Seeing eye dog abuse?

As I sat on the subway train on the way home last night, I saw a blind man come aboard. He yells “Find seat” while pointing at a certain direction. He was being led by this sad looking, droopy eyed black Labrador. The dog is such a lovely creature and I wondered why he looked so sad and depressed. Then I saw his owner interact with him further.

The blind man was being abusive! Let me clarify, I don’t mean abusive in terms of him kicking and beating the dog, but he treated the dog very badly. His aggressive, impatient tone, his hostile commands, and the way he kind of pushed and shoved the dog under his legs, it was just really mean and uncalled for.

As I observed this piece of work, I felt my blood begin to boil. The dog looked up at me as he sensed I was looking at him, his expression was that of a truly depressed creature. I had wondered why this dog looked so sad, then I knew why. I felt really bad for this dog, he didn’t sign up for this abuse. It never once occurred to me that a seeing eye dog could end up with a bad owner. You would think that this disabled person would have the common decency to be good to his life helper.

sad service dog 2Since this happened I have been fighting with myself, wondering what could I have done differently to help this dog? The blind man was wearing loud headphones, and I didn’t think it would be prudent to attempt to make contact since he wouldn’t be able to see or hear me coming. But I had to write something about this because I was truly bothered by seeing this guy mistreating the creature he so heavily depends on. What a jerk!

If you have access to anyone that uses a seeing eye dog, or any of these organizations that train the dogs, please encourage them to teach the owners patience and ensure that they do not mistreat the dogs. These dogs cannot speak for themselves, but I could tell from the moment I saw him that something was wrong. I stayed out of it this time, but if our paths ever cross again, next time I may not be able to do so.

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