I’ve been working now, being certified, for over a year. Me and my best bud have had our ups and downs, but most humans are very welcoming. We’ve had some pretty distressing moments though. I think its because us service dogs look so cool and the humans are a little naïve or confused about our rules.
A few times some humans have drove my best bud into panic because they snuck up to pet me. Even though it says on my vest, “Do Not Pet”. It’s literally sneaking up behind us without permission. Like it’s a game and they’ve conquered it. Bad humans. Ruff! Ask for permission to pet any dog whether they’re a service dog or not. It’s only respectful.
There also has been aggressive fellow dogs. In one instance I was attacked by two large dogs. Me and my best bud were cornered and surrounded by the two large dogs. Their humans in tow with their leashes. My best bud tried to protect me from them, but I decided that was enough. They drove her into a panic attack and I growled and barked back at them, plus their humans. I didn’t touch them. The humans dragged their dogs away by their extended leashes from us. The humans then berated me and my best bud. Exclaiming we were in the wrong and that service dogs aren’t allowed to speak or react. I say, “Grrrr”, to that. My best bud had flashbacks, anger toward her, and it brings on anxiety. This causes fear and panic attacks for her. Which is exactly what happened, and I brought her to a safe spot in the store. She cried a lot and it took me awhile to arouse her out of it. Meanwhile, our other best bud, finally found us and helped me get her calmed down. She also called my trainer for reassurance. With all our support, my best bud got better.
She gets asked a lot of questions by humans too. She has PTSD and the questions always startles her. Makes her uncomfortable. I notice, and it makes me nervous. I want to guide her away. They’ll ask her questions about why she needs a service dog, what I do for her, and sometimes what happened to her. Humans aren’t supposed to ask these questions. Only what three tasks I do that qualifies me to be a service dog. For my best bud, it’s quite distressing. It bursts her private space bubble. I just think humans don’t know not to ask and my best bud tries her best to be forgiving and understanding.
I’m not trying to bark that all humans are bad. Nope. Ruff! We’ve had a lot of welcoming at restaurants, stores, friends, and family. They will ask if both I and my best bud are comfortable and what we need. Humans will ask to pet me or where we need to be for us to be comfortable. This is always nice and reminds us that there is good out there and we have a good outlook on moving forward. Awrooo!!!
Part 4 coming out soon!