Sunday, June 4, 2017

What I Want You To Know When You See My Service Dog

I am coming up on two years of having Jenny with me. She has blessed my life in ways deeper than I could ever put words to. She saved my life and gave me back my independence when she first came into my life as a medical alert dog for me PTSD. She continues to aid me everyday as we grow and learn together.

As I try to do with most things when I'm asked questions about her in public I try and answer them and educate others about service dogs. I'm not always perfect at this. Sometimes I'm busy or just not in the mood. Perhaps I've just been asked why I have a dog five times on my way to the back of Walmart when all I wanted was a gallon of milk. I'm only human.

I have heard what seems like every comment under the moon about Jenny. Most of them roll of my back. I have gotten very used to ignoring people and not letting ignorance upset me. There is one comment though that I always hate to hear. "I wish I could bring my dog with me too."

I always want to answer, "No you don't. Yes, she's cute and dogs are fun, but she is not with me for fun. She is with me as medical equipment for provide aid for my disability. When we are out together we are working. She is doing her job taking care of me and I am taking care of her. I love taking her out with me, but I do it out of necessity. For you to have a service dog that you get to take everywhere with you, you have to have a documented disability that you can't choose to leave at home."

That's usually more than people want to know and no one wants to hear that it's not always fun and games so I tend to just smile and say thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I love Jenny. I love having her with me and I am so grateful for her and the life she allows me to have, But if I could pick getting to have Jenny with me 24/7 or not having PTSD I would give her up as a service dog to not have my PTSD.

The same goes for other handlers that I have talked to. We all love our service dogs but if we could give up our medical conditions we would do it. I love dogs and would always have one as a pet, but a service dog team is not able the fun of being together, it's about managing the handlers health.

I know that's not what most people are thinking of when they say they wish they could bring their dog with them, but next time you see a service dog team stop and understand that there is a medical need that nexessitaes that team be together.

1 comment:

  1. Great story. There are a couple of service dogs in my town. One is a guide dog and I'm not sure what the other one is for. I feel like it's rude to ask because it's really none of my business why this man has a dog with him. People should be able to go about their business in peace.