© Tammie Rogers 2020

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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 why  you need him.            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.         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   that   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.