In general people understand the concept of a service dog. If you’re only ever heard of service dogs, you probably imagine a dog, most likely a Golden Retriever or German Shepherd Dog, wearing a vest and guide handle, guiding a blind man through busy intersections in New York City. While this image is most likely applicable to some service dog handlers, it certainly is not a depiction of all handlers.
Service dogs and their handlers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and disabilities. This is why ILRDB is proud to presentTen Things People Believe About Service Dogs (That Simply Are Not True).
The hunt for a new Service Dog is SO HARD.
I mean I guess I could look at breeds other than APBT/American Bullys, but I fucking love them to death and goddammit I have loved pitties all my life and advocated and worked with them for sooooooooo long (and Sadie is a pittie and was a damn fine SD).
Just *sigh*. The search continues.
First of all THANK YOU for taking the time to visit this page. My current Service Dog is well into retirement age and can no longer perform certain tasks that I need her to do. It is time that she is allowed to just be a dog. I have Severe Complex PTSD and Bipolar Disorder. Since Sadie came int…
OK - I feel really weird doing this, but here it is. I need your help. There are quite a few puppies I’m checking out at several rescues and I should have done this sooner (b/c holy upfront costs batman), but yeah. I need help getting a new SD.
Sadie just can’t do it anymore and I can’t blame her - I should have retired her at least 6 months to a year ago, but I didn’t want to let her go. In any case things are looking up and I need help b/c I can’t afford this on my own.
I’ve noticed that ableism tends to be one of the lesser discussed isms on Tumblr, particularly in regard to physical/visible disabilities. While we usually associate the isms with hate and discrimination, ableism can be much harder to pinpoint because a lot of it is seen as attempts to help or empathize with disabled people.
A few tips:
- Noticing that someone is disabled or thinking that they might have a disability is not an open invitation to interrogate them.
- Similarly, it’s not okay to allow your children to endlessly ask us questions. We are not a convenient way to “teach them diversity” on the fly. We are not obligated to educate anyone. I don’t care if you think it’s cute or precocious, it’s rude and very awkward.
- Please avoid making any connection between disability and religion. It’s almost always offensive, no matter what your faith. Telling me that I can be healed through prayer also automatically assumes that I want or need my life to be changed.
- Do not appropriate someone else’s experiences as a way of showing solidarity with their community. Being injured for a few weeks is not the same as being disabled. If you really wanted to be my ally, you wouldn’t need to find a way to shoehorn yourself into my perspective to get yourself to care.
- I don’t really want to be your inspiration if your definition of inspiration is “thanks for making me feel better about my life because I think your life looks incredibly shitty by comparison.”
- On that note, don’t make presumptions about our quality of life. When people say things like “I couldn’t live like that,” you’re basically implying that you would rather be dead than disabled. That doesn’t feel very good.
- Physical disability does not always indicate cognitive delays. Even if the individual in question does happen to have cognitive disabilities, what gives you the authority to determine how much they’re able to process and understand? Talk to a disabled person the same way you would talk to any other person.
- If you’re that fascinated with how and whether or not we can have sex, why don’t you find out for yourself? (With consent, of course) ;)
We don’t talk about invisible disabilities either, though I kind of make mine visible by using a Service Dog. A giant HELL YEAH THIS to everything stated above. But a few other things. Let’s start with SDs:
- DO NOT TOUCH MY SERVICE DOG EVER (while some people might let you YOU NEED TO ASK FIRST. Don’t just walk up to a SD and pet it - IT IS WORKING and doing a VERY important job - some of those jobs save lives. You wouldn’t walk up to a firefighter while they’re trying to put out a house fire and hug them would you? I didn’t think so.)
Don’t get angry at me if I snap/yell at you for petting my dog without permission
Ask me if I really have a disability
Act like I’m faking that she’s a Service Dog so that I can take her places with me; trust me she’d be happier at home with a bone
Let your kid charge my dog. SERIOUSLY you shouldn’t let your kid run up to ANY dogs, but my dog is fucking WORKING and doesn’t need the stress. This applies to adults too.
Grill me about why I need a Service Dog. I do and the ADA strictly mandates what I’m required to tell you so if I keep repeating myself stop getting angry at me.
- As stated above I am not “your teaching moment.” I am not trying to be rude, but I get the same questions about 10-15x a day and if I stopped to answer every single person who asked the same damn question I would never be able to do anything, like go to all my various dr. appts, or go grocery shopping, or go to work. And stop acting like I should make an exception for you. There are plenty of ways you can find out this information yourself. Organizations, websites, freaking google. My personal tumblr is chock full of SD talk as are many I follow. The information is out there - don’t act like I’m committing some crime by refusing to tell you all about my life with a SD.
Ask me if my SD is in training/is somebody else’s dog. Seriously she’s 6 years old and is far past being a puppy which is when SD’s get trained. I didn’t steal her from someone she is my dog.
DO NOT PET MY DOG.
OK. Now onto invisible disabilities. Again, most of the same rules apply so we’re not even going to go over those again.
- You do not know more about my illness/disease/disability than I do. (Sometimes we are more aware than our Dr’s even - I hear you scoffing, but I have seen this in action). Repeat after me: I do not know more about your disability than you do.
- We don’t want your “cures.” 99% of the time we’ve tried them. Trust me, we’ve tried everything we can to try and make things better. Your constant stream of “have you tried acupuncture” and “what about X herb” make most people I know want to scream. Not only because we’re not hearing it just from you - we’re hearing it from at least 10 of you.
- As above, just because you were slightly sad or blue for a little while DOES NOT MEAN you understand what someone suffering from major or persistent depression or a depressive downswing of bipolar is going through.
- FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY JUST STOP USING MENTAL ILLNESS TERMS TO DESCRIBE THINGS. The weather is not “bipolar” someone acting oddly is not schizophrenic, just because someone is distracted easily doesn’t make them “so ADD.”
- Just because you’ve been in horrible pain once (be it from an accident, a burn, or I’ve even heard the stupidest thing ever which was from workout pain) you do not understand chronic pain or fibromyalgia. Just stop.
- Never, ever, EVER call us “overcomers.” Just because I have the ability to somewhat navigate the world and semi-work and have a semi-social life does not mean that I am not still crippled by my disability. I wish that I wouldn’t have to cancel on people all the time, and I wish that going on for a night on the town wouldn’t mean that I lose the entire next day to recovery.
There’s more, but those are the basics.
1. Under any circumstance PET MY DOG without asking
2. Don’t get angry at me if I snap/yell at you for petting my dog without permission
3. Ask me what my PTSD is from (she has a PTSD patch on her vest)
4. Ask me if I really have a disability
5. Act like I’m faking that she’s a Service Dog so that I can take her places with me; trust me she’d be happier at home with a bone
6. Let your kid charge my dog. SERIOUSLY you shouldn’t let your kid run up to ANY dogs, but my dog is fucking WORKING and doesn’t need the stress
7. Charge my dog yourself. Yes adults do this all the time especially when we’re at coffee shops or bars. They run right up to her and wonder why she gets a bit flustered.
8. Grill me about why I need a Service Dog. I do and the ADA strictly mandates what I’m required to tell you so if I keep repeating myself stop getting angry at me.
9. Ask me if my SD is in training/is somebody else’s dog. Seriously she’s 4 fucking years old and is far past being a puppy which is when SD’s get trained. I didn’t steal her from someone she is my dog.
10. DO NOT PET MY DOG.
bringing this around again b/c of a post i just saw.
A U.S. Army and Navy veteran says he was told he had to leave a west Houston restaurant because of his service dog. Aryeh Ohayon says it happened Tuesday at the Thai Spice Buffet II restaurant in the 2500 block of South Voss Road.
This has yet to happen to me, but I know that it will. Because it HAS to. Because EVERY DAMN DAY people look at Sadie and then look at me and go “is she in training?” “You don’t look disabled?” “Well what do you have?” “They make service dogs for [ptsd] now?” Also cue the strange and bizarre looks I usually get because I dare to be out in the community *gasp* working or shopping or, you know, doing normal things.
And to make matters worse my PTSD dog is, like the dog in the link, an American Pit Bull Terrier. To those who don’t buy into media bullshit you know that these dogs are nothing but love, kisses, and loyalty, but to others it just makes people think that my dog cannot be a service dog. This is utter bullshit. There are no “specific breeds” for service dogs. I got my dog to have a dog. She just alerted me to a flashback and wouldn’t stop pounding on my chest until I locked eyes with her, thereby grounding myself in the present. So we trained her to be the perfect SD she is today,
THIS SHIT IS REAL.
THIS SHIT HAPPENS.
And one day, it’ll happen to me. Because I’m not blind. Because I have PTSD. Because I don’t look disabled.
EDUCATE YOURSELVES AND OTHERS.
Because I’m sick of this shit.
[image description: screencap of the American Girl doll brand SDIT chocolate lab puppy wearing a blue vest and harness handle meant for either mobility work or guide work]
So this is an awesome thing that exists!
Sure it is expensive and mostly intended to be for girls* whose families are puppy raisers rather than the apparently revolutionary notion that some girls out there are SD handlers and disabled themselves…but i don’t even care about all that because having a service dog for my doll would mean the world to me if i were still the doll-playing type and this sort of visibility absolutely matters.
*based on the company’s advertising, not me policing gender roles
meowhissa answered: There was a lot of inner turmoil in the organization. Previous leader bailed, current leader dropped the ball.
Well what happened to the site with the weird picture?
The organisation he started to help vets called Pets to Vets that places dogs with veterans: Pets 2 Vets
Places to acquire pets for vets (most for free or cheap):
A list of links: Operation We Are Here
Let’s go down the list shall we:
EVERY SINGLE TAXI at the airport denied us until the ground transport manager finally saw us and MADE the first cab driver take us by threatening to suspend his hack license for violating airport law.
The fucking pizza place gave me shit even after I told them she was a SD and then gave me shit when I came back inside from the patio for another cider b/c you’re not supposed to drink on the patio until I said “well your boss probably just wanted my SD out of the restaurant.” and the server said “yeah he did” and stopped giving me shit.
Currently in a coffee shop WHERE THERE’S ALREADY A DOG and I was told I couldn’t have my dog in here and I said she’s a SD and they said still…..and then I said she’s legally allowed everywhere. They started to say something and I said ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act. Look it up. She’s legal.