Me: Hey Jerk, wanna come with me today and try being a service dog again? Gunnar: F*ck yes. I don’t know why you quit taking me in the first place. I’m amazing and my adoring public need me.
Me: Sure, dude. Whatever you say.
Me, thinking: Oh wow, Gunnar is doing really well. I should have thought of the bone sooner. Gunnar, thinking: Look at me! I’m the boss, everyone loves me. My mom’s just jealous and that’s why she doesn’t take me. Sad.
Strangers: Psst. Psst. Puppy look at me. Gunnar, thinking: You can’t touch this. Me, thinking: Oh no he’s gonna bark at them…
Stranger: Can I pet your dog? Gunnar, thinking: Seriously lady, I’m working Me: Sorry, he’s working right now, but thank you for asking.
Me: I can’t believe how well you just did! Gunnar: Duh, I’m amazing.
Me: I’m feeling super brave, wanna try Target? Gunnar: Why do you even ask when you know the answer?
Me: Just get in the car. Gunnar: Exactly
Me, thinking: Everything is perfect. Gunnar, thinking: She needed to be brave for this?
Me, thinking: This is great Gunnar, thinking: WTF! Headless mannequin:….
Gunnar: Ruff Ruff Ruff Gunnar, thinking: Mehm! That person doesn’t have a head to kiss or hands to pet me with! Is this hell? I’m in hell?!! But all dogs go to heaven?! I’m so sorry for everything. I’ll never be bad dog again.
Me, thinking: Oh no…. (panic) Gunnar: Ruff Ruff Ruff
Me, panic thinking: Oh no…everyone will hate me and think he’s a fake service dog. What is he even barking at? People are staring. I shouldn’t have come. He’s annoying people and I’m ruining it for everyone with a service dog and no one will believe me and they will think I’m a fake. Am I a fake? Am I doing something bad? No. I have a drs. note. Owner trained service dogs are ok. He’s trained for my disability. He’s just not perfect.
Me, thinking: Omg. He’s never seen a mannequin Gunnar: Ruff Ruff Ruff
Me: Dude, relax. Let’s go sniff it. Gunnar: Are you nuts?
Me: That’s besides the point. Just sniff it. Gunnar: If you say so, but this is a bad idea.
Me: You’re a bad idea. Gunnar: Shhh. I’m saving you. Sniff sniff.
Target CSR: Hi! Can I help you?
Me, thinking: Crap. I’m going to jail.
Me: He’s a real service dog I promise. He’s just never seen a mannequin.
Target CSR: No worries. I just love dogs and heard him bark so wanted to say hi.
Me: Blah blah blah Target CSR: Blah blah blah
Target CSR: It’s fine, he’s being so good. Me: Oh yeah, Thanks. I just didn’t even think about the mannequins. I’m so sorry. Gunnar: Mehm, it’s fine. I saved us. Relax.
Me: wow. She was so nice and supportive. I don’t feel guilty or bad at all or like I need to stop bringing you until I’m not anxious again. Gunnar: Of course you should keep bringing me. I’m amazing.
Gunnar, thinking: No wonder she needed to be brave to go there. People with no heads…she’s lucky I was there to save her. Just another day on the job. What would she do without me?
I’ve been working on training Gunnar as my service dog for almost 2 years now. (It’s a long story.) I thought I could use my experience to raise awareness and hopefully, acceptance of owner trained service dogs and what the laws are. If you want to know more about service dogs check out
. this link