Hi, and a grumble

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.


Member Since
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. laugh out loud

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]). thinking

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.
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Sun Mar 23, '14 7:55am PST 
You could hope for an appoculipse to start then most of the idiots will die? (may be a Zombie one for kickers) I am in that same place and about equal physical and mental illnesses.
I have a bully breed for a SD that is mistaken for a pit bull ( gave up trying to tell people "she is not") All the other stuff I go through and I live in maine. I am not homeless and I feel for you there though cause I once was homeless. (but not with a service dog) So as you see I do know where you are coming form. Not sure I can comfort you cause I am going to say it gets worse before it gets better and I am sure it will never get better (sorry) that is not much better.
I wrote on your other more recent post by the way. I can tell you you are doing very good for a homeless person Good luck.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Mar 24, '14 5:20pm PST 
Thanks. Hoping desperately to get my SSDI denial reversed (I meet their specific written criteria, yet they denied me... hmm). Seeing my lawyer tomorrow. That would be a huge step in turning things around; it would enable me to get a place and not have to be out in public so much.

Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
Barked: Wed Mar 26, '14 3:42pm PST 
I'm sorry you have to deal with the morons that keep breeding more morons. I'm not in the same type of situation as you, but have dealt with my share of "professional idiots". I used to tell people Jax bites. If I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times, "but I like dogs". LIKE SHE"S GOING TO CARE IF YOU LIKE DOGS!.............. I really hope your situation gets better. Do you have an update? Good Luck and I wish you some good fortune. smilesmile

Member Since
Barked: Thu Apr 3, '14 3:13pm PST 
Sorry to have been away so long. Not really much more to add to this, I guess. Oh, but I did do something that we'll see if it's effective or not. I looked up the exact statute in the law regarding the harassment of service dogs & their handlers - in CO (where I am), it's a class 3 misdemeanor to harass/distract/interfere with/entice (as well as abuse or injure) a working service dog. It carries a fine and potential jail time, but I can't imagine anyone actually having to serve any time... unless they're a hardcore repeat offender or something. So, I have the non-emergency police line in my phone, and I'm going to make a card/a bunch of little cards to show people so they can then decide whether they want to proceed with bothering my dog or not.

I know there will be those who don't believe it's actually a law, but since I have the code, I can just slap a website link on my card(s) so they can see for themselves. Anyone who persists in bothering my dog... will get to talk to the cops about it. I'm sick of these people and I'm done having to "tolerate" them. If I have to, I'll follow them out to their cars and take down the tag number to give the police.

Of course, whether the police take it seriously or not is a different story. I would think they would sort of get it considering they use working dogs as well (of course, their dogs might chew on you if you try to bother them).

I probably sound awful. In reality I'm about the most laid back person around (even if I'm terrified on the inside), and under the right circumstances, I can get along with virtually anyone. I have *A LOT* of patience, so that I'm feeling pushed this far is telling. It's very stressful and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the people who read his vest and then harass him anyway because they think I'm not looking/don't see them (being extremely paranoid, I'm highly observant) or they think I can't hear them (surprise - I can). I'm sick of the people who look like I just kicked their kid when I tell them no, they can't pet the dog. I'm sick of the ones who I say no to and they do it anyway. I'm sick of people who try to call him to them from across the freakin' room (who does that, anyway?? It's bizarre and it's happened on more than one occasion.). I'm really sick of hearing him referred to as "the puppy" (he's three) or worse, the "baby puppy" (redundant much?).

Haha, there's an old guy at another location I go to in the evenings who purposely sits as near to me as possible and mutters things just loud enough that I can hear them but most other people around can't. The other night he relocated himself from the entire other side of the store to come sit across from me with one of his really weird friends, and sat there going on about how he "[doesn't] like dogs" and "Pit Bulls are illegal" (lol not here they aren't [though in Denver they still are] - and wouldn't matter anyway since he is a service dog). He's ridiculous and I've make formal complaints to Sbux twice about this clown, because I'm not the only one he harasses (but I seem to be a preferred target). He makes racist comments and is the "speak Amurkin'!" type if there's anyone around speaking in a different language. Why they allow him in there is beyond me since he harasses the staff too.

Anyway, sorry to babble. It's usually how posts from me end up going, haha. It's just that I do not have any "real life" friends with service dogs, and while my other friends sympathize, they don't really get how incredibly frustrating it all is. And then I found this site and am inflicting myself upon all of you. laugh out loud

Seriously though, thanks for reading and responding.
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Sun May 18, '14 8:10am PST 
I posted on your other post that I had a situation with sadie recently....