Okay, that is rather crass.
But seriously, it’s a curious phenomenon that I’ve observed in the almost two months I have had Cassius: animals provide a reason for people to say “hi”. On morning walks, two people with dogs almost naturally greet each other without thinking about it. None of the awkward “should I say something”-ness that often goes on between people in urban areas.
Sometimes people, even those without any noticeable differences, are just kind of awkward in public. That whole wanting to be friendly but not sure if they should. Add in disabilities or visible differences, and it gets even more problematic.
68 pounds of adorable yellow dog with a perpetually-wagging tail goes a long way to put them at ease.
It’s weird, because the act of having a service dog also definitively marks you as “different” – but I find that freeing, in some way. There’s no confusion, no intermediary between normal and not normal. And I think that puts people at ease in a way. It takes the burden off of them to figure out what’s going on.
So I won’t say that getting a dog is the key to any sort of isolation that people with disabilities experience (since dogs and humans are very different, and while dogs are great… they won’t replace human relationships!), but at least for me, I love how my dog makes me feel just a bit more connected to the people I encounter.