Jenn Bethune is a Disney blogger, mom, and pet groomer from Brandon, Florida. She recently opened up about a trip to Disney where she was subjected to harsh criticism from people thinking her service dog was ‘fake’.
Her trained service dog, Theodore, has been nothing but a lifesaver since coming into her life in January 2018.
Jenn was on the way to Disney World to celebrate her son’s 7th birthday when she witnessed her son, Ethan, die in a car accident in 2011.
“A woman reached out to me because she needed to re-home her standard poodle, who was eight weeks old at the time,” Bethune told Best Life. “As soon as I held him in my arms, I had this undeniable connection with him. We’ve been best friends ever since.”
On a recent trip to Disney World, she said wrote about strangers making “rude comments” and giving her “dirty looks”:
“This is to the rude person that said to their child (after their child said “look daddy, a service dog!”) “yeah right, that’s not a real service dog.” And to the woman who said “Looks like anyone can put a vest on their dog and call it a service dog these days.”
And to the many others who have given me rude comments and dirty looks. You judge me without even knowing me. Don’t I look fine? I look like I’ve got it all going for me.”
“My hair is perfectly curled, my makeup is flawless, and I’m cute as a button in my favorite Disney attire. You wouldn’t think anything could even be wrong with me. You see, not all disabilities are visible. I have PTSD from watching my 6-year-old son die right before my eyes in a car accident on our way to Disney for his 7th birthday.
I see the image of my child being killed every day of my life for the last 8 years. Every. Single. Day.”
“I have awful panic attacks that happen at random and I can’t predict them. I have terrible night terrors and severe anxiety. This Service Dog sitting next to me helps me stay calm and when a panic attack happens, he senses it. He immediately leans against me, I bend down to him, he puts his nose to my nose and he brings me back to reality without having to use seriously addictive medication. This Service Dog is my best friend. He makes me feel like I can conquer the world and gives me that confidence, just by being by my side.”
“Just because someone is different than you, doesn’t mean you need to be a complete asshole. You have no idea what someone has gone through and what they have lived. Instead of judging someone, maybe just be empathic to their situation and not make snide comments as they walk by. No, I don’t HAVE to explain myself, but I do it to maybe help someone else with a service dog that has gone through the same experiences of rude people that I have. And maybe, just maybe, those rude people will read this and realize how hurtful they truly are. Just remember, you never know what disability someone has by looking at them on the outside, so don’t be an asshole.”