A post about a man who said his friend’s diabetic alert dog (DAD) “wasn’t welcome” in his home has received a storm of criticism on Reddit.
In a post that has received 9,900 upvotes so far, user AITAThrowawya8 wrote that his friend recently got a DAD. This friend wants to bring the dog to the user’s house whenever he hosts hangouts and parties. But the poster said: “I’m not much of a dog person and really don’t want it at my house. It is a breed that sheds and I don’t want to have to deal with dog hair in my house.
“I told my friend that his dog wasn’t welcome. I offered to pay for a monitoring device he can use while at my house, but he didn’t take that offer well. He let me know he wasn’t happy and recently missed our Super Bowl get together. AITA [am I the a******]?” the user asked.
Over 37 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and in the past 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with it has more than doubled, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, last reviewed in July 2022.
A stock image shows a diabetic alert dog sitting at the heels of a person standing next to a diabetes kit. iStock / Getty Images Plus
With diabetes the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC, having an alert dog could be a lifesaver for some.
An August 2013 study conducted among people with Type 1 diabetes, published in the online journal PLOS One, found that “trained glycaemia alert dogs placed with clients living with diabetes afford significant improvements to owner well-being.”
After being placed with the alert dogs, all participants reported positive effects, such as “reduced paramedic call outs, decreased unconscious episodes and improved independence,” according to the study.
The study also said: “Owner-recorded data showed that dogs alerted their owners, with significant, though variable, accuracy at times of low and high blood sugar.”
The user in the Reddit post said: “I’ve spent the last 10 years in this house turning it into a place my friends, family and I could hang out…. My house is the preferred destination among everyone else. I have amenities that others don’t.”
He also said that his children regularly play in his yard and that he doesn’t want them to “encounter dog poop and pee.”
Nick Leighton, the host of the weekly etiquette podcast Were You Raised by Wolves?, told Newsweek: “The gracious host puts the health and safety of their guests over their need to vacuum.”
But “the main issue [in the Reddit post] is that the original poster appears to be confusing service animals with pets. Service animals are working animals, not pets,” he said.
Sharon Wachsler is a certified professional dog trainer and the owner of At Your Service Dog Training, which helps people with disabilities and their families to raise and train their service dog.
Addressing the Reddit post, Wachsler told Newsweek: “There is a lot of confusion about this topic and relevant issues that are not being addressed by the OP [the original poster] or many commenters.”
She said the reasons stated for not wanting the dog at his home indicate he “really doesn’t understand the behavioral and training requirements of a highly trained service animal.”
A well-trained DAD would be on a leash while “on duty,” settled quietly next to its handler’s feet on the floor, she said. It would “not be on furniture or inserting itself into social encounters.”
Wachsler continued: “I often say that a properly trained service dog should pass the ‘hidden dog test.’ This means that unless you are directly looking at the dog, you don’t know it’s there.”
As for peeing and pooping in the yard, Wachsler said: “We train service animals to relieve themselves on cue so that the handler knows its dog is ’empty’ before attending a long event.”
But if the dog needs to relieve itself during the home visit, the dog handler would clean up after the dog or take it to another part of the street to relieve itself.
As for dog hairs, this can be minimized greatly by either “asking the handler politely to do an extra brush-out of the dog before coming over” and/or putting down a towel or mat for the dog to lie on, she said.
Wachsler also said the poster doesn’t “need to be a dog person to allow his friend the dignity, independence and personhood of choosing how to deal with his chronic medical condition.
“Offering a different medical intervention shows a real lack of understanding of what it is to live with a chronic condition and how individual and life-altering the path of service dog partnership can be,” she said.
Several users on Reddit criticized the original poster for not allowing his friend to bring his service dog.
In a comment that got over 34,000 upvotes, user idreaminwords said: “YTA [you’re the a******]. You need to stop equating your friend’s service dog to pets. This is a medical assistance device. Would you tell someone they couldn’t bring their wheelchair because you didn’t want the wheels tracking dirt on your floor?”
User gumdope said: “Service dogs aren’t pets. They’re not gonna eat crumbs off the floor or jump on children. They’re working,” in a comment that got 1,200 upvotes.
In a comment that got 1,900 upvotes, user APerfectCircle0 said: “It doesn’t really make sense tbh. If the dog sheds that much then it would be on his friend’s clothes anyway. What about pet hair on other people’s clothes that visit? What about other ppl’s [people’s] kids? Are ppl allowed to eat inside? They might drop crumbs…”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.
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