Do you realize that many disabled veterans say they feel invisible and alone because people do not know how to interact with them. They say their wheelchair or prosthetic is the only thing people see, thus avoiding eye contact and conversation. However, put a 100-pound ball of fur into the mix and people notice them and are even drawn to striking up a conversation with them, all because of their service dog.
Service dogs are invaluable to their human counterparts. They provide physical, emotional, and psychological support. The service dog also provides a way to break the ice for their owners making them feel more connected with the world around them.
So, what is the proper etiquette when approaching a service dog and their owner? Keep the following in mind the next time you’re out and enjoy your interaction with service dog!
Always speak to the owner first, not the dog. Acknowledging the person is a sign of respect and makes them feel valued and comfortable around you. You should always ask, is your dog working? Remember, these are working dogs that may be in the middle of a task or command. This also will let the owner know you understand the dogs responsibilities. If the dog is not working the owner will truly enjoy introducing you to their dog. If the owner denies your request, politely say that you understand and thank them before walking away.
Always ask permission before touching a service dog. Once introduced to the dog by the owner ask if you can touch the dog. The dog may need a command from their owner to be released from “work mode” in order to interact with other humans.
If you have your dog with you, do not let them approach a service dog without first speaking to the owner. Despite extensive training, meeting another dog may distract a service dog from taking care of its owner, and may lead to an altercation between the animals.
If a service dog approaches you alone, it means their owner is down and in need of help. Service dogs are trained not to jump or bark, so they may simply walk up to you or nudge you with their nose. Don’t get scared or nervous, simply follow the dog and be prepared to call for help!
Never, never information for interacting with service dogs.
* Never feed a service dog. They may be on a special diet.
* Never whistle or call the service dog away from its owner.
* Never touch a service dog’s owner. This may be interpreted as a threat.
Another year is ending; thank you for your friendship, support and loving Rover’s Rest Stop Kids! Please join us for free photos with Santa December 8 from 9:00 a.m. to noon in the Cottonwood Dance Room. You and 2 or 4 legged kids are welcome! Information 480-600-2828