Preconceptions and Misconceptions
I had this exchange with a family member via text. She’s not malicious so much as, apathetic and rude.
X: Ankle Biters should not qualify as therapy dogs, but the blanket is cute. **photo of a vested chihuahua mix
Me: Therapy dog or service dog?
X: Patch says “working dog” but this is *name of a non-profit veteran treatment facility* so therapy? What’s definition?
Me: Service dog performs tasks and alerts. Emotional support dog is a companion. Therapy dog is emotional support for other people, not the handler.
X: Oh, no idea. It’s just a dog on a leash.
Me: It’s probably a service dog. Generally, it’s rude to photograph people’s service dogs without permission.
Me: Meet *Spooky Pup*. My new ankle biter service dog. **photo of my dog
We do not speak on the phone and it’s common for me to not respond to some of her more irritating inquiries. That’s just the boundary that we must maintain, lest I get mad and write her off completely. This is typical of our conversations. Last time, I think she was asking if pit bulls were allowed in public. The attached photo was of a black lab looking mix. Another time, she asked where to get a vest for a family member’s pet, so it could fly. I was not charitable on either reply, but that’s not the point of this. Although she knows my medical needs and history, she hasn’t bothered to self-educate or even pretend to care.
I’m gonna say this very clearly. Her stupid attitude and willful ignorance is not my problem and I will not try to fix her. It is not my job. You see that I gave a concise response to educate and she blew it off. This is normal. Some people WILL NEVER LEARN and don’t want to. I know that it hurts to have someone that should love you behave so dismissively, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t have the time or energy to undo decades upon decades of built up walls and assumptions.
There are preconceptions and misconceptions about breeds, about sizes, and about service dogs and tasks. We will, each and every one of us, face these things in our daily lives and our own families. It’s not fair, but that’s life. Remember that we have these dogs (and miniature horses) to mitigate our disability and enable us to live in the world. If investing energy into those people and their assumptions is going to take ANYTHING away from you, it’s okay to do an about face and keep moving.
Yes, we are called on to be ambassadors for handlers, but FIRST AND FOREMOST we are individuals with needs and free will. If those are not served by handing out cards, engaging with every citizen at Wallyworld, or reproaching a dumbass family member, we don’t have to. I have no intentions of explaining how my “ankle biter” helps me, beyond answering the ADA permitted two questions, nor will I be entertaining every dog whisperer that thinks he’s SOOOO CUUUUUTTEEEEE! Sorry, not sorry.
Article written by: DV SpookyCat; She doesn't purr but she will tell you if you're an asshole.
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