My Response to Service Dog Questions
Every time I go out, I get questions about Crush. People ask entirely inappropriate questions. Luckily, the company that gave me Crush prepared me to answer these. I had no idea how I would respond initially. Even now, every question and person gets a variation of the same answer. Sometimes these questions leave me laughing, crying, or somewhere in between. So here are some of my pre-programmed responses to the question: Why do you have him/ What’s wrong with you?
- I have a disability
I like this because it’s short and sweet. It also addresses how. Inappropriate it is to ask without shaming the person for asking. I like that approach, people are more receptive to learning from the experience. You are not entitled to my medical information. You have no need to know my health needs or problems. It’s intrusive and rude. So, this addresses the question without room for follow up. In the case that someone did ask more questions, I would tell them why what they’re asking is disrespectful.
- I have Dysautonomia
Depending on whether I’m having a conversation with a person or not, I may be more upfront about my condition. I don’t say this as often because no one knows what it means. Again, it serves an important purpose though. There’s almost always something more going on for someone than you can see on the surface. People don’t understand what my condition is, much less the extensive effects it has in my life. I only say this if I’m ready to answer a question about what the condition is. Which is rare but does happen.
- He’s a medical alert/mobility assistance dog
This is my only required response for access issues. Besides confirming that he is a service animal. I will occasionally say this to people, if they ask what his tasks are. It’s rare that someone gets that in depth though. More often, it’s people interested in getting an SD that ask these types of questions. I’m much more likely to answer them if that’s the case. Crush has completely changed my life. I want to give other people that same opportunity, if they have the chance to get an SD.
The thing you’ll notice about all these responses is that they’re short. Never forget that you have no obligation to tell people anything. Besides access rights, nobody has rights to your information. What you share is completely up to you. I give you these examples because I automatically used to share too much. I’d allow myself to overshare what I felt comfortable. I didn’t want to make someone else uncomfortable. Don’t fall into this trap if you’re not comfortable. Practice your responses and prepare yourself for the questions. You’ll get the hang of it.
I hope you’re having a great day. I hope your day is filled with joy, positivity, and laughter. I hope you find peace, love, and happiness.