You know you’re an assistance dog user when…
…you know what your dog’s poop looks like every day (or for blind dog users, they probably notice the consistency as they pick it up). I know it sounds sick, but it’s one of the easy ways to tell how your dog is doing, physically and emotionally.
…you expect to be licked in the face multiple times a day. As far as I know, few of us try to train our dogs not to do this, because it’s part of how they show affection within their pack. And we want them to think of us as their pack.
…you worry more over their gear than your own.
…you take long getting them ‘dressed’ than getting yourself dressed. (Yes, really. Especially if I have to put boots on him. We both hate putting boots on him.)
…you pay more than twice what most dog owners pay for dog food.
…you’re more careful about their mealtimes and pottytimes than you are about your own.
…you tolerate being sat on, stepped on, and run into without comment all the time. (hell, you expect it. Especially losing my footspace while sitting.)
…you get dog hair on everything and in everything, and not for lack of vacuuming.
…your most frequently used phrases are things like ‘He won’t bother you’ and ‘Don’t step on my dog’
…you’re used to children running around you and people skittering away from you.
…you give them more haircuts than you get for yourself.
…their nails are better kept than yours.
…you have more nicknames for them than for your significant other.
…you have more kinds of snacks for them than you do for yourself.
…you have had your dog compared to one ‘just like him!’ that is then described to look nothing like him.
And for those of us with long-haired service dogs –
…you have to give your dog a ‘special’ haircut. Routinely.