“I don’t mind which kind of assistance dog he is!“
Wow- I love this lady’s reaction and wish it was more common. Her remark finished with the words, ” What is important is that he is here to help you.”
While this heart warming response is so welcome it is rare. Most people are understanding when I explain and try to accommodate my needs but sadly there are all to many who appear to judge.
The conversation goes something like this…
” Why do you need to bring your dog with you? Is he a guide dog?”
Me: ” He is my Assistance dog and supports me with PTSD and mental health issues.”
” Oh, it is not as if you are completely dependant on him then!”
This piece of reasoning may be well meant- on at least one occasion the speaker was a friend who felt that their encouragement would break my dependence and somehow make me see that my condition could be overcome by ‘attitude of mind’.
The truth is more complex. Without his physical and emotional support leaving the house on some days would be impossible. With him – I make it through the door and although it is still difficult I am empowered by the knowledge that he is trained to identify my symptoms and prompt me to use strategies to prevent a full attack or guide me away it it is all too much.
However there is a more serious side. Many people still don’t seem to know that chronic depression can’t be compared to the feeling when a toe is stubbed or the local branch of KFC closes down. Thousands of people exist with most days clouded in a haze, unable to concentrate, numb ( which is preferable as emotions that break through are only ones of despair). Many live with daily suicidal feelings, aware that a relapse or trigger at a vulnerable time could be that last thing to finally push them over the edge.
So, if you know someone who might question the presence of an assistance dog, please pass on my message.
Yes they are necessary.
The sign in the reception of my local trust building says everything about the assistance animal role and it is my wish to see it become more prevelant:
‘Enabling dogs welcome here.’