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Wedding Woes

Not the point, but your siblings suck.

Dear Prudence,

I attend a large university and am going into my third year. I love my school and have made really wonderful and supportive friends. However, I would love to find a romantic partner. I’m a straight woman, and I’ve been on a few dating apps and gone on many dates in the past couple of years, often with plenty of mutual interest, but my chronic illness and service dog make things complicated. He goes everywhere with me in order to detect if my medical condition is becoming dangerous and I need to take action. He makes me feel safe, is extremely well-behaved, and unless I’m in need of medical attention or we’re out walking, no one usually notices him.

I try to be up-front about my service dog, but I usually don’t bring him with me on first dates out of fear. My siblings sometimes feel uncomfortable with the dog and say that I’m “attracting too much attention,” so I fear that men I want to date will feel the same way. I usually mention my dog on first dates, and it’s almost never well-received. Sometimes guys say they’re allergic, which is legitimate, but sometimes they say they aren’t comfortable or that they’re not looking for a relationship with someone who needs a service dog. Some just say, “Oh … ” Others start asking a lot of intrusive questions about my medical condition and express reservations about dating someone with “constraints.” I don’t want to date an asshole who secretly hates my service dog and resents me for my chronic illness, but I’m tired of being completely shut down just because I have different physical needs than they do. How can I find people who don’t feel intimidated or weirded out by my service dog? Is there a way to bring it up that won’t make people jump into panic mode? Is there a way that I can respond to people who do express concern about my service dog and dating to make the situation more comfortable?

—Suddenly Dog-Shy

Re: Not the point, but your siblings suck.

  • In the nicest way, this sounds a bit like "Must Love Dogs" :)

    Maybe dating in school isn't a great idea, but they'll find someone who is a great match and willing to "look past" the service dog or love them both.
  • banana468 said:
    Can she add more information to her profile or seek out a different dating app?  I never used a dating app but could you say, "I'm a 25 year old woman who travels with my service dog Rufus."? 
    Yeah I’m a fan of putting all you can out there at first so they know from the get-go.

    ’cept my crazy.  The crazy doesn’t come out until at least date 5.
    I'm awkward, and I can't control when that comes out :P Full on awkward convo came out on date 1 with M - "so ... you were with your ex for almost 3yrs. What happened?" lmao
  • banana468 said:
    Can she add more information to her profile or seek out a different dating app?  I never used a dating app but could you say, "I'm a 25 year old woman who travels with my service dog Rufus."? 
    Yeah I’m a fan of putting all you can out there at first so they know from the get-go.

    ’cept my crazy.  The crazy doesn’t come out until at least date 5.
    @CharmedPam, Well played ;).

    I agree she should have a brief explanation in her profile.  Or mention it over the phone/text/chat before going on a date with someone.  If she's comfortable, I'd also mention the medical condition...maybe even on the profile...and what she can/can't do.

    That way, she's not wasting her time on people who won't accept her condition or service dog.

    I did a lot of online dating in my single days. I often saw people mention medical conditions, physical constraints they had, etc.  I remember on two different occasions, I had a guy I was talking to mention he had a disability that prevented him from driving.  Not to sound like a "mean girl", but that was a hard no both times.  Not necessarily a dealbreaker if they had lived closer.   But one of them lived 30-45 minutes away from me and the other one lived in Baton Rouge (60-90 minutes away).  No way I was going to do all the driving, if we hit it off.  I appreciated they told me before we went out, so we could both wish each other well and move right along.

    Wow! Her siblings are the worst.  Maybe it's a better idea to see her service dog and use that as an opportunity to thank their lucky, f**king stars they don't have a chronic medical condition and don't need one.

    As an aside for how god awful some people can be with someone's disability even over...hahahahaha...literally the tiniest thing, a syringe.  Throughout my life, I've had a few occasions where some complete stranger has commented negatively to me when I've taken an insulin shot.  Even in a women's bathroom of all places, which is almost as private as it can be!  The whole thing takes less than 30 seconds and the shot itself takes less than 10.  I do try to do it on the hip that is near the wall and on the other side of people.  I'm normally a pretty mild-mannered and mellow person, but my response is typically a super sarcastic, "Am I supposed to be sorry my disability bothers you?  F**k off."  (If there are children in the restroom, I use less offensive language)
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  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Instead of Dating Apps, how about getting involved in areas where people who aren't going to be weirded out by a Service Dog typically are on a volunteer basis.  Also, LW, you're still in school, live life for a while sans relationships, you're still young!
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  • Yeah the siblings are the worst because they’re making LW feel self-conscious while they should be making her feel comfortable. 

    I agree that people shouldn’t be so terrible but they are. I think your bring Rufus and straight up act like he’s just a part of your life, because he is. If people can’t handle it then they don’t deserve your time or attention. It sucks you have to find out this way that these are garbage people, but sometimes that’s dating. 
    mrsconn23
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited June 6
    mrsconn23 said:
    It sounds like she has a service dog for a condition like diabetes, syncope, epilepsy, or something along those lines.  Basically an invisible condition.  So she may have days/instances where she doesn't feel the dog is necessary. 

    I think it sucks that her siblings have made her sensitive or self-conscious about the dog and it's now impacted her dating life. They don't hand out service dogs like candy.  There's a lot that goes into getting one (it's $$$$ to train a dog to be a service dog...and some dogs fail at the training) and to get one covered by insurance, you need to have a lot of supporting information. 

    I wish she'd written more about the siblings and their objections to this dog. 

    Related: DefConn's classmate/boy scout pack member has a service dog.  I'm not a dog person at all and I adore this dog.  He's the sweetest thing ever.  So...fuck LW's siblings and guys she's been dating. Service dogs rock. 
    Oh yeah!  I've heard figures like $30K-$40K for a service dog and it usually is a war to get insurance to cover it.  Training is typically a year, depending on the condition they are being trained for.

    While I'd assume overall it is preferable to have an invisible medical condition, that can be a downside in other people not taking it seriously or believing it.  Maybe some of that is going on with her dates.

    I've also found a tremendous amount of ignorance in people even understanding what the word "disability" means, so that might be working against her also.  Even government agencies (sigh) can be so clueless with the meaning.  Words cannot describe how utterly appalling, pathetic and sad that is.  It seems like some people hear that someone has a disability and they assume that person is ON disability, ie can't work and could be very limited in what they can do.  When those are actually two very different things.  Many people with a disability can work and aren't necessarily limited in their activities.
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  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Some people also abuse the term for service dog which makes the situation even worse.   Your purse dog with a t shirt isn't a service dog if you aren't diagnosed as needing the dog to provide a service. 


    MissKittyDangershort+sassylevioosa
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    Some people also abuse the term for service dog which makes the situation even worse.   Your purse dog with a t shirt isn't a service dog if you aren't diagnosed as needing the dog to provide a service. 


    Yes, 'emotional support' animals are often mistaken for and/or their owners mislead people to believe that the dog (or peacock?) is a qualified service animal.

    This LW seems to have a condition where the dog is attuned to her needs and is there to alert her before her condition becomes dangerous to her. 
    STARMOON44short+sassyMesmrEwekerbohl
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    mrsconn23 said:
    banana468 said:
    Some people also abuse the term for service dog which makes the situation even worse.   Your purse dog with a t shirt isn't a service dog if you aren't diagnosed as needing the dog to provide a service. 


    Yes, 'emotional support' animals are often mistaken for and/or their owners mislead people to believe that the dog (or peacock?) is a qualified service animal.

    This LW seems to have a condition where the dog is attuned to her needs and is there to alert her before her condition becomes dangerous to her. 
    Exactly.

    And even in some situations my understanding is that you can have a very big need to have your emotional support animal as well.  They are a major help with PTSD in veterans.

    I immediately thought of a seizure disorder when I read the OP though.

    I wonder if the LW's siblings are ignorant enough to lump her situation into those who abuse the term. 
    MesmrEwecharlotte989875
  • mrsconn23 said:
    banana468 said:
    Some people also abuse the term for service dog which makes the situation even worse.   Your purse dog with a t shirt isn't a service dog if you aren't diagnosed as needing the dog to provide a service. 


    Yes, 'emotional support' animals are often mistaken for and/or their owners mislead people to believe that the dog (or peacock?) is a qualified service animal.

    This LW seems to have a condition where the dog is attuned to her needs and is there to alert her before her condition becomes dangerous to her. 
    These are some legal differences:

    Service animals have been trained to provide their owners assistance with a physical need.  They can only be a dog or a mini-horse.  They MUST be allowed everywhere, with only a few exceptions, ie "clean" rooms and surgical suites.

    Emotional support animals (ESA's) help their owners with issues like anxiety and PTSD. They can be any kind of animal.  They do NOT have to be allowed in most places.  It is at the business owner/person's discretion.  But some ESA owners will sure act like their animal has to be allowed everywhere.  Either out of their own ignorance or deceit.  However, ESA's do need to be allowed in places of lodging (hotels, motels, rentals) and air travel, though there are a number of exceptions in all of those industries.

    ------------------

    Quite frankly, I think the whole ESA thing has become a mess.  There are so many problems with it.  The animals do not need to be trained at all.  Not even obedience training.  It's easy for a person to get their animal classified as an ESA, even farm or wild animals.  Just a doctor or therapists note and there are all kinds of bs websites online that sell these "certificates".  I would guess nowadays, most people who claim their dogs are ESAs are lying about it in order to get their animal into a "no pets" rental.  Or avoid pet deposits/pet rent.  Or avoid the extra charge airlines have for an animal.

    And the sad part about that is there ARE people who legitimately need ESAs.  But when most people are scammers about it, the people who really do have this need are unfairly viewed as scammers also.
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  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    mrsconn23 said:
    banana468 said:
    Some people also abuse the term for service dog which makes the situation even worse.   Your purse dog with a t shirt isn't a service dog if you aren't diagnosed as needing the dog to provide a service. 


    Yes, 'emotional support' animals are often mistaken for and/or their owners mislead people to believe that the dog (or peacock?) is a qualified service animal.

    This LW seems to have a condition where the dog is attuned to her needs and is there to alert her before her condition becomes dangerous to her. 
    These are some legal differences:

    Service animals have been trained to provide their owners assistance with a physical need.  They can only be a dog or a mini-horse.  They MUST be allowed everywhere, with only a few exceptions, ie "clean" rooms and surgical suites.

    Emotional support animals (ESA's) help their owners with issues like anxiety and PTSD. They can be any kind of animal.  They do NOT have to be allowed in most places.  It is at the business owner/person's discretion.  But some ESA owners will sure act like their animal has to be allowed everywhere.  Either out of their own ignorance or deceit.  However, ESA's do need to be allowed in places of lodging (hotels, motels, rentals) and air travel, though there are a number of exceptions in all of those industries.

    ------------------

    Quite frankly, I think the whole ESA thing has become a mess.  There are so many problems with it.  The animals do not need to be trained at all.  Not even obedience training.  It's easy for a person to get their animal classified as an ESA, even farm or wild animals.  Just a doctor or therapists note and there are all kinds of bs websites online that sell these "certificates".  I would guess nowadays, most people who claim their dogs are ESAs are lying about it in order to get their animal into a "no pets" rental.  Or avoid pet deposits/pet rent.  Or avoid the extra charge airlines have for an animal.

    And the sad part about that is there ARE people who legitimately need ESAs.  But when most people are scammers about it, the people who really do have this need are unfairly viewed as scammers also.
    100% agree. My sister's 3 rotties are registered as ESAs because 95% of rentals around here won't allow the breed. Her boyfriend has a TBI but doesn't need an ESA, however that was the reason the paperwork then they applied.
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  • ei34ei34 member
    2500 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    short+sassy said:
    Quite frankly, I think the whole ESA thing has become a mess.  There are so many problems with it.  The animals do not need to be trained at all.  Not even obedience training.  It's easy for a person to get their animal classified as an ESA, even farm or wild animals.  Just a doctor or therapists note and there are all kinds of bs websites online that sell these "certificates".  I would guess nowadays, most people who claim their dogs are ESAs are lying about it in order to get their animal into a "no pets" rental.  Or avoid pet deposits/pet rent.  Or avoid the extra charge airlines have for an animal.

    And the sad part about that is there ARE people who legitimately need ESAs.  But when most people are scammers about it, the people who really do have this need are unfairly viewed as scammers also.
    ESAs have totally become a mess in my area.  In this past year I've been offered the same job by two different companies- going through an inventory/questionnaire with people who want their pet to be considered an ESA, writing official letters to their co-op board, employer, etc- one offered $80/hr and the other $100/hr so it was really hard to turn down :D but morally I couldn't (and didn't want to put my state counseling license in jeopardy).  It's too bogus and wrong that people who don't need service animals are now gaming the system. 
    And NYT Real Estate section pointed out a few months ago, what about the people who are afraid of/allergic to dogs and paid a lot of money to live in a pet-free building, just to see it slowly filling up with dogs?  Not right.

    Re the LW's scenario, I ditto @charlotte989875 , bring Rufus and share your reason, if people can;t handle that it's better to know upfront.  And BOO the siblings!
    short+sassycharlotte989875MesmrEwe



  • ------------------

    Quite frankly, I think the whole ESA thing has become a mess.  There are so many problems with it.  The animals do not need to be trained at all.  Not even obedience training.  It's easy for a person to get their animal classified as an ESA, even farm or wild animals.  Just a doctor or therapists note and there are all kinds of bs websites online that sell these "certificates".  I would guess nowadays, most people who claim their dogs are ESAs are lying about it in order to get their animal into a "no pets" rental.  Or avoid pet deposits/pet rent.  Or avoid the extra charge airlines have for an animal.

    And the sad part about that is there ARE people who legitimately need ESAs.  But when most people are scammers about it, the people who really do have this need are unfairly viewed as scammers also.
    100% agree. My sister's 3 rotties are registered as ESAs because 95% of rentals around here won't allow the breed. Her boyfriend has a TBI but doesn't need an ESA, however that was the reason the paperwork then they applied.
    That's because rotties are a restricted breed with most property insurance companies.  Not just rentals.  Homeowner policies too.  This can actually fall under an "exception".  I forget the exact legal phrasing, but a rental property owner does not have to make accommodations for a disability...whether it's an animal or something else...if it will be to their financial detriment.  And losing one's property insurance, or facing a higher premium, if a tenant has a rottie would usually qualify as a valid reason to deny the dog(s).

    In addition, property owners only need to allow ONE ESA per person living in the unit.  So your sister is lucky that either her landlord/lady doesn't know that or is fine with the rotties.

    ESAs are a common topic on a real estate investing board I frequent.  Yeesh, the outrageous stories I have heard.  Fortunately, I have not had one myself.  I've actually never had a potential tenant/tenant say they have an ESA.

    ---------------------------

    No offense to your sister, but it is crazy to me that any renter would have 3 dogs.  Of any breed.  But much less a breed they know is problematic for renting.  Yet, it never fails when I have a vacancy.  I get the calls/e-mails, "I'm really interested in your place but I have three pitbulls, is that going to be okay?"  I don't know why "3" seems to be the magic number, but it's almost always 3, lol.  One guy had 4 pitbulls.  Hard pass on it all.  Quite frankly, it would be a hard pass for three toy poodles or three cats.  Too many animals in one place for my comfort level.

    One guy tried to talk me into it because he assured me that his 3 pits stayed outside on chains and he didn't let them into the property.  I guess he thought that sounded more appealing as far as interior damage goes, but that was even more horrifying.  The kind of dogs that people keep on chains in a backyard aren't loving, happy, family pets.  They're usually guard/attack dogs who might attack anyone entering the property.  If I could make a hard no even harder, it would have been for that guy!

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