Service Dogs: What it's Really Like This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 2, 2012
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Do you know what it’s like to have a service dog? I do, and I wish I didn’t. Everyone thinks it’s so cool and cute that I get to take my dog everywhere with me. All they see is the dog. They don’t see the extra water I have to carry around for the dog, they don’t see the shoes I have to carry around for the dog, and they don’t see the food I have to carry around for the dog. The list of things I have to carry goes on and on. It’s like having a small child with me, except I have to pick up dog poop with a plastic bag anytime my dog has to potty while out in public. Not so cute now, huh?

Unfortunately, I have an incurable disease that I can’t handle on my own. I need a dog to survive. Think about that for a second. What would you think if your life depended on your dog? I’m no longer independent. I need a dog to live. Without my dog, I’d quite literally die. Everyone else tells me they wish they could take their dog everywhere with them, but why? Why can’t they just be happy that they don’t need their dog in order to survive? Why can’t they just be happy there’s nothing wrong with them?

Yes, I love my dog. I love her to death, and I’d love her just as much if she weren’t my service dog. While it is nice to be able to have her with me 24/7, just knowing I don’t have the option of going alone really bothers me. My freedom has been taken away. I’m an 18 year old. Most kids my age are free to go wherever they want, whenever they please. I’m not. I have to plan everything out so I know I’ll have enough supplies for my dog. I can’t even visit some friends’ houses because their parents have a rule against dogs in the house. I feel like I’m living in some kind of twisted confinement.

Don’t ever take your good health for granted, and don’t ever wish you could have a service dog.

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