It has taken me a while for me to realize that, due to me having one of my own, I am an ambassador to service dogs. These past few days, I have had people approach me to ask questions about SDs. I get a lot of questions, but I had more than usual.
I had a lady stop me to ask about where I got Keen, how much it costs, and how long it takes. I told her everything. SCM trained him, $6,000 for his training, and about six months. I am not a terribly social person when it comes to small talk. I say the thing that will make the conversation faster. It’s how I survive a social situation.
Now that I have Keen, I find that I am going to have to take some initiative to give more information. At church this morning, a large man approached me and said, “Hey I could slap one of those vests on my dog and take him everywhere with me.” I smiled and said that you could.
As soon as I said it, I knew I should have explained more. See I meant that you could very well do that, but it would be against the law. I didn’t say it and wish I had. As soon as he finished saying that it must be a long process to get them trained, he went and sat back down.
It has been nagging me ever since. I took the “end the conversation as soon as possible” route instead of taking the “this is a perfect time to spread awareness about the service dog laws” route. My advice, take as many opportunities as you can to spread awareness.
I am going to have to train myself to speak up more often. Every chance I can. I don’t mean that you should quote the ada laws and other background, but even a situation like I was in just say a little more. Say, “Yes. You could slap a vest on your dog, but that would not be right. A service dog by definition is a dog that is trained to mitigate a disability. If your dog isn’t trained to do such, it’s not a service dog.”
Every single person that has a faithful companion by there side at all times, should see themselves as being ambassadors and spread awareness any way they can.