Got questioned about my SD at 7-11 took me by surprise - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Got questioned about my SD at 7-11 took me by surprise

So I went to 7-11 tonight with Hakki my SD. Yes, he was wearing his service vest.

One of the night managers asked me "what service does he perform?" I told him he was a medical service dog.

Then he asked what type of medical service dog and I just looked at him and said "that is private"

He responds "well there are service dogs for the blind, the deaf, etc." I responded back "there are many different types of service dogs - google it on the internet" He responds that he is in animal services. So I am assuming he works animal control. He then asks me "are you sure he isn't a therapy dog?" I told him "NO, he is a service dog"


He left and the other clerk helped me so I asked him "does he not like dogs" The 2nd clerk said "oh no, he likes dogs - he is in animal services"

I responded back "well it is a private question and there are heppa laws to protect my privacy"


I was taken aback from the personal questions he was asking. People here on this forum know I have PTSD - that is fine but I live in a small town with maybe 4K people at the very most. I don't need my personal business going around town as I will feel that people will look at me and say "oh there is the crazy lady"

I guess it being a small town - the guy felt like he should know every dog in this area and he hasn't seen Hakki before. Well heck I just got him a month ago and this is the first time I took him to that store.

This is the very first time I have been questioned about Hakki. I don't know if I responded appropriately but I don't even tell my coworkers why I have him. I just tell him he is a medical dog. Some of my coworkers have questioned if I was training him to be a service dog as they all know how much I love, love, love dogs and care very much about the dogs on my postal route. Because I keep my personal medical information to myself they are a little bit surprised when I tell them "no, I am not training him. He has been professionally trained and he is for me"

My boss knows and the postmaster knows why I have him - that should be sufficient.

This entire episode took me by surprise and I am a little bit upset to say the least.

How better could I have handled the situation of being asked by a store manager?
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:05 AM
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Not all abilities are obvious by looking, and neither are disabilities. I don't think you could have handled it any better given the situation. People who assume that disabilities are easily visible have a very limited grasp on that aspect.

The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Not all abilities are obvious by looking, and neither are disabilities. I don't think you could have handled it any better given the situation. People who assume that disabilities are easily visible have a very limited grasp on that aspect.

Thanks I appreciate the encouragement. You would think someone working in animal services would know this unless he was just being nosey which happens in small town Heber City. Our main street only has 4 lights from one end to the other. I do love living here.

Hakki has been to 4 different restaurants and has impeccable manners to where people don't even realize that he is there as he never makes a sound. He lays down until I release him. The waiters are awesome with him and will get really close to where I think they might step on his tail or something.

Up until now when people have asked me "what kind of medical service dog is he? and I have responded that is private - they don't ask anymore questions and some have apologized for asking such a personal question.

I like the response that not all disabilities are visible and I am going to use that in the future. Thanks again.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:26 AM
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It is probably caused because of all the fake service dogs that come into stores and restaurants.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:40 AM
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I agree with Wolfy... its most likely that he has seen plenty of fake service dogs and is tired of people saying "oh its my service dog" when in reality its a therapy dog.

You handled it well - it doesn't matter what he's thinking or sick of hearing he has no right to ask such personal questions! So rude!!
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:47 AM
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I too think that you handled the situation well.

I do agree with Wolfy dog - there are so many dogs being represented as service dogs that have been "trained and certified" by the same person ---- the owner -- .
Sorry to say , even on this forum there would be examples - dogs with "a little bit of aggression " "a little shy or reactive"

Some wouldn't pass the first evaluation at a genuine organization . They would be washed.
But the amateur trainer , owner , loves the dog , and can't make critical decisions and find a suitable replacement.

So there are stories of dogs in restaurants barking their heads off , or dogs in the grocery lifting their leg . The latter one I saw myself .

When people misrepresent the dog as a service dog they make it difficult for those with a genuine need.

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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It is probably caused because of all the fake service dogs that come into stores and restaurants.
Unfortunately this is the case way too often. It just makes it more difficult for me and others that have trained SD's and need them to live a somewhat normal life.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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I agree with Wolfy... its most likely that he has seen plenty of fake service dogs and is tired of people saying "oh its my service dog" when in reality its a therapy dog.

You handled it well - it doesn't matter what he's thinking or sick of hearing he has no right to ask such personal questions! So rude!!
I thought he was really rude but then wondered if he really had the right to ask me?
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
I too think that you handled the situation well.

I do agree with Wolfy dog - there are so many dogs being represented as service dogs that have been "trained and certified" by the same person ---- the owner -- .
Sorry to say , even on this forum there would be examples - dogs with "a little bit of aggression " "a little shy or reactive"

Some wouldn't pass the first evaluation at a genuine organization . They would be washed.
But the amateur trainer , owner , loves the dog , and can't make critical decisions and find a suitable replacement.

So there are stories of dogs in restaurants barking their heads off , or dogs in the grocery lifting their leg . The latter one I saw myself .

When people misrepresent the dog as a service dog they make it difficult for those with a genuine need.
I wouldn't dream of training my own service dog. I am not a professional trainer and I have also seen dogs that don't behave out in public and yet owners will claim them to be service dogs.

I did have a therapy dog that I trained to help children read in elementary schools but it just so happened that she was extremely obedient and very loving. That changed with an interaction at my home with a not so nice person so she began the thought process of having to defend me. I pulled her out of therapy work a month later because she would bark when she knew someone didn't like dogs in particular, etc.

I will just have to get used to answering questions in the future that people will accept without prying for more details.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 01:50 AM
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He doesn't have a right to ask what medical condition you have. They can ask if it is a service dog and what specific task it has been trained to perform though.

I think it's really because of how many people bring in animals that aren't a service dog and try to pass them off as such. Generally they can't answer what task their dog supposedly does, other than it's definitely a service dog.
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