The Online Service Dog Community

I have a friend that always reminds me that the internet brings out the worst in people. It allows them to say whatever to whomever without any repercussions because they are sitting in front of a computer. It’s no secret that there is a group of people that speak to others on the internet in ways that they would never talk to someone face to face. Other people are just plain assholes. There are other nice and helpful people as well, but unfortunately you have to take the bad with the good.

With all this in mind, and having experienced it first hand in a online communities, I ventured into the Service Dog Community on Facebook hoping to learn from others. Sometimes it just helps to know how others handled a situation or problem.

I never expected the community to be bordering on toxic. I don’t say that lightly. Some of the people act like it’s an elite social club and raking a newbie over the coals is just a hazing ritual. I have seen people ask simple questions only to get the third degree from some while others are just plain nasty to them. I have seen people pick fights with moderators when they were corrected for giving out false information. I have seen people leave the community in tears after being there a very short time.

Not only do you have to be disabled to have a service dog, but it seems as if you need a thick skin as well. This is sad really because we are all in the same boat, more or less, and need a little extra help in taking care of ourselves. You would think that those with service dogs would band together and help each other, but this isn’t always the case. Members of the community act like there is only one way to do things, and they nitpick everything. I swear some of these people could justify why a black dog makes a better service dog than a white one.

It’s ridiculous.

In the last week I have had two questions. The first came with a rather lengthy explanation about a less than supportive family member and how said family member acts like my dog is a family pet and is under-minding all the training that has been done and disrespecting my need for a service dog.  A few people commented on the post before a moderator closed it “for review”. Whatever that means. No one ever contacted me or whatever. I have no idea what a “review” is.

Earlier today I posted another question about allowed service dog behaviour because something seriously upset Pickles and set him to barking and going outside and guarding the door in typical Great Pyrenees fashion. I have heard a number of people say that a service dog should be totally non-reactive, even if someone breaks into the house. If this was going to be an issue I needed to know and get tips for curbing it. I discovered that my post had to wait for moderation (never seen that with anyone else) and the moderators decided when people were done commenting and said so. My take away from this is that I am probably not welcome in that group any longer. I reached out for help and now I have been shunned, at least by the moderation staff.

Yea, thanks for that.

I probably won’t be posting there again and only reading other people’s experiences. I don’t like being singled out as I have been with no reason given for it. Did people think I wouldn’t notice? Thing is, this seems pretty typical of the parts of the community and just serves to isolate people. So much for reaching out to a community that is supposed to be helpful. I am glad that I have other resources and supportive friends because some of the Facebook groups fail horribly at both support and providing information.

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