© Tammie Rogers 2021

Page Title

Standing Out In a Crowd A serious consideration for those living with “invisible disabilities” such as deafness, psychiatric disabilities or seizures/intermittent medical events is the potential loss of your anonymity. Without a Service Dog, you blend into society quite well. Once you have a Service dog with you that cloak is gone. The general public has been educated and they know that if you have a Service dog you must also have a disability. You will be stopped, questioned and watched. You may be treated as if you are blind, even if your dog's function is to serve as a Medical Alert animal. Although it may seem like an admirable function to "educate" people about the use of Service Dogs, there will be times when you have no interest in interacting with anyone for any reason, yet, you will still be stopped and addressed as to why you have that dog and what he does for you. Many Americans have and love dogs of their own. Be forewarned your Service dog will draw the attention of every dog owner in the mall, on the street and in the workplace. They will stop to visit, to ask questions and to share stories about their dogs. If you are introverted or self conscious this may prove to be quite annoying and in some cases even stressful beyond belief. Having a Service Dog that is designed to mitigate your PTSD may actually trigger an episode when a stranger runs up to your dog and drops down to hug it (all without asking your permission or even acknowledging you - Yes that happens!) Think this through… your Service dog may accompany you everywhere you go for the next eight years or more. You will be required to instruct strangers that they may not pet your dog while it is working, even if he is wearing a cape that clearly states, "I'm Working Do Not Pet Me." It will also be your responsibility to reinforce with your dog that the visitors who approach you with the intent of interacting or petting him are off-limits and that your dog is to remain on task and not be distracted. This could mean that you need to correct your dog in front of others, people who may believe you are cruel to give feedback to your dog about his performance. If you have been unnerved reading this information, please consider “The Bottom Line” on the PrepWork page.