Woman ‘Feels Bad’ For Her Co-Worker’s Service Dog Because It’s Working ‘Overtime’

The uncomfortable situation isn't her fault or the dog's fault.

coworkers in an office with a dog Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Navigating office politics is a difficult task, even when people have the best intentions.

One worker wrote to the subreddit r/service_dogs, asking how to gently confront her office mate about his service dog’s behavior.

The woman ‘felt bad’ for her co-worker’s service dog because they’re working ‘overtime.’

She explained the delicate yet understandable situation between her co-worker, his dog, and herself, exclaiming, “I feel so bad!”


“My co-worker has a service dog for his PTSD,” she wrote. “I sit at the next desk, and I have c-ptsd and OCD.”

The woman shared that the service dog nudges her consistently, which is apparently the dog’s way of alerting on her for her mental health struggles.

@thunderboltdogs Here are some examples of tasks a #servicedog can perform for #ptsd ♬ Sure Thing (sped up) - Miguel

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Her concern has less to do with the dog’s actions and more to do with how the co-worker handles it.

“It's kind of embarrassing because my co-worker announces what's happening out loud to everyone within earshot,” she said.

Instead of redirecting the dog, the co-worker will say things like, “Somebody’s got a lot of anxiety in her body,” essentially sharing the tender details of her personal life with the rest of the workplace.

woman hugging service dog Susan B Sheldon / Shutterstock


“I feel even worse because his poor service dog is working double time because of desk placement,” she added, sharing that she’s in therapy and on medication but doesn’t know how to handle her co-worker’s unwanted attention.

Commenters validated her experience while reassuring her that the situation was neither her fault nor the service dog’s fault.

“The dog is doing [their] job,” one person wrote. They suggested having a direct, firm conversation with her co-worker, emphasizing how inappropriate it is to announce private medical information in a public space without consent.

They also advised the woman to document the issue and bring it to the attention of her boss and the HR department.

A person who has a service dog of their own offered their perspective, saying, “Your coworker should be controlling the dog… That is our responsibility under the laws.”


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They offered the woman soothing information, writing, “Nothing the dog does is your fault. The handler is the one responsible.”

A different person who also has a service dog shared their experience, saying that their dog often alerts on other people and reiterated that it’s the handler’s responsibility to manage the dog’s unwanted behavior.


“That dog should not be touching you without your or its handler's consent, and the fact that the handler seems to be brushing it off is a massive red flag,” they said. “Accidents happen, but they should be immediately corrected when they do and the handler should apologize.”

service dog Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

“Coming from first-hand experience, when my dog has alerted to someone besides me in the past, I discreetly ask them if they're okay and let them know the deal because their well-being is important to me,” they continued.


“The dog isn't working double time because of desk placement; she's working double time because her handler is failing her by not correcting unwanted behavior,” another commenter affirmed.

The woman shared that she doesn’t place blame on the dog, explaining, “It’s more the co-worker who triggers me.”

We've discussed my boundaries on other things, and yet he still pushes them,” she said.


From an outside perspective, it appears as though the woman made her needs clear, and her coworker chose to ignore her.

Everyone’s livelihood and well-being in the workplace should be placed at a premium, especially when it comes to mental health. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or exposed in any environment, especially one they have no choice but to show up to every day.

Asking for support is a step in the right direction. While going to her manager might feel pushy or confrontational, she deserves to feel safe. Sometimes, we have to have hard conversations, ones that make us feel vulnerable, in order to protect our peace of mind. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.