You’re so lucky!

You get to take your dog with you EVERYWHERE!!!

Ok, let me explain something to you.  I do not take a dog with me everywhere because it’s fun.  I take a dog with me everywhere because the dog is WORKING and preventing me from inadvertently injuring myself.  There are all sorts of things that I must consider when I take out my dog that people without a service dog do not have to think about.

My dog needs to be impeccably groomed.  He cannot be covered in mud, he cannot smell “doggy”, he cannot have poo on his feet, he cannot be dropping hair all over the place.  My dog is bathed once a week, and if I am unable to bathe him for an extended period of time, he does not go out with me.  Teeth are clean, nails are trimmed, ears are clear of wax and dear, eye goobers are wiped away.  My service dog is as clean and presentable as any show dog.

If it’s hot out, I need to be mindful of my dog’s feet.  I will sometimes use paw wax to combat the pavement’s heat.  Mostly I just stay inside (I hate the heat myself), but if I must go somewhere and I must take my dog, I do it quickly.  And let’s not forget the fact that I need to remember to make sure I have enough water so he can stay hydrated and cool.  Or that I have to deal with the idiots that berate me for “dragging my dog along” when it is “so hot out”.

If it’s cold out, I need to be mindful of the salted walkways, and rinse off my dog’s feet when we get home (sometimes once we’ve returned to the car) so he doesn’t suffer chemical burns.  After all, dogs aren’t usually in the stores I am shopping at, so pet safe salt is not a consideration for use.

And then there are the people.  You without service dogs can just go about your merry way, and people are generally oblivious to your existence.  I do not get that luxury.  No, I get the inconsiderate people that point out my dog to their children.  I get to deal with the children that are screaming at or for my dog, sometimes out of fear, sometimes because they “want the doggy”.  I get to deal with the people that completely overreact when they see my dog working.  The people that stare.  The people that question me about my disability (rude) because I am not blind.  The people that think they have the right to try and pet my dog just because he is there.  The people that distract my dog while he is working, because clearly he is there for their entertainment.

I am grateful that I am able to have a dog help me make my way through life.  But am I lucky to HAVE to have one?

That answer is an unequivocal “no”.

Flail on,
– Classical Spazz

~ by ClassicalSpazz on February 15, 2014.

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