Here are some of the things my service dog, Sky, does for me:
She makes me laugh.
She keeps me warm at night.
She makes me feel safe.
She’s the reason I take a long walk every day.
She gives me something and someone to think about every single day that’s not me or my troubles.
She teaches me new things all the time. She inspires me.
She helps me understand another species, how they think, how they move, what they care about. And this helps me to understand species I don’t live with, to know better how to observe and think about other creatures with whom we share our world, to understand that, like Sky, they feel and they contemplate.
She’s the best ice-breaker ever and so I get to talk to lots of interesting people. But only when I feel like it.
She gets smiles pointed our way. Lots of smiles.
She’s the best company ever and so despite having a disability, I don’t feel isolated or alone. She helps me to feel connected and a part of things.
She notices things I wouldn’t notice without her.
She makes me feel loved, no matter what a mess I am at the moment.
She’s always happy to engage with me, to play, to learn, to just be quietly together.
And none of these things are what make her a legal service dog. Not one.
According to the law, in order for a dog to be a legal service dog, her handler must have a disability and the dog must do something, on command, to help her person function, to enable her person to be as much as possible like everyone else. A service dog must give you back (some of) what your disability has taken away.
Yes, she does that, too.
Yes, I am immensely grateful for all of it. Good dog, Sky.