This post is for
<"The Third Assistance Dog Blog Carnival">
This time around, the topic is "reactions."
To be honest, I didn't think I'd write for this carnival. The topic of the publics' "reactions" to the presence of assistance dogs in public places has been pretty well talked out, and I have nothing new to add. Then a conversation with a friend got me thinking.
My current assistance dog, Laveau, is a Doberman mix. People like to say she's mixed with lab, but personally, I don't see it and am leaning more toward hound of some kind. People frequently ask me, "What breed is she?" I reply, "Doberman mix." Then it starts...
"That is dangerous to have a Doberman out in public. Don't you know that Dobermans have a condition where their brains outgrow their skull? When this happens, they go crazy and start killing people."
If I had a dollar for every idiot who has spouted some form of this untruth, I could retire and live the high life with my crazy Doberman.
There is a disease where the brain can put pressure on the skull. It is called
This condition is most frequently found in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, although rarely can be found in other breeds. It is not normally found in Dobermans, however. The disease does not "make the dog go mad and start biting people."
But it never fails. If I give a presentation, at an elementary school, inevitably, some six-year-old will start spouting the "brain outgrows its skull" nonsense, and I have to explain that no, my dog will not suddenly start biting the heads off of random children.
I have even heard a well-known guide dog trainer talk about this same issue. She was explaining why Dobermans aren't used much as guides any more and out came that old reliable "brain out growing its skull" song and dance. Apparently, one of the ways a Doberman guide dog owner can tell if the dreaded condition is upon them is that the dog will begin spinning its handler in circles, usually in the middle of the street.
You will be relieved to know that Laveau has not started doing this, or maybe I just have such chronic and terrible vertigo that I don't notice because life is one giant circle for me, anyway.
I have fallen in love with the breed; the watchfulness, work ethic, easy-care coat, size, and Velcro tendencies make the Doberman an ideal breed for my service dog. This means that I'm probably going to be hardily sick of the reactions of the uneducated masses who are worried that my dog will see them as a two-legged snack.
Laveau makes up for all of the misinformed folks out there by being a devoted and careful worker. Hopefully, when people see her work and her calm demeanor, their reactions will change.