|Barked: Wed Mar 19, '14 2:13pm PST |
|Hi, I have just registered on this site - something I wanted to do a few months ago, but saw the community was going away so didn't bother, and then came back today while searching for some sort of SD forum and saw that the community stuff was sticking around after all. Pardon my convoluted run-on sentence.
I am 38, male, and live in CO, a bit outside Denver. CO is apparently where everyone who loves dogs lives (I'm not from here, it's something I've learned over the past couple of years). And not only do they love dogs, but they're also the most spoiled, entitled, never-been-told-no crowd of people I've ever come across (this is where the grumbling begins... I like to dive right on in).
I know other people have encountered this kind of thing, I've seen the rants online. I just haven't seen anywhere to actually *discuss* it. My crankiness stems from the following:
Background: bipolar I with anxiety/panic, agoraphobia, social phobia (these are the primary reasons I have a dog). Fun physical problems including DJD in my my right knee (which is also dealing with "chronic" ACL tearing [chronic?]) and some grumpy discs in my neck (these are secondary issues, though the dog is helpful for things like getting up, and not hitting the ground full force when falling down [just hitting the dog full force instead... kidding]).
A major contributor to the problems I'm having: I'm homeless and spend most of my days sitting in Starbucks (it's better than sitting in my car, and besides, my computer has a crap battery that needs plugging in, so...). I don't "look" homeless (most who are don't) and I also don't "look" disabled (unless I'm having a bad knee day, which are becoming more and more frequent, and even then I just look kinda gimpy, unless I'm falling over, in which case I just look clumsy. Or possibly drunk.).
So, I sit here each day and mind my own business. The people who work here all know me, seem to like me for some reason, and really dig the dog - but also understand what he is and why he's here and why they don't get to play with him all day. Or at all.
Other people... not so much. Of those that bother to even ask, most are already talking to/attempting to touch/successfully doing one or both of the preceding, fully expecting that OF COURSE I'm going to say yes, please pet and talk to my dog who is clearly marked as a service animal complete with statements to not touch or make any contact with. GO AHEAD!
They sure do hate it when I say no (I get the dirtiest looks). So most don't even bother. Most people just walk right up and start talking/petting/both without saying a single word to me. Or, apparently, even noticing I'm here. Evidently my invisible illnesses have made me literally invisible (that sounds more like a superpower than an illness, really).
Now see, I'm actually pretty friendly, even if people terrify the crap out of me. I think it's a self-preservation thing - smile and nod and they won't eat you. Or, well, I used to be pretty friendly. Now I just pretty much hate everyone (and they terrify the crap out of me). I've had to fend off more people than I can even remember and I'm so sick of doing it that I've started getting really snippy - and just downright rude, in some cases - with people. Then again, they're being pretty $#@^&* rude by totally ignoring me and acting like my dog belongs to them (I've had people CALL HIM TO THEM FROM ACROSS THE ROOM... fortunately he doesn't respond to such nonsense). And of course there are the people who *purposely* continue to harass him once it's been pointed out to them that they shouldn't be doing such things.
He's also a Pit Bull, so people find him fascinating ("I didn't know *they* could do *that* kind of thing!" & "Aren't you afraid he'll eventually attack you?" [*headdesk*] & "That's a Boxer, right?" & [in response to me saying he's a Pit Bull] "No he's not." [said in voice of authority by person who then backed away from him in fear]). So yeah, there's that part too.
These people... are going to bring about their own death one of these days, I swear... okay, not really, but I deal with this BS every. freakin'. day. and it's not amusing. I also really don't like being asked what my "problem" is or why I need a dog (you tell me your medical woes first and then I'll think about telling you mine!). Because it's either that or clearly I'm merely training the dog ("Oh, how far along is he in his training?", "When do you have to give him up?", "Do you train for a company or just on your own?"). That's nice that you acknowledge I did a stellar job training my dog (which... I did), but he's actually mine, so... (cue more dirty looks).
What the eff do I do about these people? Telling them no often doesn't get them to back off, asking them to stop makes them act like I just grew a third head, plastering the dog with ID has taught me that people are largely illiterate, and about the only people with an ounce of manners are very young children (which is just bizarre). I'd love to just be able to go "home" and not have to deal with these ninnies, but "home" consists of my car, and that gets old really fast, so that's sort of out.
I found a nice, succinct write up of "service dog etiquette" for people who don't know what a service dog (or even those who do, since I've had people approach me who claim to be "trainers" or have best friends who are "trainers", so they know all this stuff, but can they just pet him anyway he looks so cute and once won't hurt right what why are you saying no you're such a meaniepants I'm going to storm off in a huff now) that I'd like to print out and tote around with me, however, refer back to the whole "they're illiterate" part.
In seriousness, this has damaged his training, and twice I've had to go back and correct things that should be (and were at one point) pretty basic. He is a *very* friendly dog (unlike the "service dog" I encountered at my mental health clinic that tried to *literally* attack both me and my dog... owner's "excuse" was that she was part wolf... ) but taught to turn to me before making contact with another person... except the asshats who approach him and just start manhandling him have caused a good deal of confusion in his tiny little dog brain, and having to keep fixing this is not fun. For either of us, I'm pretty sure. Part of his purpose is to serve as a barrier between me and the great unwashed... not open the door for them. Another potentially dangerous issue is that I cannot have him suddenly pull me one way or another because some moron has come up to him and made kissy faces - if I'm pulled off balance, it could ruin my day for sure.
As much as I can snark about it, it actually makes me fairly angry (don't piss off the bipolar person... the bipolar person who looks kinda freaky... the freaky looking bipolar person who has a Pit Bull for a service dog... hey, if I can't use common sense on them, maybe piling on a bunch of stereotypes will do the trick). I don't want to sit in my car all day long. It's boring and my computer will die and there's no coffee.
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