So here’s the thing. I’ve been fairly liberal by most standards about service dogs. I don’t judge other people’s choices and how they handle their SD. On Tuesday, my SD Blizzard was attacked by another dog in an office building. Nothing serious, but it threw both of us off our rhythm. I seriously doubt that the other dog was a service dog, since we were sitting down when this dog lunged at us and there was no provocation.
I went to work on Wednesday, only to find not one, but two pets were in the building. One pet the principal knew about, the other he did not. The principal did tell the “unknown” pet’s owner to remove the dog. What happened next should set many people’s hackles up.
I was told I had to check in with the other teacher to confirm I would be working that day. Then she would know when she could bring in her pet. The pet that, on my second day of work, the owner told me would probably attack Blizzard because the dog was territorial. Honestly, I lost it right there in the principal’s office.
It’s a slap in the face. I had to provide proof of insurance, doctor’s note and current vet exam/vaccination record for my SD in order to even get the job. This teacher gets to bring her pet to school with no accountability. Second…WTH! It’s pretty common knowledge that SDs have right of way over pets and even therapy dogs.
Back to the slap in the face. I’m sure you’ve seen something about “fake” SDs in the news. if not, just Google it. Here are two very personal examples of why “fake” service dogs are a problem. My SD was bitten by a dog wearing a $30 vest. I’m supposed to forgo my dog so someone can have their known aggressive pet in the workplace. My SD has undergone hundreds of hours of training to do her job. She has saved my life 6 times so far. We’re not just talking about making me feel good. We’re talking about call an ambulance and pray I don’t die on the way situations. Yes, “fake” SDs are a slap in the face too.
I get it. You love Fido or Fluffy. I love my pet Dane too. But, you are endangering my life by assuming your pet will be “fine” in public. You are risking my life because you are being selfish. Period.
Yes, selfish. Are you really disabled? I can’t tell by looking at you. Does your dog mitigate a disability? Again, I can’t tell by looking at you. But if you are honest with yourself, you know the answers to these questions. SDs are not robots and they do mess up. But you won’t find one barking hysterically unless the handler is down. You won’t find one lunging and biting other dogs. You won’t find one hidden away in a purse.
So, there you have it. Many of my social media friends don’t understand why this situation is so upsetting to me. What’s the big deal? Well, I can’t do my job. My SD can’t do her job. We’re constantly watching for another dog attack now. Asking me to go out of my way for a non-disabled person is discrimination in the workplace. No, I won’t “work it out.” I shouldn’t have to and you never should have asked.