Monday, February 17, 2020

Responding to Angry Service Dog Owners


Due to a recent coincidental real-life experience with a service dog owner and an encounter with service dog owners on a Facebook group (which I was added to many years ago) the following day, I’ve decided to document the following. While probably (or hopefully) most service dog handlers are perfectly nice and reasonable people, some particularly angry and hateful individuals congregate on various Facebook groups and other forms of social media to express their disdain for “rude” people who bother them in public. 

What is the appalling, rude, behavior that has some service dog handlers throwing their hands up?

No exaggeration: People pointing and saying “look, a dog!”



On the page The TRUTH About Service Dogs, this was described as the behavior of an asshole, and several members discussed real life instances where they mocked, insulted, and embarrassed the ‘offenders’. While these individuals often believe that dog pointers are “butt hurt”, “entitled” and overly sensitive, I was called an asshole, banned and had my comments removed for the following replies:


*you're

I think I stated an obvious and irrefutable fact (that they apparently couldn't rebut, so opted to silence and denigrate me instead); There are many animals that we see every day that would surprise and grab immediate interest if we saw them inside a building or up close (someone actually said they see squirrels less often than service dog handlers...where??). Actually, probably every animal except the smallest insects would do so. 
Furthermore, as I replied, the people these handlers 'shut up' by mocking them weren't realizing how rude their actions were, they were probably taken aback by how someone could respond so nastily to such an innocent action. 

I recall an instance where my dog had inadvertently used the bathroom on the edge of someone's lawn. As I was preparing to bag up the waste, a woman rushed out the door and said "I hope you PLAN on picking that up!". I was completely speechless and wondered if they were just playing around and joking. Ever since that incident, I had always wished that my shock (and social anxiety) didn't stop me from responding to their rudeness properly. I am also a person who, when I have a bad day and lash out at an innocent person, feel like shit about it later. The comments in this group, however, celebrate their belief that they've humiliated someone in public. It begs the question, do these individuals have a moral conscious? This is how they justify such behavior:


So apparently, someone pointing at and commenting on the presence of a dog makes its handler feel like a second class citizen and a sideshow act. I can't say that when people notice my non-service dog that I've ever felt even close to this. I would go as far to say that some people think they are being nice by addressing your dog, as regular dog owners often enjoy the attention. There are many who may not even realize the animal is a service dog, nor would they have understanding that the handlers receive these comments too often.

 As someone who had a friend who is a dog lover and one of the nicest people you could meet dismissed by a handler the previous day, I can assure all handlers that being rude is lights years from their intentions. Some people just really like dogs; they will even notice a particular cute dog in a pet store where they are surrounded by dogs, while walking their own dog. I can't imagine being so myopic as to not be able to understand this. Service dog handlers want people to understand their plight and subsequently change their behavior, so perhaps disrespecting non-handlers isn't the best way to accomplish that, as respect is not a one way street. 




















24 comments:

  1. Lol you acted like an asshole and got called out on it. And now crying like a baby on your blog. Service dogs are medical equipment and we don’t want to be treated like a sideshow so yeah the behavior of pointing at the disabled and their medical equipment is rude.

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    1. They are also still dogs. Do your dogs have names and do you give them treats, affection, and care? If so, it is unfair to attack people for seeing them as dogs as you do too. I just want people to understand each other. The people you are being rude to are not being educated you are just hurting them. That is not what your goal is and being upset with innocent people on a daily basis will harm your health as well.

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    2. I see my dog as a dog and a medical device the general public needs to see him as a medical device and ignore him

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    3. "Also the person that wrote the blog is butt hurt after she called people assholes and we blocked her. She’s trying to look like she did no wrong when she did and she was being an asshole herself and has a history of doing so for years. She tries to start drama like this all the time and she’s mad I didn’t put up with it and called her out on it."

      Now I know why you blocked me. Because you're delusional. I never called someone an asshole in that thread. You called ME an asshole. I literally posted exactly what you posted as your reason for blocking me. Don't lie. I stand up for what I believe in. Is that my "history"?

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    4. Well you’re missing a couple screenshots but OK .

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    5. I commented THREE times and 2 of them are posted here. The missing comment absolutely did not call anyone anything. Remember, you posted those screen caps to demonstrate why I was banned. I even have other screen caps of you calling me an asshole that I didn't even post here. It is what it is.

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  2. Ignore service dogs. That's the only thing you should do. Problem solved.

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  3. Pointing out my service dog is the same thing as pointing at someone with a wheelchair and saying “OH MY GOD A WHEEL CHAIR.” It’s embarrassing and demeaning and something you would NEVER imagine doing. But, by your logic, someone in a wheelchair is out of place.. so it’s okay to point and stare at them.. right? No.
    We fucking hate being stared at all day. And it is all day long. Nonstop. So when someone acts like they’ve NEVER seen a dog before? I get bitchy. Bc guess what, it’s just a fucking dog. I just want to get my goddamn groceries, and I don’t feel like justifying my needs for a service dog and my disabilities bc someone feels like they have the right to point out my service dog and interrogate me about it.

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    1. Hi, it was my hope to illustrate to handlers the logic behind a non-handler and their resulting behavior. Non-handlers don't mind comments from people when they have their dogs, therefore we don't see it as demeaning. I'm not trying to invalidate your personal feelings, but understand that no one's intention is to be rude. We should try to reach an understanding as I don't see the value in both parties getting pissed. Service dog etiquette needs to be taught by larger forces than Facebook groups to achieve a cultural shift.

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    2. We understand that their intention isn’t that they’re being rude however the behavior still is and we’re going to point it out. Even when we are nice and try to explain what they’re doing is uncomfortable and rude they become angry that we told them what they’re doing is rude. Unfortunately being polite doesn’t always get the point across. Sometimes you have to put your foot down and put people in their place for them to learn how not to disrespect others.

      One of the many reasons our page was created was to help educate we can only do so much but Facebook is a very bug platform to get information out to many. We will continue to teach Service Dog etiquette and if that means people are upset or embarrassed it probably means they’ve done the very thing we speak about.

      And seeing as you’re not disabled you have no idea what we go through on a daily basis. For you to sit there and say that we need to be polite to those who are rude to us shows that you have no idea what is actually going on. If you had people being rude to you every single day of your life can you really honestly say that it wouldn’t make you a little snarky.
      You really put up with people treating you badly or would you stand up for yourself because that is what we’re doing.

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  4. Skeeter took me to lunch at a Thai restaurant today. Literally the best Thai food I've had since Bangkok in 2005.
    The waitress almost fell over laughing when I told her thank you for making the food Asian spicy not white people spicy.

    Some woman came out of the bathroom at the restaurant, saw Skeeter and started beckoning her friend who was already seated to come over and stare at us. Her arm was in a sling. I said, "Excuse me Ma'am, I'm not trying to be rude, but would you like it if I called somebody over to stare at your sling while you were trying to eat?

    "He's not here for your entertainment."

    The look on her face was priceless. I was perfectly polite, but perfectly clear. Apparently, a disabled man standing up for himself was more than she was prepared to handle.

    Now there are some of you who will try and make excuses for this woman. Stop and think for a minute. I literally turned the tables on her and offered to bring the same attention to her medical device that she was trying to draw to mine.
    Service Dogs may be cute, but they're not there to be cute or to entertain anyone.

    And before you try and claim it was ok for her to do this since he wasn't wearing a vest, NO. I am not required by any law to mark my task trained Service Dog in any way. Period. Dogs don't belong in Thai restaurants. If there's a dog in one, it's probably a Service Dog no matter what it's wearing, and guess what? It's not there for you.

    It's not ok to treat disabled people like circus freaks. Our Service Dogs are not there for you. They're there to return freedom to US. IGNORE SERVICE DOGS THE SAME WAY YOU IGNORE WHEELCHAIRS.

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    1. You stood up to a person who had no idea they were doing anything wrong. My dog isn't here for someone else's entertainment either, and if I said that to someone, I bet they would have the same reaction the lady you spoke to did. Because it's just rude and unfair. Unfair to expect everyone to understand your situation without being taught, because we both know the difference between animals and wheel chairs. It is not common knowledge and until it is, people are innocent. You may feel your situation is unfair too, but two wrongs don't make a right.

      Regarding vests, I understand what the law is, but if I had a service dog I would always want a conspicuous vest displayed. I can assure you that regardless of the people who approach dogs with vests, that number will increase without one. And since service dogs aren't required to wear a vest, establishments might just assume anyone who brings a dog in is disabled. This opens the door for fake service dogs and 'emotional support' pets to enter and potentially cause problems for you.

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    2. It’s not unfair to expect people to leave dogs alone in public places if it’s not your dog fucking leave it alone and ignore it. It’s not a pet friendly location so obviously it’s a service dog, and since it seems that you’re lacking it.

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  5. It was our hope to illustrate to non-handlers hous their behavior is ableist. Instead of being argumentative you should stop and listen to us, the ones this directly effects. If you're walking your dog down the street you might get stopped a time or two, now imagine finally being able to go to town and getting stopped numerous times. Now imagine having chronic fatigue or another disability that drains you. My dog is not there for you.

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  6. i know that you, as a non handler, don’t think it’s bad to have your pet dog commented on. and i get that. but when you are disabled and bring your service dog with you 24/7, it gets tiring only being seen for your dog. you as a pet owner are constantly separate from your dog in public, and therefore are seen as yourself. people only comment on your dog at times when it is more convenient for you, like when you are walking it outside. but service dog handlers usually never have the option to leave their dog behind. it is frustrating to have people only address your dog, try to distract it, and point you out wherever you go. i completely understand that it’s not your intention to make us feel like a circus sideshow, but it does. because i hear, “look, a dog!” literally HUNDREDS of times during a full day in public. i personally don’t mind that comment a whole lot once or twice, but it gets a bit old day after day to the point where it’s basically my identity at school. i completely understand where you are coming from, but you don’t have the right to judge service dog handlers for letting out their frustrations with a slightly snarky comment after having their medical equipment pointed out nonstop.

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  7. While I do try to be polite when people point and call out my dog there are many people who do it in a very rude way. Plus after having to stop 20 times in an hour because people are calling out your dog and you have to stop and make sure they are focused on you and didn't miss an alert you get tired of being polite. So yeah when someone comes to my dog (not talking to me but my dog) and goes "LOOK ITS A SERVICE DOG! I know I'm not supposed to talk to you but you're so cute, Hey (friend) come see the service dog!" I'm done being polite.

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  8. Non-handlers dont mind comments about their dogs, because they don't rely on those dogs to live a quality life. There is a vast difference between the two. I also highly doubt people block your path in the streets to ask about your dog, or even take pictures of you and your dog without your concent.

    Imagine you live with chronic pain. Standing hurts. You have a walker and a service dog. Imagine people blocking your exit and refusing to move because they want to talk about dogs. That affects people with chronic pain, PTSD,agoraphobia, and panic disorders. Imagine people rushing towards you to pet your SD, while they're tasking. Imagine someone stalking you through a store because your SD looks cute. Or taking pictures of you, even after you asked them not to, and finding those pictures online; along with the rude, ableist comments that tend to come with. MANY handlers have experienced that bullshit, time and time again. And all of it typically starts with a "look a dog!"
    Service dogs have been around for a while, its exhausting to constantly be pointed out and interacted with simply because people can't read patches (that no shit say 'dont interact' 'don't pet' 'no talk or eye contact') or have enough common sense to realize the stuff their doing is inappropriate. But no, we are apparently the assholes for making them think about what they've done. I suppose next time I'll just do what legal and take them to court for distracting my service dog, since doing so is a misdemeanor in my state��‍♀️

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  9. My comment doesn’t seem to be showing up, but I know where you’re coming from. I have a service dog and get quite embarrassed by the community sometimes. I understand that non handlers don’t mean to be rude in most cases, and I think being polite back is the way to go. Everyone knows service dogs aren’t wheelchairs, so it’s understandable that people will not automatically treat them the same.

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    1. I agreed to try to be polite but sometimes we have to point out to people that what they’re doing is rude And they don’t like being told what they’re doing is wrong. Also the person that wrote the blog is butt hurt after she called people assholes and we blocked her. She’s trying to look like she did no wrong when she did and she was being an asshole herself and has a history of doing so for years. She tries to start drama like this all the time and she’s mad I didn’t put up with it and called her out on it.

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    2. Emily, I don't know why your comment isn't showing up but thanks for your understanding.

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    3. I also want to say that the comments that got me banned are posted in their entirety. In fact, I copy-pasted them from the admin who displayed them as their reason for doing so. I made one other comment that I didn't get to save which I feel had an even softer tone than those and zero name-calling. I commented exactly three times. I speculate that emotions are making people see things that aren't there.

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  10. So if you were in a wheel chair or using a Cain would you be ok with people saying “OMG THAT LADY IS USING A WHEEL CHAIR” and pointing at you? Also your comment about squirrels being in Walmart of course anyone would point it out but it’s a WILD ANIMAL, dogs are domesticated, non service dog handlers are fine with comments about their dog and people petting them because they don rely on them to make it through the day. You won’t ever understand what we go through because like you said you have a non service dog. I hope you never need medical equipment until your older and maybe one day you’ll see how exhausting it is to have people constantly starring at you, yelling about your medical equipment, constantly stopping you to talk for 30 min, whistling or barking to your medical Equipment or judges you because “you don’t look disabled”. Before you judge us on how we react think about what we go through everyday, you would be mad if you were being followed too and couldn’t get what you needed in a timely manner.

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  11. Hi,
    I'm an admin for a different Facebook page. I just wanted to speak out in support of Truth. They were one of the first groups to welcome us to the community. Prior to that I was already following their page and have been since the very beginning. Handlers don't want to be seen as a side show attraction, they just want to be able to live their lives as normally as they possibly can just like everyone else. They want to be able to go see movie, go out to eat, buy a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread without people treating them in a manner that draws extra unwanted attention to them due to the fact that they have a service animal whether it's a dog or even a miniature horse. Truth does a lot of educating. However, they will defend themselves and other handlers if they feel the need to. They rarely ban unless they feel the need to. Another fact without them I wouldn't have learned any of the necessary information or laws that I now know without them. They answered my questions and gave me solid advice when I was just starting out as an admin and even before I became an admin. So they do educate. I've seen and experienced it firsthand. They also post educational videos from time to time as well. They put the facts out there. Each member of their team is an extremely experienced handler and quite a few of them if not all have trained their service dogs themselves.

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