Service dogs get a bad rep

Service dogs get a bad rep

Today I want to talk to you about service dogs.  Particularly those fake service dogs that you see in stores without a vest and running around on six-foot leashes while their owners are looking for the cheapest generic beer they can find.  And those little yappy ones that sit in the front of the cart and probably pee right where you’re about to put your groceries the next time you go in the store, It bugs me like you can’t believe.  Probably because I’m a service dog.  A real service dog.

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Tye and I’m J.R.’s autism service dog.  Ya, that’s right I’m a service dog that knows how to blog.  Earlier today me and the owner were talking about an idea for a blog post and he thought it was a good idea, but I asked him to let me handle this one.  Amazingly he said yes.  He doesn’t let anyone touch his computer, though he is OCD enough that he took some of those adult butt wipe things and wiped off my front paws before I touched the keyboard. But I digress.

The following quotes are pulled directly from the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) website.

A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals either. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. It does not matter if a person has a note from a doctor that states that the person has a disability and needs to have the animal for emotional support. A doctor’s letter does not turn an animal into a service animal.

Psychiatric Service Dog is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessen their effects. Tasks performed by psychiatric service animals may include reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks or room searches, or turning on lights for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interrupting self-mutilation by persons with dissociative identity disorders, and keeping disoriented individuals from danger.

 SSigDOG (sensory signal dogs or social signal dog) is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the handler to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the person to stop the movement (e.g., hand flapping).

 Seizure Response Dog is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. How the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance to sit down or move to a safe place.

What does that mean?  That means that the 90-pound pit bull on a six-foot leash who’s owner wasn’t paying a bit of attention to him while he attacked me last November and grabbed my throat inside a Walmart is NOT a service animal.  Nor is Muffy or whatever your little yappy dog’s name is that you carry in your purse or put in the front of the cart to presumably wiz where my owner may put his food.

Those are called pets and as you’ll see in the next quote, your pets need to stay at home.  Frankly, I don’t care how attached you are to your pet, because when you bring your pet into a store you lower my credibility as a specially trained service animal who always wears his service vest and who is properly controlled by my owner. 

I’ve heard people make comments to my owner, asking if he just bought the vest off Amazon so he could bring me into the store.  It offends him as an autistic individual and it offends me as a dog who was rescued from a shelter and trained for two years before being handed over to J.R.  People wouldn’t make those comments if so many people didn’t bring their pets into stores that don’t allow pets, but they do and so we, as legitimate service dogs, get a bad rep.

This is where everything breaks down and where the law needs to somehow be re-written and be changed. The fact is people lie.  They can pretend to be the holiest of people, but walk into a store with their precious little baby and they will lie their old asses off.

When a person with a service animal enters a public facility or place of public accommodation, the person cannot be asked about the nature or extent of his disability. Only two questions may be asked:

1. Is the animal required because of a disability?

2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

The reality is that J.R. rarely gets asked any questions, and generally only the first, but when he does, he truthfully answers yes. Can anyone tell me, please, what service an animal can perform, according to the terms in the fourth paragraph from the top that would be handled from the basket of a cart?  I’ll give you the answer to that question.  NONE!!!

I know I’ve ranted long enough and probably made my point, but let me conclude by saying this.  All of you people who go into stores and lie saying you have a service dog because of a disability should be ashamed of yourselves and frankly, you mock not only the legitimate service dogs but also the people with the legitimate disability who actually need them.  

When you’re in a store with your pet and you see a truly disabled person with a legitimate service dog, would you go up to them and flip them off?  Why not? That’s what you’re doing just by having your pet inside the store.  You’re telling that disabled person that you don’t care about them and their needs because you’re special and should be allowed to break the rules and bring your pet into a store.

You’re special all right.  A special kind of something that I know J.R. will probably edit if I put in here.  Please do all service dogs and all the disabled people who own them and truly need them, a favor and leave your pet at home.   Oh, and the next time you’re in a store with your precious little baby in a cart and someone with a legitimate service dog says something to you about it, don’t pop off about minding our own business because we are minding your own business. If you left your pet at home we wouldn’t have to say anything about you mocking us.

We’re following the rules and you’re an adult who can presumably read the signs that say no pets.  I guarantee the sign doesn’t mention, “Except for XXXXX.”

Thank you for letting me rant about this topic.  Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a bowl of grain free dog food sitting here and I’m hungry.  To all my legitimate service dog homies out there, thanks for all the work you do.  I sincerely mean that.  For all you posers and your loser owners, STAY HOME!


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