Saturday, April 21, 2012

We are not invisible : Life with a Service Dog

In mid- January I entered the electronic store. I had purposefully neglected all shopping  during the holiday season.  I watched fuzzy/ grainy pictures for weeks. I really WANTED a new TV. but -- There are no “good deals” during the holidays I reasoned. –None that would justify “Team Goodee” and company having to navigate through crowds.

 Goodee the Service Dog ran ahead to activate the door. The store was vacant of customers. “We have the store to ourselves.” “Wonderful,” I thought.

 Goodee and company browsed for a bit before seeing three salesmen in the corner. The young men were looking at us. “{Have I got something I my dress?”)I thought. –Still gazing at the displays.
“Any minute now, the three salesman will pounce on us at once,” I told myself.  However, it soon became apparent that no store employee had any interest in us. We had breezed past the greeter and into the merchandise without a single word.

After 30 minutes of browsing I had a few questions and wanted to make a purchase. Still no one had recognized me as a legitimate customer needing assistance. There was still no other customer in the store. I began moving to the “Customer Service Desk.”  I became aware that the three salesmen were laughing and talking loudly. “I wonder what kind of TV a blind person watches?” one of them said. They laughed in unison.

Team Goodee continued our march towards the counter. “What does a person have to do to spend money in here?” I became more and more frustrated. By now I had answered my own questions. I just needed to pay and get out. We approached our target the clerk behind a big sign marked “Customer Service” still looked through us and spoke to the customer behind us!

Just then, a manager emerged from a door marked “Employees only.” I decided to confront our concern head-on. I approached the man and advised him that we had been ignored but we were ready to make a purchase. The three salesmen suddenly took an interest as we loaded down our cart with electronics.

“Well that often happens mom.”  “Hello Goodee the Service Dog” “Thanks for dropping in… “What often happens Goodee?”  “People treat you like your invisible.”
“You think so Goodee?” “ Really?”  “Invisible?” “Well yes mom.” they say things to me like … “pretty puppy” “good dog.” “They even try to see if I will do things for them by asking me “can you sit?”(“Of course I CAN sit I am a trained Service Dog but they are not my partner.”

 “Furthermore,  there are some people who talk about you in third person like you are not even there” “I hear them ask people that are with us things like “Can she see?” or “What would she like to eat” “They even complement you in third person by saying “She has pretty nail polish, or nice hair.”
My Service Dog Goodee is always observant about these things. . It is true a Service Dog often causes people to assume facts not in evidence. I am neither blind, nor deaf. —“Hey mom,  even if you were both blind and deaf you would still love to go shopping, you would still like to communicate for yourself and be addressed directly”” Correct again Goodee! . "

"People struggle with physical and mental challenges of varying degrees but everyone deserves respect.
“Okay mom let’s leave our friends some references and our trademark sign off”
“Okay Goodee… Not Now We Are Working”
“Mom don’t be silly let them know about the references and resources first.”
“Oh sorry Goodee. I forgot.”

References & Resources

Invisible Disabilities Association
Support for disabilities not often obvious such as debilitating pain and cognitive dysfunctions
North Star Foundation
Articles about Autism Assistance Dogs
Service Dog 411
Service Dog Information for persons looking for a Service Dog and resources for Service Dog owners.
Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities
Mitigation of mental impairments through the use of a Service Dog
Warning: There is no exhaustive list of service dog tasks or uses. If you are wondering if a service dog can help our response is  “YES!”
We list these resources to educate. When you see us out and about we often must say “Not Now We Are Working!”

GoodeeWorks Productions

DD & GOODEE the Service Dog wish to remind everyone our friend Teddy (age 9) suffers from life-threatening tree nut allergies. Lucy the ladradoodle is currently in training to keep Teddy away from harm and carry his needed medical supplies.
Service Dog training is expensive. Your support is appreciated:
Donations can be made directly to Angel Service Dogs:
Mark your payment “Training for Lucy”__________________________
Visit Facebook
For the love of Lucy/ Teddy’s Service Dog

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! Love your blog! Thank-you so much for sharing.