You see a dog out in public and with his velvety ears, smooth coat and impeccable behavior and you simply cannot stop yourself from approaching him. How wonderful, you think to yourself; a clever dog wearing a vest and moving around the grocery store like a little gentleman. Will wonders never cease? You remember seeing a documentary on working dogs a few short years ago and it was so very interesting. You think you'll just pop over with a kind smile and a handful of questions for his handler. Surely, she'll wan't to discuss the dog, as she must be very proud of him.
Sound like you?
If so, I have something very important to tell you about those stellar service dogs and their handlers. And because you have such a strong interest in them you'll likely listen very intently when I say:
LEAVE THE DOG AND HIS PEOPLE ALONE.
Not just because they look busy, or because they are already conversing with someone else, but because no matter what they are doing they have the right to do it without being asked extremely personal and private questions by strangers and yes, even friends.
In order to make people better understand my point, I'll simply switch out the term 'service dog' and insert the term 'wheelchair' and make a list of things that have been said to me, my husband and my service dog friends:
After all, a service dog, like a wheelchair, provides his user help with a disability that is, again, NONE of your business. I won't go on about why someone might need a service dog because I have done that, here and here and even here, and frankly, I'm getting tired of explaining it.
And you should know, that though I advocate for my daughter on this blog, that I don't have to do it while I'm getting groceries, watching a hockey game or any other time I am out in public unless I want, and you can't make me. I don't mean to sound cranky but you're making me crazy.
Okay, so here goes. The list of questions that we service dog users and handlers get every single time we step out of the house (and I reserve the right to add to this list at any time):
Is that wheelchair in training?
OMG, I love that wheelchair. What are you using it for?
Excuse me, but do you mind if I just touch your wheelchair, (the leather) looks so soft?
So, why do you have a wheelchair? My cousin had one for PTSD.
Oh Cool! I saw a documentary on wheelchairs once and it was awesome. My mother knew a guy whose who had a wheelchair once.
You can't have wheelchairs in here!
Is that a real wheelchair?
That poor wheelchair.
Emotional Support wheelchair?
and my personal favorite:
Prayers for your wheelchair.
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)