February 5 starting at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT. You can check out some the adorable stars competing in the big game here! In case you missed last year's AMA, here's a little bit about me: I had a relationship with ANIMAL PLANET before this - I was the host of a few one hour specials for the network. I'd also worked as a narrator for Discovery in the past. The guy who had the job before me moved on to another network, so there was an opening, I had to submit an audition tape after they approached me - so I went into dog parks in NYC and recorded myself officiating football games with random dogs (much to the consternation of the owners) and I also recorded some hijinx with my sister's dogs in their backyards. Anyways, it wound up being a fun tape, and I did a testimonial straight to camera about how this was my dream job, and it was my AMERICAN IDOL moment - and I got it!

My proof is here: https://twitter.com/Danschachner/status/827214318194262016

So here I am, ready to answer your questions about the world's cutest game. AMA!

Q:

Since you can't clap, are you the guy who whistles so loud at a concert?

A:

did you make eye contact with him?


Q:

Yes, with hindsight 300ug was more than necessary. The high dose led to many emergency room admissions because people got frightened.

A:

The refing in the Puppy Bowl seems to always be blind. I always see unnecessary cuteness fouls that are never flagged! What is your stance on this?


Q:

Nope, I just awkwardly stand there.

A:

He made eye contact with me, and with the spine.


Q:

The science suggests that LSD could have amazing potential for treating serious psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety, but there is still a lot of research to be done.

We don't want people running out and thinking they can cure their mental illness on their own with acid from the street. This has to be taken extremely seriously. The scientists leading this research into LSD have gone to great lengths to insure safety. The studies are done in hospitals and there is always a medical professional there along with many other safety measures.

THere is a lot of room for LSD to be abused, and if too much of that happens it will hinder the scientific research again just as it did in the 60s.

I hope in the next 5-10 years there will be enough science for LSD to be approved as a medicine under very strict regulations

A:

You have to pick your battles. I agree there is a plethora of cuteness at all times, but if I threw a flag down that often we'd never get the actual game going!


Q:

Where were you born? I have a friend from Russia that was born without her right arm. Maybe you two could team up.

A:

Did it send chills down his sp.......wait, he doesn't have one.


Q:

What would be your preferred process for reintroducing LSD into society? Do you feel the main priority is to reduce restrictions on, and enable state funding for, research so that we can treat people with certain illnesses?

Are you in favour of making it accessible to the whole of society? If not, why not? If so, do you feel there needs to be an informational campaign to debunk decades of misinformation about LSD and educate people about its most suitable application – as a ‘tool for introverted spiritual growth’?

A:

Can you mail me a paw print from some of the puppies? I want their autographs


Q:

I was born in Russia! Live in California now though.

A:

He looked confused, and then mildly alarmed.


Q:

Good questions...

I think first and foremost the focus should be on getting psychedelics approved as medicines for very particular medical conditions which will be heavily regulated by the government.

In the long run I think people should be allowed to experiment with these substances in very controlled and safe environments - just as psychedelics have been used in most ancient cultures for millennia.

But as you say, I think a lot of education is needed to prepare society for this kind of wider societal use.

Psychedelics are certainly not for everyone, but they can clearly be of great benefit to some people and some of those people have been a great benefit to society as a whole: e.g. Steve Jobs, Jimmi Hendrix, the Beatles, and Nobel Prize winning scientist Francis Crick

A:

Haha paw print autographs are a great idea! We will get some done next year !


Q:

My good friends daughter was born missing part of a limb. She's 8, and getting really sensitive to other kids commenting on it, which they do, but I think mostly out of cutiousity. Do you have any advice for her to deal with this unwanted attention or for us adults to help her with this?

A:

How many detainees did you personally speak with?


Q:

Hi and thanks for doing this AMA. NYT recently ran a story on micro-dosing, do you feel stories like these hint at a growing awareness or push for further study? Do you ever see LSD being legalized recreationally like marijuana?

A:

You heard it from me first! I expect to be one of the first to get one!! ;)


Q:

Do not overly protect her there is nothing you can do about jerks and you just need to learn how to handle it, I got through it by becoming very witty always having a comeback.

You just kind of have to own it, once you have a talent it becomes much easier because the attention goes to that.

In public you just have to be confident, don't hide the fact your missing an arm, but don't draw unnecessary attention to it.

people will stare but there is a difference in a "What is that!" stare and a "Whoa I just realized that person has one arm, cool!"

A:

Customs and Border Patrol is refusing to allow attorneys to speak with detainees. In violation of the court order.


Q:

I think we are a very long way away from legalization of psychedelics. The best we can hope for is that they might be rescheduled so that it becomes easier to do scientific research

At the moment they are classed along with the most dangerous and addictive drugs which is actually crazy because they are extremely non-toxic and non-addictive and very little social damage has come from them

There are so many more cannabis users that it will be hard for there to ever be enough popular support to force psychedelic legalization, but if enough convincing science comes out that shows the potential benefits of these substances then who knows? It's hard to argue with science.

I believe there is a very long way to go in terms of changing the public image around psychedelics, but I believe Silicon Valley are a very powerful influence on the whole world, so maybe they can bring about change faster than one might expect

A:

Will do! Tweet me your info! @danschachner


Q:

I too have one arm. What's the best story you've made up when a kid asks you what happened to your arm?

A:

A T-Rex?


Q:

My favorite novel about the 60s psychedelic scene is a 3 volume epic by Pamela Johnson - A Nation of Mystics.

A:

Has any of the players have gotten so upset with your ruling that they took a bite out of you?


Q:

Shark bite, or I say " Once I thought it would be funny to bully this kid for being different..."

A:

The plastic spine I held up.


Q:

I can't wait to read Tim's answer. He's got the biggest sci-fi library I've ever seen!

I think Stranger in a Strange Land is one of his favourites, but I'm not the person to tell you...

A:

Yes Ginger in PBX used her teeth on my leg. She wound up stripping my sock off! We think she was upset about having to repeat 1st down but she to this day will not confirm that.


Q:

I love you.

A:

Are you going to now start following him around with a pair of truck nuts?


Q:

Here are a few more - Wilmar H. Shiras - "Children of the Atom"; Frank Herbert - "The Santroga Barrier"; Eric Frank Russell - "Wasp" & "And Then There Were None"; Chester Anderson - "The Butterfly Kid"; John Brunner - "Dreaming Earth"; Aldous Huxley - "Island"

nonfiction Steve Silberman - "Neurotribes"

A:

Did she get fined or just have her treat taken away?


Q:

u 2 bb

A:

ALSO: the Senate is about to hold a debate on confirming Rex Tillerson. Senate Democrats are trying to hold it up. Call your Senators and tell them to Reject Rex!


Q:

Have you seen Arrival?

I didn't see it on LSD, but it's an amazing movie I think

A:

No fines bc these pups don't have bank accounts (yet). So yeah, took away the treat.


Q:

Would you consider a bionic arm?

A:

Why is Rex Tillerson bad for the planet?


Q:

when did you know that you wanted to make this into a movie?

A:

Who's a good boy?


Q:

Yes working on designing my own

A:

Rex Tillerson spent his entire career at ExxonMobil. His job was to find, extract, and burn carbon. Which, as everyone but this administration knows, causes climate change. Which is really bad for the planet. That's the short answer. There are many more reasons, ask away!


Q:

I knew Nick Sand when I was a teenager and then went to Burning Man with him and his family when I was about 20. So I've been interested in the story for a long time, but only really investigated it seriously a few years ago.

I wanted to make a film about drug policy first, which I was lucky enough to be able to make, and then I turned my attention to psychedelics and wanted to do a real story driven film rather than a political campaign film, which I hope this is

A:

Me?


Q:

What extra add-ons will you put on it? I'd have a torch installed, and a built in smartphone oh and a jingling chain sound to sound badass when you walk..

When the robots take over, which side will you be on?

A:

What was the best response you've gotten from your spine trolling?


Q:

What's the next film? Another doc, or something completely different?

A:

Who's a good boy?


Q:

I would add a cup holder. jk. I think I'll be a double agent in the robot wars.

A:

Has to be this, which arrived in the mail: http://imgur.com/a/dX46u


Q:

I'm not entirely sure yet. I've got a few different ideas on the boil. I love documentaries because I think if it's real it's just more exciting.

I have one idea that is really incredible. Not about drugs, but about another group of people who wanted to save the world. But it's not entirely clear whether it's even possible to make it yet.

It would be amazing if it did. It even has relevance to the Trump administration...

A:

Or a belly rub at least?


Q:

Elaborate

A:

Hi Do you have any directorial advice?


Q:

Are there any puppies on the DL that should be ready to play by the time the big game starts?

A:

I'm designing an arm that learns by watching the user.


Q:

I would say just make stuff. That's the best practice you can get. I'm still learning so much.

And if you can work with people you like and who care about the subject that makes a huge difference. It takes a whole team to make a film

A:

We actually have a "backup" lineup that is ready when the Starting lineup is done. You can see them on Animalplanet.com: http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/photos/puppy-bowl-xiii-back-up-pups/


Q:

Need help?

A:

What was the distribution process like?


Q:

I just wanna say you live the dream life and you are my idol. I'm wondering, what's the process that the puppies have to go through before going on the field?

A:

PM me


Q:

Ask me in a few months ;)

It's slower that you would like but i think that's the same for everything to do with film.

I was really lucky to have a good production company, sales agent, and interest in big platforms and theatrical release, so I can't complain, but at this stage it's really out of my hands

A:

We all huddle together for a quick locker room pep talk, or 'pup' talk as I call it. Then we hit the field!!

Seriously tho, once puppies arrive on set from our partner shelters / rescue centers, they are examined by a vet, then if healthy they goto a puppy playpen area in order to wait for their turn on the field!


Q:

I was born without my lower left arm, cuts off from the elbow. What's the dumbest thing you've been asked? From personal experience I was asked if it hurt being born with it.

A:

I noticed this year is Puppy Bowl 13. Are any of the players being overly superstitious?


Q:

Hard to say, but I did get a detention for not taking my arm out of my sleeve.

A:

Good question. So far no one has said anything. I think because 13 in dog years is actually 91.


Q:

LOL can you explain further and how things went when the person(s) realized what they did?

A:

how come I can't get the puppy bowls on dvd?


Q:

didnt see them after, i went straight to detention and they all laughed, still had to serve the detention though.


Q:

OK. How the heck do you use the monkey bars??

E: spelling

Double edit: more spelling.

A:

Are the dog dog actors or like to be adopted pups?


Q:

Momentum, swing while pulling my knees up and let go at the peak of the swing and grab the next bar in mid air.

A:

Nope no actors in this crew. These are all adoptable puppies from shelters across the USA. We have 78 in total this year and they are all between 3-6 months of age and need loving homes!


Q:

Wow, that's pretty amazing!

A:

What's your favorite dog breed?


Q:

Thanks!

A:

As PB Ref I have to remain FAIR and IMPARTIAL ... in other words, I can't show favoritism to one breed. That said I grew up with dachshunds in my family so have always had a soft spot for them...


Q:

Did you use it to guilt your parents ? "Clean your room" "Well I would if you had provided me with two arms, Mom" I would definitely have !

A:

Are you a supporter of dogs in cowboy hats?


Q:

I was adopted so that line doesn't work too well

A:

Not just in cowboy hats, I'd like to see them in boots and spurs too.


Q:

Why were you adopted? What caused the problems with your spine?

A:

Hi Dan! Big fan. I've watched the puppy bowl since it started, and I've been wondering: how long is each puppy typically on the field in real time? Has any puppy had to be benched before her time was up? Are there any behind-the-scenes stories about "benched" puppies?

Follow up question: Who's your favorite to win this year, and why is it Team Fluff?

Thanks!


Q:

Born in Russia with one arm, they're not too fond of physical disabilities there. Scoliosis http://i.imgur.com/sGcsmEM.jpg

A:

Great question. We break our puppy groups down by size usually. Big breeds like sheepdogs wouldn't mix too well with toy poodles on that tiny field! So each "group" of dogs - there are usually 4 - is probably on the field for 60-90 minutes tops. More than that and they get too tired / hungry / etc. As for benched puppies, yes there have been a few that were too rambunctious to stay on the field - it was a safety issue - so we had to pull them before they even starting filming. It stinks but we have to make sure the other dogs are safe.


Q:

Apparently upper limb deficiency and scoliosis are linked.

What country do you live in now?

A:

Hi Dan…..love you and the Puppy Bowl…have watched it since the beginning! Any behind the scenes secrets? Are there any pups that are too aggressive and get thrown out of the game? Any pups ever get hurt? Do you own dogs yourself?


Q:

the US

A:

Thanks for watching! our family fosters dogs - that way we can help get them ready for their forever home and help out our local shelters. Right now I do not have a foster bc I am busy with Puppybowl but I plan to foster again next month! As for behind the scenes secrets, here's a good one: sometimes our crew members need to put some peanut butter on a stick and have the dogs chase it so we can get them to walk down the tunnel for the starting lineup!


Q:

Has anyone ever said " yeah I'll give you a hand " and immediately apologized? If so, what were your feelings at the time?

A:

I'd like to feel like I'm getting in on the action. How about putting a camera on a puppy and hooking it up to vr?


Q:

Yes, things like that always happen. It doesn't bother because it's never in a mean way and I understand their intention.

A:

we've done something similar...First off mounting a camera on a puppy is very challenging..BUT our Puppybowl VR experience does show you the POV from down low on the field, so that is a lot like being the actual pup!


Q:

A buddy of mine is missing a hand and he'd always go out of his way to say "is that a hand joke??" It was pretty funny

A:

What are some of your memorable moments?


Q:

Excuse Me He's NOT MISSING A HAND HE'S HAS A LIMB DEFICIENCY, god some people are just so insesitive. /s

A:

Most memorable recently was meeting Drew Carey from the Price is Right who is HUGE fan and had us on the show to give away puppy themed prizes. That show airs tomorrow 11am EST on CBS!


Q:

You sound like a very nice person.

A:

Have there been any puppy brawls that have gotten out of hand? How do you deal with it if it does happen?


Q:

u suk

A:

They are rare, but if puppies really are brawling during our shoot we immediately have them separated, often taken off the field. There are a lot of people on hand, professionals who take safety very seriously (Humane Society reps, vets, etc) and they do NOT play around!


Q:

Can you play any instruments?

Any funny stories that involve your disability?

A:

Have there been any puppies that don't work well with the other puppies? What happens to them?


Q:

Yes the piano, and yes I use my foot.

I got detention once from a sub for not "taking my arm out of my sleeve".

Also magic mountain wouldn't let me on their rock wall so I went somewhere else that had one, climbed it, and ended up in the paper.

A:

We try not to mix breeds based on size. Keep big dogs with big dogs, small with small. Within each group there are sometimes pups that are either (a) too aggressive or (b) too scared. Those guys are given a little time off the field and then brought back in later.


Q:

No other students jumped in and were like "dude he doesn't have another arm"?

A:

Are you worried about dog concussions?


Q:

no

A:

I have been an advocate of putting helmets and pads on these guys for YEARS! We just can't seem to get them to stay ON the pups..


Q:

Have you noticed any advantages to having one arm?

A:

Karma


Q:

Not to be too personal, but how does having one arm affect your relationships (romantic, platonic, or sexual)?

A:

doesn't, people get over it really fast because its not a disability in the sense that it hinders my ability. Other than looking different it's not really that much of an issue.


Q:

At least you can cuddle without the arm getting in the way.

A:

Ya your mom seems to like that. Rekt


Q:

Are you all right?

A:

Clever, Yes!


Q:

But your youtube videos clearly show a left foot.

Are you sure you're all right?

A:

Mostly


Q:

What inconvenience do you experience the most that we take for granted?

A:

Clapping or folding your arms are good ones. But number one by far is that I can't hold a plate of food and eat it I have to be seated. Can be very unfortunate if seating is unavailable. Also I need to go back for drinks too.


Q:

Would you rather have been born without the arm or would you have wanted to experience having two arms and subsequently had to have it amputated?

A:

Ignorance is bliss, I don't suffer any emotional trauma that comes with amputation.


Q:

How can you be absolutely sure you were born without it, rather than your parents taking it away as a punishment when you were really young, and then forgetting where they hid it?

A:

could be, i remember my parents freaking out on my once for taking the last cookie


Q:

How do you keep the paper still when you're writing?

A:

Hold it still with the base of my wrist.


Q:

Do you arm wrestle? Also why do you play video games with your feet and not one handed?

A:

My right arm is pretty strong. When I'm on someone else's system I don't user my foot as a courtesy. I'll have a video posted soon with me using only my hand, but it is not as comfortable since my fingers need to be in awkward positions.


Q:

Do your shirts have two arm holes, or do you have special shirts with only one?

A:

Normal shirts


Q:

Do you pin the sleeve up or just let it all hang out?

A:

all hang out


Q:

Doesn't it flap about in the wind?

A:

I dont find my self in hurricanes all that often


Q:

If you were a bird, what kind would you be?

A:

the kind that flys in circles


Q:

I like to sleep on my left side but my left arm is always in the way. I've long fantasized about being able to remove my left arm while I sleep and reattach it in the morning but alas, science has not quite caught up with my dreams. Could you tell me how nice it is to sleep on your side without an arm?

A:

very comfy, except there has been unfortunate consequences, my rib cage has started to flatten on my left side


Q:

Do you feel like sometimes people are too sensitive to you and don't treat you like the normal person that you are?

A:

occasionally, but I have a certain dark humor that gets people past the overly careful behaivor.


Q:

What other things have you had to adapt to in everyday life.

Whats the most difficult thing you have had to learn? And which took the longest.

A:

I can play the piano with foot assistance, I can also open doors with my foot for when I'm holding things. I can cut and shuffle a deck of cards. I can button my shirt. Tie a tie. Pretty much anything. Most difficult though was learning to use a manual can opener. Longest was tying my shoes but now I can do both quickly and with ease.


Q:

So technically, you are your own "right hand man," no?

A:

Ha ha that's funny, I'll kill you last.


Q:

How hard is it to ride a bike with one arm?

A:

I have impeccable balance, but it gets tiring for my arm because I can only push or pull to steer versus 50/50 for each arm.


Q:

Do you use a hand brake or reverse pedal?

A:

hand brake


Q:

You mention using your feet to assist with a lot of tasks. Do you have to take your shoes off a lot for this? Do you have a dominant foot? And how much can you do with just your feet?

A:

I'm barefoot all the time, I can walk on crazy terrain barefoot.

I am left foot dominant since I use it in the place of my left hand.

Piano, card tricks, games, opening doors, flip people off, those are just off the top of my head.


Q:

Sorry, this might be a blunt question but: how often do you find people looking at you strangely?

A:

all the time, mostly kids.


Q:

I think the real question is, were you fortunate enough to not be a leftie?

A:

Yes, that would have been very unfortunate if I were not!


Q:

But how do you know that? If you have lived your whole life with a right arm how do you know that it isn't because of getting used to it?

A:

Maybe I was left handed but I guess it doesn't matter now. My right arm just feels like the dominant one of that makes sense.


Q:

Could you get a special one-handed gaming setup made?

A:

dont need one


Q:

How are you gonna eat those Big Macs I keep seeing on the front page that you need to hands for?

A:

I have someone with two hands feed me.


Q:

Haha I'd feed ya.

A:

thx bb


Q:

How'd you take the picture?? Is someone holding the paper for you?

A:

No I'm holding the post it with two fingers and hit the button with a third


Q:

Can you juggle? I can handle two balls with one hand, but three balls would be a handful.

A:

Yes I can.


Q:

Do you feel like you are treated any differently from others? How are your experiences with the opposite sex?

A:

Yes at first but one people realize how quickly and efficiently I can adapt they become use to the idea. A lot of times my friends forget I'm missing an arm because it doesn't affect me in my everyday life.


Q:

Do you have a left shoulder? Can we get pics?

A:

I had a surgery a few years ago so here is an x-ray http://i.imgur.com/PT8mAsq.jpg


Q:

When did they put all the metalwork in? How tall are you now?

A:

slightly taller maybe an inch.


Q:

How do you button your shirt?

A:

Try it is not too hard.


Q:

How do you eat big mac's?

A:

osmosis


Q:

Do you use deodorant on the area where the armpit would be?

A:

no but i do run a line down the middle inside of my shirt


Q:

How was it like growing up? Kids can be brutal when they are little.

Do you get tired of the one arm puns?

A:

It was tough but that only motivated me to get good at stuff, no longer did it become a matter of just being able to do something, I needed to be better than the people that were trying to put me down.


Q:

What did you do with all the money you saved buying mismatched single gloves rather than pairs?

A:

Invested in a Left handed glove store


Q:

How do you clip your fingernails?

A:

I will them back into my body


Q:

Have you ever broken your arm growing up?

A:

Thankfully no


Q:

Did you enable and disable caps lock for every word in the title? Or did you shift with your thumb and stretch your hand?

A:

stretch, I have a fairly large hand.


Q:

Since you said you'd want to work in the film industry, does it bother you when they hire an actor with two arms and CG one arm out? Kinda like lieutenant dan from forest gump...but you know what I mean.

A:

not really because its not easy finding an amputee that is a professional actor/actress.


Q:

Odd question. Is your left pectoral muscle significantly more defined than your right?

A:

there is no muscle there


Q:

Hey i also don't have the majority of my left arm. Can we hold hands?

Oh wait.

Nevermind

A:

we can still gaze longingly into each others eyes <3