Talk:Vision Quest Stories

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I also have a service dog. My service dog tells me when I am going to get a migraine. He gives me a good half hour warning. After half an hour if the medicine has not taken effect, he constantly bugs me until I take more. My first service dog wore a harnass because the migraine could get so bad that I would need something to hang onto. Because he wore a harnass, I was often treated like I was blind. I would go to restaurants and not be offered a menu due to the assumption of vision impairment. When I applied for college, my future professors treated me similarly. Two of them, independantly, had dragged me to a chair and another one was concerned about my ability to take notes in class. I have also been offered a "reader," a student that would take notes and read written instructions, by the first teacher I had in college.

One thing to point out is that when my dog first wore a harnass, it was new to both me and my dog. At an aquarium, a curious child reached out a grabbed hold of the harnass. It is difficult for a guide dog to maneuver appropriately if someone other than his handler has hold of him. For me, I have difficulty with watching what is around me and knowing where my dog is in space and what he is doing. When I was cleaning up after my dog in one instance, I kept correcting him for doing something that I was unaware of. When I finally stood up, there was a woman with a small dog that were visiting my service dog and left when I turned around. Again, not a good idea with the visually impaired.

Having a working dog can be a wonderful thing. The handler interacts with more people, which minimizes the disability. I have a poodle working dog. I constantly hear comments like: "I've never seen a poodle as a service dog before", "That's a big poodle", or "What's it mixed with?". My instant thought when I hear, "I've never seen a poodle as a service dog before" is, "Have you ever seen a service dog before?". Poodles are brilliant dogs and, so I've heard, the standards are not very common. Because I have an invisible disability, I get constant questions about what my disability is and why I need a service dog.

First off, if you have an "invisible" disability, or one that you cannot "see" like migraines, versus a "visible" disability like being in a wheelchair, people think the dog is in training. Once you correct your audience that the dog is actually working, you get questions about your disability and why you need the assistance of a dog. Initially, most people talk about their disability and what the dog does. I did. But after a while, I got evasive and stopped answering the questions. What your disability is and what the dog does can be a personal topic. And people just don't need to know. The only two questions people are allowed to ask are: "Is it a service dog?", and "Are you disabled?" The rest is up to you to answer.