In paw-nor of International Guide Dog day, we’ve partnered with the TODAY show and Guiding Eyes for the Blind to reshare and celebrate some of our favorite pieces about guide dogs!
We’ve all had this happen: You’re in an airport (or on a bus, or in a coffee shop, etc.) and you look up from your phone and what’s heading towards you? An amazingly fluffy pup, strutting down the way like they own the place. Now depending on your level of doge ruv, your reaction might range anywhere from “Aw how cute” to ” ASDALSKDAKSD OMG I MUST PET IT!” And then, as you head towards the pooch you realize…it’s a service dog. Annnd now it’s awkward.
But let me tell you from experience (I’ve raised two seeing eye dogs) having someone ask to pet my dog is one of the more “normal” things people have said to me when I’m working with my pup. So you don’t breach service dog pupiquette, here’s a handy list of 11 things you should never say to service dog parents.
1. “Does your dog bite?”
Do you bite people while you’re working? Wait don’t answer that.
2. Whatever you do, PLEASE don’t scream in my dog’s face.
If you’re in a campground and you open your tent and there’s a bear eating your olive loaf, that’s when screaming at an animal is appropriate. My dog is not a bear, and here’s how you tell the difference between the two:
This is a dog.
This is a bear.
3. “Is your dog going to poop in the store?”
They go through a TON of training to make sure they don’t make unwanted deposits while they’re working. They’re trained to go before the harness is put on! Although when I was training my first puppy we took him to the mall and he was so excited to be in his little “Puppy In Training” harness he mayyy have made a little poo, but hence the “In Training”.
4. “You’re so lucky! I wish I could bring my dog in here!”
Hmm let’s think this one through, do you really wish you had a condition that requires a service dog?
5. “Does the dog drive for you?”
Believe it or not I’ve gotten this more than once. My pups-in-training, while super talented, never mastered the art of driving (they kept hitting squirrels).
6. “Don’t stare at the blind girl.”
Okay first of all I’m not blind, I’m just training this dog! But even if I were, that doesn’t mean I’m deaf!
7. *Insert argument with manager about not allowing your dog in their store*.
According to the American Disabilities Act (ADA), even private businesses must allow service dogs on the premises if they cater to the public. This is NATIONWIDE and you still wouldn’t believe how hard some people make it for those in need of a service dog. To all store managers everywhere: People who need service pups have enough problems already, please don’t make it harder on them by refusing to allow them into your business because they’re exercising their LEGAL RIGHT.
8. “Is the dog blind too?”
I don’t…I can’t…just no.
9. “Oops didn’t see that tail there!”
Especially with certain dog breeds, in a crowded space that furry waggle-mast can be a bit of an obstacle! But I had one professor who stepped on my poor dog’s tail every. single. class.
10. “Did you just start training service dogs so you could bring your puppy everywhere?”
While it is a pretty nice perk, training is a ton of work! And when you’re in public you’re only doing it to acclimate the pup to being places out of his comfort zone. Ask me this question again once you and your 12 week-old puppy have been tested on tons of advanced skills that they’re supposed to be performing effortlessly (one of my dogs once got so nervous during one of exams, he peed on my leg).
11. “I could never give up my dog”
It never gets easy, but you just have to know that your dog is making an incredible difference in someone’s life. I went to my first puppy’s graduation from Guide Dog School and his new owner told me that because of my dog, he has been able to walk through a park for the first time in his life. It’s those little moments that make it all worth it.
Do you have a service dog? What are some of the most ridiculous things people have said to you? Let us know on our Facebook!