Miss Manners: I hate questions from strangers about my service dog | Barky Supplies Expert Tips

Miss Manners: I hate questions from strangers about my service dog

Dear Miss Manners: I have a disability that is not readily visible, and I have a service dog to help me navigate the world and go about my business. She is a small dog and suits my needs very well, but she’s not one of the classic breeds that people associate with service dogs.

When I enter a space that is not pet-friendly, I am often questioned about my dog. Of course, I have no problem clarifying that she is a service animal, but I do not wish to engage beyond that. I am often asked multiple follow-up questions, leading to the invasive question of what my disability is, exactly. It’s hard to explain, it’s really no one’s business, and I feel so flummoxed by the questioning that I often don’t want to go out at all (which defeats the very purpose of my having a service dog).

I would welcome any ideas about polite but firm conversation-ending phrases that I could deploy in these situations so I can just go about my business like everyone else.

There are plenty of nosy people quizzing strangers about things that are none of their business. But Miss Manners suspects that in this case, they are wondering if you are passing off a pet as a service animal, as one reads that some are doing.

So she suggests answering the implied question, rather than the one that was asked. “She’s a highly trained service dog,” you could say good-naturedly, “and part of her training is that she won’t discuss my medical condition with anyone but my doctor. I’m sure you understand.”

Dear Miss Manners: With the backlog of weddings due to covid-19, I’m wondering when the appropriate time is to send save-the-dates for a wedding in late winter/early spring.

Go right ahead. You can send those at any time — provided that both you and the recipients understand what a save-the-date card is and is not. It is a courteous alert to anyone who might want to attend the event but needs time to arrange travel and vacation days.

It is not an invitation. Therefore, it does not require a commitment to attend, which would not be reasonable so far in advance. But it does require a commitment on the part of the senders to follow up by issuing an invitation at the normal time: a few weeks in advance.

Miss Manners acknowledges that, during all that time, things can also change for the senders: The engagement could be broken, or the couple could elope. In that case, they need explain to date savers only that the wedding on that date has been called off.

What they can never, ever do is to go ahead with the wedding on the original date but decide to cut the guest list. There is no polite way to ask people to save a date and then say, “Never mind, we don’t want you after all.”

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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