32-year-old Jenn Bethune is a mother, wife, blogger, Disney enthusiast, and pet stylist – who owns her own grooming salon down in Brandon, Florida. Jane is also a dog mom to several dogs, including Theodore, her trained service dog.
Theodore came into her life back in January 2018 and became a true lifesaver for her. Back in 2011, Bethune had witnessed her son Ethan die in a car accident as they were on their way to Disney World in order to celebrate his 7th birthday.
Bethune told Best Life, “A woman reached out to me because she needed to re-home her standard poodle, who was eight weeks old at the time. As soon as I held him in my arms, I had this undeniable connection with him. We’ve been best friends ever since.”
Bethune recently revealed in a powerful Instagram post– which has now gone viral – that not everyone she meets is convinced that Theodore is a service dog, as Bethune doesn’t have a visible disability.
During a recent trip to Disney World, Bethune received “rude comments” and “dirty looks” from strangers. While it’s sad, it’s nothing new for Bethune.
There was one father who scoffed, “Yeah right, that’s not a real service dog,” while another woman had the snide remark of, “Looks like anyone can put a vest on their dog and call it a service dog these days.”
Bethune wrote in her Instagram caption, “You judge me without even knowing me. Don’t I look fine? I look like I’ve got it all going for me. … You wouldn’t think anything could even be wrong with me.”
What people don’t know about Bethune, is that ever since Ethan’s death, she has struggled with both PTSD and panic attacks.
She wrote, “I see the image of my child being killed every day of my life for the last eight 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.”
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#waltdisneyworld was amazing today! This picture sums up the relationship that @topknotteddy and I have. God knew exactly what I needed when he sent me this pup. When I look into his eyes, I’m home. #servicedog #serviceDogsOfDisney #standardpoodle #epcot #PTSD #NotAllWoundsAreVisible
Her service dog Theodore is fully trained to help Bethune deal with her panic attacks. Theodore even has a knack for sensing them before they happen, and knows exactly what to do to make her feel better.
Bethune revealed, “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,”
Bethune further explained to Best Life, “Theodore gives me the confidence to know that no matter where I go, he’s got my back and I can do anything. If I have a panic attack, he’s going to be there to help me.”
While she does her best to ignore the snide remarks from strangers who don’t know what she’s been through, she admits that it still hurts to hear.
She revealed, “It typically happens a couple of times a day. I’ve learned to block most of them out, but it can be so upsetting to someone who has a service dog. It makes you embarrassed and ashamed of your disability.”
That is why Bethune chose to post her Instagram caption, and conclude it with, “you have no idea what someone has gone through and what they have lived. … You never know what disability someone has by looking at them on the outside.”
Very well said.