Thursday, April 6, 2017

PEOPLE! Standing On Our Last Nerve (The LONG blog that will be a book)

THE FOLLOWING BLOG IS RATED NC-17 for the use of the words bra, and sex.

The content is for education of the public and support of the Service Dog community. – and we hope a few laughs because no one likes boring rants. The use of “We” in this blog applies exclusively to Team Goodee, and is not meant to apply to any other Service Dog Team or group, real or imagined. Our strong opinions are our own.


The feature character "Dr-X" and office staff is a composite character of past medical providers and does not resemble any of Team Goodee's current medical team.
The feature character Miss "Evil Spirit" Airways is a real person but, we wouldn't reveal her name even if we had it.

     “Clearly mom, it’s time for a blog.”
     “Hello Goodee the Service Dog,  What makes you think so?"
     “Well mom, you get a look. You are about to explode on your Facebook status.”
     “Oh yes, Goodee, it happens.”
     “Well why not just do a blog so people will      know what’s on your mind?”
     “Wonderful idea Goodee.

Here we go…”


     “Our survey says…”

* People who pet the Service Dog, or ask to pet after reading the words “DO NOT PET.”

There are several reasons petting is not allowed. First, the working dog might become distracted causing them to miss a vital que to their job—For example, Seizure alert dogs are able to signal their handler that a seizure is about to happen, allowing time for the person to reach their medication or a “safe” zone. However, when a stranger insists upon attention from the dog, even the best working dog is delayed in  signaling the handler This may lead to an unnecessary medical emergency.
(Yes, it’s a real deal. No, we may  not know how the dog does it. Yes, we know you THINK you are the exception to the rule. NO, there is NOT any exception to the “DO NOT PET” rule.).

Second, if you are close enough to pet the dog then you are too ___ close to the human handler and dog. —both of whom need PERSONAL SPACE (sometimes for private medical reasons).  As an example, Goodee the Service Dog is trained to keep people away from me because I am at risk of falling.

What happens when people get too close?

     “The chiropractor has an unexpected payday.”

     “correct Goodee but let’s break it down so people understand. Here’s our example:”

I am paused browsing a shelf at a secret location, our local mega-store (who didn’t pay me for advertising so I’m not going to tell you their name). —Suddenly, I hear six small kids yell “DOG!” I feel a rush of wind. Caught off-guard, spastic cerebral palsy causes my legs to stiffen as all the children run towards Goodee the Service Dog. I fall to the floor. Holding Goodee's leash helped,  however, Goodee is correct both my chiropractor and massage therapist got unexpected paydays during the next week. The fall shifted my whole spine.

An adult did “collect” her children. She smiled saying: “Oh I’m so proud of you no one touched the dog.”

I was speechless so I will reply now:

Dear adult who left children unsupervised,

There’s a lot more to being around a Service Dog then just not touching. The running child wind tunnel was cute. Your children almost  ran into my cart. I moved quickly to prevent their head injury.  My highly-trained dog did her best but it wasn't  enough to prevent my own fall. Thank you for the opportunity to entertain the kids. It cost me three chiropractor visits and two massage therapy sessions—some items not covered by insurance, you are welcome.

*People who insist upon “helping.”

Example: Dear stranger who thinks I am blind,

I know you are TRYING to help. However, I need to use the chair to balance myself. When you abruptly pull the chair announcing, “I have your chair for you,” the dog and I must adjust. In fact, if the dog wasn’t helping me  your yanking would cause me to fall.
(I sincerely appreciate any offers of help. However, please don’t take it personally if I say, “No thanks.” The Service Dog and I have a system. It’s important that we stick with it. We value our independence and you are not always here to help. It is a source of amusement to me that I previously struggled,  needing help, wanting help, sometimes getting the odd look from strangers clueless to my situation. Now, I have the Service Dog and I can do things for myself. —people run to “help.”—Some are sincere, others look around to make sure everyone knows they are “helping the disabled lady,” like a child selected to collect milk money, or clean erasers.).

* People who act like the human is invisible. / can’t see/ hear.

Example: At the top-secret pharmacy (Who also didn’t pay advertising consideration), I asked the pharmacy tech about a medication. The tech brought two boxes out looking “through” me to the man standing behind me and said:
“Which does she want?”
The stranger shrugged “I don’t know.”
“Why don’t you ask me?” I advised, after all “I asked the question.”
I conclude this is a “disability” thing. When I had no Service Dog I would stumble, sometimes people would look at me like I must be drunk, I was crushed by crowds and shopping carts because I wasn’t moving fast enough but people would never avoid eye contact with me. I didn’t have an outward symbol of disability, so I was treated like a “normal” person.

     I have been disabled my whole life but, post Service Dog I am painfully aware of stereotyping. Suddenly the world thinks  I can’t see, hear, or think for myself . Instead of talking TO me strangers talk ABOUT me in third person. 


Small town USA drug store (won’t give you their name because I no longer do business with them. —If they don’t recognize ME as a PERSON why do business there?).

Counter help looks through me to the dog and asks my mom: “Can she see?” 

My reply: “Yes the dog and I can see and hear. My mom doesn't have her hearing aids in so she she  has  difficulty hearing you. I have a question about MY account, so you should probably speak with ME."

(The person using a Service Dog may in fact be blind and deaf. There’s no shame in being either or both. It is rude to talk about someone in third person like they are invisible. Yes, a Service Dog is a sign that we are mitigating a disability but, we are proud of being able to take care of our own business and certainly have the right to do so. We know you probably do the same thing to people with walkers, canes, and wheelchairs so please stop! We are people,  Just people, real people).

     “Boy mom you certainly are on a “soap box.”
     “Goodee the Service Dog there’s plenty more. Continuing on down our list…”

* Professionals who think they are the exception to the “DO NOT TOUCH” rule/ want to make us “show-n-tell.”

There’s a “top secret” list of people who are the exception to our “Do Not Touch” rule.

     “I ate the list it was tasty.”
     “Thanks, Goodee."

The Goodee “safe circle” is a small group of people(they  know who they are and under what circumstances they may touch the Service Dog). 

The Service Dog knows boundaries so don’t try to enter the circle uninvited.   Do not assume because you work for “Dr X” that you may touch the Service Dog. —especially in front of others. The dog is not a prop to show how “cool” you are, or  “brighten your day.”


Human and Service Dog in ER for human to get x-ray---

 Nurse, “oh what a cute dog,” inviting other patients to come in and view “the doggie.”- -  Please! We are not the “lookie loo” tour.

* Total strangers who invade our lives because we have “the dog.”

People want to tell you their story and know your story all in sixty seconds–  Example: “My uncle’s best friend’s girlfriend has a Service Dog, but, she’s blind and you don’t look blind so I think you don’t need a Service Dog like she does. You look too young to need a Service Dog. Why do you have your dog?”

(SLOW DOWN, we don’t know you. We are not here to be an interactive information board. We wanted to get our hair done, shop, or go to the doctor just like you. BTW, we really would like to be on our way now but, we will stop briefly to speak. However, DON’T expect us to detail why we have a Service Dog. —This topic may cause us anxiety or PTSD flashbacks.  Also, it’s a bit personal. We notice you are not wearing a bra, is there a medical reason for that, or do you just want to look sexy? —Well gosh, we may not want to disclose details to a total stranger either, especially in the supermarket checkout lane).

*Adults who want to make the Service Dog a “teachable moment.” 


“See the doggie. AH OH See the doggie, you see, see the doggie.”

(Really? Do you think the toddler with you is blind and doesn’t see the dog? What’s your point? You want the child to see “different” people?  Great, point out a few people with different color skin than yours, where everyone can hear you and see what happens.   Oh, you just want the kid to have a distraction? Try the juice box or toy you brought with you. —They are not busy and WE would like to shop in peace. The dog may or may not be distracted by your babble but the human who must hear 40+ adults babble “doggie” all day every day every time we go out in public is REALLY distracted, annoyed, and tired. If  you simply must use the dog as a "teach time" please do so in a whisper and without pointing. The human needs no more reminders about how "different" they are. Would you point to a person using a walker and say "Oh do you see the cute walker?" --The Service Dog is a MEDICAL DEVICE, nothing more nothing less.

Teachable Moment Example #2: 

"See the blind dog. It’s helping the lady."
(WOW!  “Blind dog.” While the child may not be able to understand everything If you are going to “teach” at least try being close to correct. The dog should not be blind and the person may not be. How about.-- “see the helper dog it is working for the lady.”—Service Dogs: They are not just for blind people!).


We do understanding “teaching time.” It is wonderful when an adult says: “See the dog it’s working and we don’t pet it.” I always stop and say, “Thank you so much!”

We ask for  SPACE,  PRIVACY, and RESPECT.  We are not public figures, information booths, or interactive displays. There are places to get information about Service Dogs, please don’t expect every Service Dog handler you meet to provide the 4-11. If you would like to exchange information ask the person for their email address. —Don’t ask the Service Dog they never check email.

     “Watch it”
     “Oh, Goodee the Service Dog, you are still  here.”

We understand that you want, want, want, to pet the Service Dog.  Sorry for some strange reason we need our medical device; try the medical supply store next door, maybe there’s an insulin pack you could pet. Oh, you NEED to pet the DOG? —We would sincerely ask that you go to your local shelter where dogs ACTUALLY DO NEED you to pet them. —Tell them Team Goodee sent you.


We are sorry to disappoint you but we are not a magical unicorn act. We don’t fart rainbows and keep a smile on our face for your benefit. We can’t stop our life for you. We have business meetings/ family time, and our life does NOT revolve around your need to “see,” and “chat” with the Service Dog.

We  don't  go out of our way to be rude but, we will make our point strongly. —Why? because your “need” to see, feel, and, get excited about “the doggie” is a danger to the human and the dog. Also, we have the Service Dog so that we may be out in public  doing things.  We cannot let people disrupt our routine to a ridiculous point.

Example 1:

Human goes out of doctor office waiting area to make a PRIVATE business call. Human is FOLLOWED by a patient. Human is on her cell phone, the “stalker” is “yapping” at the dog so loudly that  business comes to a sudden halt.

“Am I on speaker phone?” the CONFIDENTIAL client asks.

“No sorry, I had to step outside, must be road noise.”
(Placing the call on mute, I inquire of “stalker:”--

"Would you mind giving us a little space? I’m trying to have a private business conversation.”)

STALKER REPLY: “Well MY GOD I was JUST talking to the dog!”

ME: “Sorry visiting hours are over.”
(I walked away, thankful “stalker” didn’t follow).

Example 2:

In hotel lobby, tired from being on cruise ship and bus human and Service Dog trying to “chill.”

Flight attendant from "Evil Spirit” Airways comes through the door (She was wearing a uniform and honestly earned the title "Evil Spirit") ...

“OH, GOSH WHAT A CUTE DOG!” (running towards us with her noisy roller bag).

ME: “Sorry we are suffering through  a little “jet lag.” Could you give us some space?"


ME: “Sorry we are not set up to be a tourist display.”

HER REPLY: (as if  totally ignoring my request) “OH SHE LOOKS SO TIRED.”

ME: (Getting up from my seat) (announcing in a loud voice) “Be sure and look us up in the American Express Travel Guide, one Service Dog, seen it… MOVE ON!"

“Stalker” “Evil Spirit " Airways flight attendant turns to other flight attendants in the lobby:

“Well I was just being friendly.”

I couldn’t reply then but I will respond here:

Dear flight attendant,

We realized you were “off duty,” that’s why we didn’t ask you for any fluffy pillows, or snacks. Sorry our "off duty" sign is broken. We are only able to vend out unnecessary idle stranger chat a few hours at a time. 
You are totally clueless. Your conduct is scary. You lack listening skills, reading comprehension, and basic manners.

We are sorry you thought the words “Working Service Dog” meant “This way to the happy dog display.” We tried to let you know (several times) that our “airhead tolerance” was at an all-time low.

We are sorry you were not impressed by any of our education efforts. You left a lasting impression upon us, and we will never fly Spirit Airways.

PS. Does your employer know you act like that when your wearing your uniform in public?  Your conduct at the very least was rude and under some conditions could have caused injury to myself or the dog. Nice branding Spirit Airways. Please allow me to design a tagline for you:

 "Spirit Airways home of clueless airheads."


Team Goodee is thankful for family, friends,  and professionals who get us through life from week to week.

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Please know when we are out and about we might have to say: “NOT NOW WE ARE WORKING!”

or if we are lucky…


Stay tuned we promise another Vacation blog is coming soon.


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