Dear Abby and Service Dogs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Dear Abby and Service Dogs

DEAR ABBY: I have a special needs daughter who is currently on a waiting list for a service dog. She has been moved to the priority list, and I'm hoping she will receive her dog within the next two months.While I'm thrilled about the opportunities the dog will provide her, it has also raised a concern. What do I say when people ask what her disability is?
I know that legally no one is allowed to ask that question -- per the Americans With Disabilities Act -- and I would have no problem telling nosy strangers to keep their questions to themselves. But there are people -- like my co-workers and my daughter's classmates -- whom we can't avoid.
If you see my daughter on good days, you might not notice anything "different," although she has a number of significant health and emotional issues. What is the correct way to respond to the honest questions without revealing my daughter's medical history to people who have no need to know? -- MOM IN IOWA



DEAR MOM: Always be polite, but do not allow yourself to be pressured into giving specifics. Respond by saying, "Oh, I don't want to bore you -- the dog helps my daughter." Then change the subject.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 04:39 PM
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Good for Abby - funny what some people think they have a right to know, isn't it.

I'm not as nice as Abby. I might answer using what she said then change the subject by asking, "when did you get so nosey?"

Bonnie

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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yeah, politeness isn't always my first route. esp since people can be so dang PUSHY about it. esp when you have a "hidden" disability and you can hear the accusations in their voice
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 06:22 PM
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I had to yell at a kid in Walmart the other day about it...I felt terrible, but it was necessary at the time.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 09:00 PM
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Here is my opinion - for what it is worth. My child has a form of dwarfism. No service dog. When he was 4 years old and only 24 inches tall, people would ask his age. Sometimes we would get strange looks, or rude questions. People sometimes used inappropriate words, which I felt the need to correct. I'm sure my responses depended a lot on my mood and the situation. I handle strangers differently than say - teachers and classmates. Teachers need to understand my child's health situation and needs. For younger kids, I kept it simple - "He is small, because his bones don't grow like they are supposed to." Now that he is 11, he can handle these situations on his own.

It seems to me that a dog could help. I know there is a service dog called a "social bridge." The dog takes the attention off of the person. It would be the perfect opportunity to talk about what the dog can do - not what my child can't do, or needs help to do, or any medical specifics. So, if the dog can bring you a cold drink, people will be impressed with that. Who wouldn't want a dog that could do that? And does it even matter if that is not the dog's primary purpose? I have such a warped sense of humor, I would probably come up with some crazy stuff that this dog could do - whether he could or not. It would be so much fun to mess with people's minds. Through it all - you have to have a sense of humor, or you just go crazy.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 09:46 PM
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I love in the book 'My Sisters Keeper' the character with a service dog gives a different reason every time he is asked what the dog is for. I was so disappointed when they only used one of these for the movie! The one used in the movie went something like "but you aren't blind- whats the dog for?" "I have an iron lung. He keeps me away from magnets."

Its quite awkward when people ask you questions and usually throws me off if it gets to a personal point. I'm usually just vague, when asked what she is for I state she is a mobility assistance service dog. Most people don't pry further.

Xeph, what happened at walmart?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 10:21 PM
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Sounds like my kind of book. We just had a discussion on the dwarfism board about coming up with snappy answers to rude questions. An older man, who has dwarfism thought it would be a hoot. A very prim and proper lady thought it would not and one answer doesn't fit all. I suggested multiple choice. "Fred" shares my warped sense of humor.

My son usually deals by avoiding eye contact and answering "uh-huh, yep, I know." He can focus on those shelves at Game Stop like nobody's business. When some kid says, "You're small, I'm bigger than you, etc." - those answers work pretty well.

It used to throw me off, when people got too personal. But - I used to think I was obligated to answer. Now, I can give a look and walk away without a word. If I catch someone staring at my son, I stare back. When they notice, they get uncomfortable. Yeah - so how does that feel? HA!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 12:08 AM
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Having my boyfriend around helps with people staring. He knows I'm rather shy and don't like to be questioned so if people are looking at me or trying to approach he stares them down a lot for me

I wasn't very aware that he was doing it until I noticed someone staring at me in a crowded movie theatre lobby and when I returned from the bathroom asked if he had noticed. He said he had and was about to say something to the guy; after that I started to notice when I'm alone I get stared at a LOT more!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 12:31 AM
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We have a very close friend who has 3 children. Middle child has autism.
My husband and friend decided that they would like to "train" a dog to be a "special" companion with this child. (Some autistic children are "runners"). "Dino", our puppy was trained to not allow the child to wander, and "anchor" himself.......long story....no time to explain.
When the eldest child (7yrs old) is asked by others(mostly other children)......why is the dog harnessed & attached to her sister, ..whats wrong with both of them??....she responds....."God made my sister special, and Carlos made Dino special...so they were specially made for each other."....
God bless children!

Huerta Hof German Shepherds

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....where breeding is still considered an art....
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