Whenever Keen and I are out and about, we are pretty much on parade. I hate extra attention and when Keen and I were still in the training process, I couldn’t make it for very long. Eight months later, I have developed selective hearing.
A lot of service dog handlers have developed it. My friend J, who is a veteran, hasn’t quite perfected it. He gets very angry and red in the face when someone begins pointing and saying, “That’s a service dog!” I have developed this special skill very quickly because it is the only reason I am able to make it through the grocery store.
I do hear everybody, but I shove it in the back of my mind. Often times, I will be standing in line and someone asks me a question. I don’t hear and the person with me points it out that they asked me a question. I hate going out with someone. They usually want to be polite and answer the strangers question. I often play the, “Oh. She must be deaf” card, but I can’t when the person I’m with won’t play along with me.
But, my mom usually accompanies me places. The most common thing people ask me is, “Are you training him?” My answer? “No. He is mine.” I often get bothered by this question and wonder why they always assume that. I recently discovered the reason from a very… Blunt person.
The reason they assume I am training the dog is because I do not appear to need the dog. Now that question bothers me. People expect you to be in a wheelchair, blind, or deaf when you have a service dog. The whole “Not all illnesses are visible” thing usually doesn’t bother me, because I have never had a situation like that occur. I now know I have that kind of misunderstanding every day.
When I was on my service dog patch frenzy, I came across a lot of patches that said “Not all illnesses are visible.” I never got one because I didn’t think it needed it. Now I think that I’m going to get a shirt that says it… I think people MIGHT read it then.