New Service Animal Law!!! What Do You Think?

by Spot on August 20, 2008

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The Department of Justice is reexamining the current Service Animal regulations that are part of the ADA. Here is the proposed law.

Subpart A-General


Service animal means any dog or other common domestic animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and assisting individuals, including those with cognitive disabilities, with navigation. The term service animal includes individually trained animals that do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, including psychiatric, cognitive, and mental disabilities. The term service animal does not include wild animals (including nonhuman primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including any breed of horse, miniature horse, pony, pig, or goat), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents. Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals.

What do you think about the changes? Would the new law affect you? Comments on the law have now been closed by the DOJ but we would love to know what you think Leave your comments below.

{ 3 trackbacks }

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{ 405 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Silverstar98121 08.21.08 at 10:08 am

This would definitely affect me. My dog is for my agoraphobia. I need her to get me out of the house and to help with panic attacks. This would seem to narrow the definition of service dog to the point where she would no longer qualify. I’m concerned about this. However, I have taught her some service dog tasks, not so much because I need her to do them as that it looks better.
She is getting old, and I will have to replace her soon. If this is the way it’s going to go, I will get a bigger dog, put a harness on it, and use it for mobility, ie, to get me out of chairs. Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels are too small for that.

2 Sherry 08.21.08 at 10:53 am

This would not effect me, I need and use my dog for balance and to pick things up for me. I do not like the the last part “Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals. ” many people need help with emotional well-being.

3 Silverstar98121 08.22.08 at 2:38 am

I guess I might add that I have physical as well as emotional disabilities. I need a walker to walk, and my apartment is too small to use it everywhere. A mobility dog might be the answer. I’m planning for when that happens.

4 guide PONY user 08.22.08 at 4:18 pm

I have a service animal.
I have two documented disabilities.
I am blind
I have epilepsy
I also have a mobility impairment which is arthritis

Due to these unpredictable/ihibiting conditions that have pernanently affected my life I have a service animal. It is domestic. It is not a dog, it is not a miniature pony. It is in fact 4 feet tall at the shoulder. I am 4 feet tall at the shoulder. It carries me wherever I go and tends to my disabilities exactly as a seeing eye /seizure/mobility alert dog do. This equine was individually trained to serve my needs.

A dog will not perform all the functions as completely as my current service animal. I would not live my life as fully nor independantly. My service pony is all i need. I am happy with her and she serves me very well. SHe is and has never been a danger to me or others. She is entirely faithful and dutiful.

Therefore I deeply protest/question this new supposed change in law to define an exact service animal. I have been lead to believe that equines, ALL equines will be removed from the preceeding law. In effect dismissing them as suitable service animals. The irrefyutable fact is that they DO service perfectly fine. Mine being no exception as for others.

What I propose is that the law simply be adjusted but allow for the disabled to do as they have, make their own judgements and decisions freely as they have at their discretion. Otherwise you people are the ones violating our rights when you dictate what animal may be used. You will in effect limit my quality if life in choose for me what I can or cant do, how far and fast I can travel, and if I can even travel at my own choosing.

Buses, taxis, service buses and even my own human support do NOT get me where and when I need/want to go at my choosing. My service pony accomodates my life in a pronounced manner. She fullfills my life more than they all do combioned.

What exactly will this law do with regards to equines and me personally.
If it does as I have been lead to believe, then I WILL fight this until I die.
And if I am given my “rights” back, I intend to have my pony formally accepted by the state of texas in which I reside. There arent even any schools here! And a school for guide dogs would not even be apropriate! Unless they can combine the duties of a seeing eye/seizure/mobility dog into ONE assessment course upon which to properly test my pony. She serves three of these major functions in my life! She doesnt do just one thing.

I’m a thoroughly pissed off and fearful disabled human being who thought I was protected and had my freedom.

So much for justice and freedom.
I can not help being a cripple

And I’ll damned if some shmuck tells me my pony isnt a service animal due to her species. Test her, watch her in action and you’ll see she does fine. She’s BEEN doing fine for 7 whole long years!

When humans are not there, what is left?
Even if they are where is my right to do what I please, how and when?
Thats the whole point of having a service animal FREEDOM.

5 Chris 08.24.08 at 3:54 am

I am sick and tired of every yahoo that thinks they can get away with bringing there family pet with them if they say it is to comfort them or make them feel secure. Give me a break. I don’t need to see bizzare freaky people holding their Chihuahua’s on a plane and holding us up from leaving because they feel they have the right to have their dog with them because they get nervous going out in public. Get over yourself. You almost can always pinpoint the culprits as they all look pretty much the same. Mid aged, way overweight, very homely, semi brain damaged, women. I could pick them out in a line up of 10 women. It’s sad. Oh, and a service pony!! Please, whats next? A service elephant, service snake, service snail, service ant, service parrot, service lion, service ant eater, get real!

6 Anonymous 08.24.08 at 6:41 am

I think the most important thing that those of us with a disability can do is not judge anyone else’s situation or need for help in the form of an animal. The world would be a far better place if we accept each other’s differences and struggles without assumptions and applaud the tenacity and strength it takes to find a way to make it work . . . whether it is with a dog or any other animal. I don’t know where I would be without my dear dog Buddy. I have multiple sclerosis and broke my back resulting in a spinal injury but I can still walk on good days. Looking at me on a good day you might not know what I deal with and how things can go downhill fast for me and my dog has saved me more than once. I would hate for someone to look at me and place judgement on my ability without talking with me.

7 Sally 08.24.08 at 7:36 am

It is not for anyone else to determine the need for a service animal. We must all accept each others’ differences. I have NEVER been held up at an airport or other place due to a service animal’s presence. “Mid aged, way overweight, very homely, semi brain damaged, women”- Chris what are you thinking? It seems these are the very people who DO need a service animal – get over YOURself- who do you think you are to ordain what they can and can’t do. Besides there is no such think as semi-brain-damage, there are levels of brain damage. I am one of these people. I am mid aged, overweight (can’t walk or exercise much since the accident), homely? Not really, but certainly not very pretty anymore, scars and weight and extended pain do that to you after a while. Brain injured too – short term menory problens, can’t get words etc. Still smart, high IQ etc. not that people like notice since you are so fast to judge and write off people. Think about how I, and these people get this way! Prior to my accident I was pretty, made about $100,000 a year and held a prestigious position in education. My service dog helps me with balance, protection and yes, comfort. She is a lifeline for me without her I am housebound. Can’t drive due to eye injury, must walk, need her help for that as well as protection since I live in a crappy part of town (who can afford to live in a good area on disability?) You’re an idiot Chris. If you had been through what I have been through you would be a groveling puddle of sap on the ground.

8 John 08.24.08 at 7:42 am

I have not been able find any place that explains this as you just did. I have a dog that is being trained and have not been able to identify the “legal” reason to justify my dog other than my physicain’s recommendation. I am pleased to see the law “expanding” to include my issues as I do not believe they were before.

Although I appear “normal and healthy” Abby is a great help to me during a seizure or when I need help walking. She needs to be appropriate in settings and is at that point. I wish people would understand that they have to leave service dogs alone … they are not “pets” while they are working.

9 Kris 08.24.08 at 8:38 am

This would effect my son greatly. He has autism and his dog helps to keep him calm and enables him to be able to go out into public places without the threat of meltdowns. My son is a teenager and without the dog there to calm him he would have to stay home for his safety and the safety of others. He also makes my son feel safe and has enhanced my son’s independence, for instance my son could not fall asleep in his own room without someone sitting with him. When the dog came he began to feel comfortable with the dog there and didn’t need to be with us as much. My son needs the dog and she is trained to calm him and to give him a more normal life. The only person who should decide whether a person needs a service animal is the person’s doctor, not our government. If a person’s doctor feels that a person needs a service animal in order to have a normal life, why should the government feel that they need to define who needs one and who doesn’t? Shouldn’t that decision be left to professionals who went through medical school and are familiar with the person’s disability? This law would effect us as we would no longer be allowed to keep our dog in our apartment if she were not a service animal so we would be forced to move, my son would no longer be able to function in public places and would be forced to stay home, and my son would lose a great deal of his independence. This is ridiculous.

10 Cindy 08.24.08 at 7:26 pm

My disability is MS and PTSD from military sexual trauma. It does not affect me. But it will affect many other people. But then again, I don’t see many people bringing horses into the malls or restaurants. All laughing aside. I think the DOJ needs to take a closer look at what animals are being used to help the disabled. I have heard of ferrets being used to help people with disabilities as well as small monkies.

As for the individual that has no mobility disability and planning on getting a harness for her dog and saying that her dog is for her mobility problem, don’t make things worse for those of us who have mobility problems. It is difficult enough to be able to get a dog inside a restaurant or mall then you come along and tell a tale about your mobility difficulty and you are lying?! Wait till you are permanently in a wheelchair and require a permanent catheter! MS is no fun and I have had it for over 20 years. I used to be extremely active! I wish I could be active again! I used to be in the USAF! I can’t be anymore! I would have retired with 30 years in 2004, but had to get out in 1988 because of my disability and lack of mobility! So, if you want to continue to lie about your mobility problems and remember those who are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan without their limbs then continue on with your lie. In fact, visit a local VA Medical Center and spend some time with those veterans and talk with them and ask them how they lost their limbs and who saved their lives!

Sorry, but I believe that if you can still get around without any problem, then do so. Too many of our men and women are being brought home and ignored and tossed aside again just like the Vietnam vets of old. No more!
I am a Vietnam Vet. A disabled Vietnam Vet.

11 Lorrie 08.24.08 at 8:42 pm

This new change would affect me greatly as the new law states “assisting an individual during a seizure” but my dog actually alerts my prior to my seizure and remains with me during my seizure. She does not “assist” me during my seizure. What can an animal or anyone do for someone “during” a seizure” They need to reword that for people like us!

A couple of years ago I was young (41) a little overweight, working a great job as a financial controller making 65K a year and had a series of small strokes. Over a period of time, I was able to recover physically from the strokes with some weakness, my speech is back to normal although sometimes the words don’t come to me to describe something and that is frustrating. My memory is really bad and I am plaqued by eplileptic seizures. I am unable to work in the financial field now with my word, memory issues and seizures. My service dog alerts me to my seizures prior to the actual seizure happening by at least 5 minutes. I think that she alerts me about 30 minutes most of the time, but the second alert is about 5 minutes before the actual seizure. This has given me back my life. I can now drive again and function as a normal person. As I said I am young. I live in Arizona where it is HOT. If this law goes into effect and I cannot take my seizure dog with me I could have a seizure somewhere in a public place and injure or kill myself if I am not alerted that I am going to have one. I already have alot of problems now taking my seizure dog with me as most people aren’t aware that the toy dogs can be seizure alert dogs. Most people are used to seeing the BIG dogs as service dogs.

12 Chris 08.25.08 at 2:29 am

I get what some of you are saying and yes some people more than need a service DOG. I still stand by the fact that I have met more than my share of people who during my dog training said “I’m going to put a vest on my dog so I can take him/her in the restaurant and shopping with me. I am sick of these fake people that think that because they are scared to open the door and go outside now somehow need to bring there friggin’ pet along with them. It’s a crazy world, but buck up and get out side, or on a plane with out your little scruffy! Trust me about 1/4 of the animals out there are for lame people that just want an excuse to bring there doggie with them. These are the same freaks that have there dog at the dinner table on a chair eating dinner with them. The same ones that can’t leave there dog at home alone for 10 minutes because they feel so guilty leaving scrappy because he whines. These are the same people that found the loop hole in the grey area of the ADA law and ordered a vest and now take Scrappy with him/her now as a companion because they have no boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or friends. Put you weiner dog down and get a life. Quit claiming you need a companion because you get scared to go outside. Now for those of you with any real condition, get your dog and yourself out and about and quit letting these loosers infringe on your rights. Pretty soon you are going to find harder laws as business’s are going to get tires of all these toy dogs coming in there shops and restaurants! Protect the rights of the real handicapped! Fight back to these overweight scared mental women and tell them to leave there litte Scrappy at home!

13 Shawn 08.25.08 at 10:27 am

I thought it was weird when the idea of a service dog was brought up to me… I have am OCD, PTSD. Part of my OCD makes me have anxiety and panic attacks just getting in my car (alone). The best part is I have 3 boys, 2 our autistic, and a hubby. So there are plenty of times I’m not alone and I don’t have to drive. Now when I’m alone, Padmé is there. She has proven herself plenty. 1 I took the wrong meds in confusion, she alerted my husband and I was taken to the hospital where she joined me, since my husband still had to deal with the boys… Unlike some we are military and most of the time family is to far to help. Padmé is not only help save my life, but she has saved others. Example: When I have been driving down the road and my anxiety attacks are coming on she will nuzzle me to pull over and wait it out. Before I almost cause a huge accident on I-95 slamming on my breaks cause when my attack happened I had no Idea where I was, where I was going, and what was going on around me.
Now I think I look normal, heck I think if you met me you would think I was normal. maybe a little shy or something but you would not know that at nights I don’t sleep without meds, that I almost jumped out of my car (while in motion with my kids still in it) because of a bug. My brain doesn’t work like others. She has flown on planes (She is a standard Poodle) and no one knew she was even there until they were getting off and saw us waiting to get off the plane. Because I was so highly medicated (fear of planes) she knew her job was to help my husband by keeping me following him and and letting him know when my anxiety was going up and needed more meds (long day on plane). On the side she even saved hubby from losing our youngest (4yr) autistic child when he wandered away. I don’t know where I or my family would be without her. Now is she “cool” yes, convenient No. I have to make sure she is clean and up to par when it comes to being in public and going to the clinic/hospital. So having a service animal is not a privilege, it is a necessity. Now, how the law can say I don’t need her and a Dr. say this will help you is beyond me. I do sit and think maybe we should have a license for the animal to where you go with your Dr. note and in return you carry a license to help the public with these over whelming Parris Hilton wannabes. I know a lot of people don’t like showing their Dr. Notes. I’m not sure I understand the reason. We have to show our license to drive a car. I had to do a lot of learning laws and regulations with my service dog same as I did to get a permit.
Now that I have really seen her abilities and as I said, at first I kind of thought the Dr. was a little off his rocker when he said this could help, (at that time I was afraid to leave my house alone, even to walk around the block). I am amazed at all the other animals that are used and can not say that I would be outraged to see them working. If there is one thing I have learned about Service animals is they are well trained for being in the public and also for not trying to be seen and not heard type deal. Actually Padmé is trained to jump away from someone who comes to pet her without asking (I hate crowds), now the secret is I just have to tell her to say Hi, but rarely (unless I’m around other disabled people) do I let her get petted. She never has shown aggression, but that jump scares kids and people away from bothering me. Anywhoo, I could go on and on about different ways she gets me through the day. I’m scared if this law goes through will I be stuck in my house, never able to drive??

14 Tamandra 08.26.08 at 1:23 am

Wow. Be careful when you start judging people, and saying “these people”. Everyone is an individual, and say “one quarter” or this many are this way. You see..or rather, you perceive people as doing something stupid to you, and suddenly it becomes “those people”. I know an advocate for Service Dog rights here, she uses yorkies in a front baby pack, for alerting her to her medical condition. These are legitimate dogs trained to mitigate her disability. The breed is of no consequence. It just so happens that *some* people try to bring in little dogs, when they’re faking it.

What about people who train their own dog, and the dog is not well behaved enough to be working in public? A little aggression? That’s just as bad, if not worse.
If someone truly is helped in their anxiety by an animal, then cool. But people are *claiming* to have this problem, and they’re totally fine, just selfish and self centered. And committing a crime.

I’ve had some bad access challenges lately. Mostly it’s out of ignorance of the law, not knowing that it’s legal to bring a non-certified dog with you. I’ve documented my experiences on my blog.

15 Gregory 09.14.08 at 4:09 pm

In America, where the culture itself seems designed to inspire multitudes to victim-hood, I have found it virtually impossible to keep pets out of the presumably “no pets allowed” hotel where I work. All a non-disabled pet owner has to do is conceive of himself as a victim in some form and of his pet as service animal to provide aid for that condition — that is, to know how to lie, first to himself, then to others (and this is taking the positive viewpoint toward these “victims”). You think this isn’t the case? Since I can’t ask for proof that an animal is a service animal nor even ask “In what way does this animal serve you?,” how can I know? As far as the question goes as to how the law should read, I would have to say, “Who cares?” since I’ll apparently never be in a position to see if it’s applicable to the person in front of me, anyway. I fail to understand why people with service animals can’t simply carry, and be prepared to present, adequate identification. Does a cop presume that a car parked in a handicapped zone without a placard MUST in fact be the car of a handicapped person? Is that what he’s thinking as he writes out the ticket?

I don’t believe that I am reading the law incorrectly as it presenty exists. It is what I’ve determined and what the General Manager of the hotel has determined. I wish I were wrong.

16 KORKY 09.14.08 at 7:47 pm

To “Chris”

How dare you judge persons with a disabilities as fat, brain-dead and the other offnsive adjectives you used. Walk a mile in the disabled persons shoes. There are plenty of adjectives which would adquetly describe you however they are too offensive to print on a public blog. You need to be educated, however it is evident it would probably be futal since you are certifibly “brain-dead.”

17 Rick in Waco 09.16.08 at 12:07 pm

Ok this is for Chris………….I am Diabetic, I take 5+ shots a day and check my BS 6 times a day. I am Insulin resistant, meaning my body does not use the insulin properly. I have a service dog named the Grand Duke of Waco aka Duke. Duke is a 100 lb. Rottie and I trained him myself to alert me when I am out of control with my BS. He has saved my life many times, due to the fact I can’t tell when I am having a problem.
Am I fat? Yes by maybe 15lbs. am I brain dead? No not yet I am a respiratory tech. and I work in a local hospital. Am I homely yeah I am, but I was born this way what is your excuse? I too was in the USAF and being a vet with a service dog has helped other vets get SD to help with their disabilities.
I have been training dogs now for over 30 years. Everything from security dogs to theripy dogs. Now service dogs are on my list, because I can’t pay $40,000 to $60,000 for a dog that may not like me or my not alert on me.
I am proud to have a dog that will work for me and I hope the DoJ does not change the law I know to many men and women who have PTST. They have the right to a SD too.
Thanks ya’ll for lettin’ me rant for awhile take care………….

18 Robin 09.17.08 at 3:00 pm

As someone who was just recently approved and given a service dog I can see how the law changes will hurt and affect a lot of people. I do think this is unfair in a lot of ways. I have Saint to aide and warn me in the time of seizures. He is so in tune to my needs he can sense the smallest seizure such as a absant seizure. The law should be left alone. I have not been anywhere to see the laws being abused by people. As long as we remain true to what the law states there should be no problems. To the person who said they would lie about mobility. My fear of you doing this is that it would give reason to why the law is being changed. Rather than lying take a stand
with the many other people who disagrre with this new law. I know I plan on making my opinions heard.

19 Pami 09.17.08 at 5:00 pm

My dog is a epipen responds dog also and they need to have same rights as a guide dog out in public. :lol:

20 Rick in Waco 09.17.08 at 9:14 pm

:idea: the ADA says a SD can be of any breed……… what if you have a yorkie or a Rottie like I do :shock: . They can both be trained to do a job. Some dogs do more than others. My SD keys on my high and low blood sugers, while doing that he wares a backpack with my glucose, insulin,needles, glcomiter, a spare lead(ya never know when one will brake) treats for him. and a muzzle because I respect poeple enough to have it.
The change in law will hurt more veterans than you know. Many of my brothers and sisters have PTSD(me included), and other problems that a psyc dog can and does help with.
I say stick by your guns and make them listin to us, start a petion I’ll sign it.

21 Robin 09.18.08 at 9:31 am

Hell ya Rick in Waco. I think that is what everyone here needs to do make our opinions heard. I think that is the only way anything is going to be accomplished. Not lying or changing our disabilities to suit the law. The law should suit us as we are. We not only need to stand for our rights, but the rights of our service animals. They have a job and love to do it. That atleast is the impression I get from my rottweiler SD Saint every time we put his vest on to leave the house. I have read enought opinions on here from diffrent people that there is enough of us to unite against our government and make it be heard. What do you think? Who is with me?

22 Kateryna 09.21.08 at 5:24 am

This narrowing of the law would eventually phase down to just dogs. I am not willing to work with dogs, as Small dogs frighten me and I am allergic to most dogs. My cat does anything i need of her, though as my disabilities progress I do have to teach her more and more. She is an avid learner, which, points out to me that more than just cats as alternatives to the dog issue should be accepted.

Perhaps we should do the million person roll, walk, and sit in at our local government office. I say local as most disabled persons cannot afford to travel to DC. We should set a day, a time, and have peaceful protest. If some of us cannot talk they can at least make their presence know.

Kat with the Cat


23 Sally 09.26.08 at 11:36 am

Not all working aimals are dogs I use a potbelly pig because I have asthma and can’t be around dogs. My potbell Pig were a red vest and one tab patches one each sides of vest that says service aimal and a stop sign please don’t pet patches on top of vest. I bought mine online at Pup’parel all you have to do is email the website and ask for this patch and let her know what color you want the tab patch print to be and the edge, background is white.
Please try this tab patch out, also you can even use this tab patch on dogs as well.
Let me know if other people use potbelly pig as a service animal.

24 Lee 10.15.08 at 2:56 pm

Its about time people talk about using other type of animals as service animals I have a monkey as my service animal. because I have problem using my hands. She were a scarf that says service animal on it, please don’t pet. A friend of mine told me go on line pup’parel will make the scarf for any type of working animal.

25 BOBBY 10.17.08 at 12:01 am

First I would like to say that chris, and the rest of the people who think a service dog doesnt help nor does it deter other responses, sure companions dogs are dogs that help a person who suffers from depression, or someone with PTSD who has been beaten by men to keep men away and protect them in a sense that they are able to stay strong in a situtation that would otherwise make them feel uncomfortable or the person who is bipolar and has episodes so close to eachother from from going off on your face, I would love to meet someone like you and for you to make the comment that you have made, its racism towards a person with a disability, you pretty much are saying that all cacausions, blacks, samoans which I know you would think twice ever confronting a somoan, lift your chin up and down, because chris isnt really a bad ass with rascism towards a somaon because thats where chris might have a panic attack and would eat his own words. probably shit on himself and I know for a fact that I have bipolar and ptsd and if I didnt have my dog, and you confront me, I probably face a lawsuit for cracking your gay ass forehead. Wake up they dont bother you they help with people with disabilities with possibliy cracking your forehead. Get life or a dog sounds to me you need one. For pysch yourself maybe to feel better about yourself or find way to think twice about how you say it.

26 Robin 10.17.08 at 10:23 am

WOW thnk you Bobby for saying so much of what is on everyones mind.
Well every1 sorry I have not posted in a while, but have been writing leters and speaking with officals about the law and it’s changes. I’ll be sending a petition around here localy. I’m hoping with enough signatures we can be heard.

27 Bonnie 10.29.08 at 9:03 am

Wel,l unless the government and insurance companies are willing to pay for a service animal and trained through an institution or licensed trainer and they provide lots of funding for more animals to be trained to fill the specially needs for different types of disabilities, then they should keep their fingers out of the pie.
There are many handicapped people that have had to train there own service animals to fit their own special needs, because of the waiting lists and costs.

28 GreatSD 10.30.08 at 1:27 pm

It seems most of you are misinformed about the current laws and the proposed laws. Emotional support animals are not service animals now and they won’t be with the new law. Only dogs who are trained to do tasks that mitigate the person’s actual disability (carrying stuff in a pack is not a task for somebody capable of carrying stuff in pockets, purses, rolling bags, backpacks, etc.; retrieving is not a task for somebody who has no trouble getting items, being lazy is not a disability; etc.) are service animals. Examples are singular tasks like retrieving and alerting as well as series of tasks like guide work and mobility work.

Nobody who has a legitimate service dog now (and there are people who call their pets and emotional support animals service dogs in error – I don’t mean them) will lose their right to it should the proposed laws become law. The proposed laws only clarify the law by giving more examples of tasks (which, like the current law, is just a list of examples, not a full list) and putting in black-and-white that a dogs’ presence for emotional support is not (nor has it ever been or intended to have been) a trained task/work that makes a dog a service dog.

Dogs that help with the person’s physical or mental disability by doing trained tasks/sets of tasks (work) are service dogs.

IDs for access are illegal because they discriminate. Nobody else is asked for ID/paperwork in order to walk into a store or restaurant. Driving is not an appropriate comparison (apples to oranges), as it is a privilege, not a right, and people can get to places without ever having a driver’s license. Handicapped parking permits are also not a comparison, as they are not needed to park the car in the parking lot, they are only needed for a few spaces. People without them can still park in the parking lot. If SD IDs were required, disabled people would not be able to enter places everybody else would (without them showing any ID) unless they showed the ID, which could easily be lost, stolen, ruined, or forgotten.

29 Edith 11.10.08 at 12:55 pm

Some States and some cities will let Emotional Support Dogs out in public as long as they have a service dog vest or scarf on and the right Emotional Support Dog or Emotional Assistiant Dog patch on. In Washington State the Governer office told me if a dog can do a tasks for a person they don’t care if ESD or EAD go out in public they have a doctors note. More then I can say about service dogs! These people don’t lie because they have a doctor note. Lots of people say they have a service dog but really it’s just a pet.
If they ask you is this a service dog and you says yes but its just a pet they will not do any thing about it. ESD and EAD need to have all basic down and Five tasks they must know by heart and be trained to ride the public bus. Read the ADA law on Service animal.
Do you want people that have a ESD or EAD to lie and just put a patch on that says service animal and then they would have kn0w problem taking them out in public.
Just remember at one type guide dogs were the only service dog allowed out in public, then came Hearing Dogs, serizure alert dogs ect.
Don’t just say no to these type of working dogs. If you want to see this law pass write your sentor, governer in your state and remind them at one time their was only Guide Dogs, Hearing dog allowed out in public then came other type of service dog, keep writing tell this law is pass.
Also in 2009 write the president and first lady also the vice president.
Write your local newspaperabout this! Call the TV news about this. Do what every it takes to get this law pass. PLEASE HELP US ALL OUT SO THIS LAW CAN GET PASS SOON!!

30 Katie 11.18.08 at 2:56 pm

I think that any animal can help any person. What about the people who have a fear of dogs that need the mobility? Anyone who thinks that service animals are ridiculous are just trying to pick a fight with people. It has been proven that animals help. I suffer from Depression, PTSD, panic disorder, and Cychlothymia among others. I have a ferret that I have fought for to live with me when I am going to college and now I am fighting for the ability to take it to classes with me. Slinky calms me down in stressful situations, including testing so having him there as I take a midterm or a final would be extremely beneficial. I think that an animal is an animal no matter how small and saying that dogs are the only animals that can provide a service is discriminatory and unfair.

31 Faith 11.22.08 at 12:21 pm




32 Rick in Waco 11.23.08 at 8:53 am

Hey ya’ll I have a quetion. Where in the ADA rule book does it say you must train your SD to do “5″ task and dial “911″ or “must have clicker training, or must never bark, or “must” have a patch on them? I guess I missed that part of the “LAW” when the ADA sent me the rules.
Don’t get me wrong I think a SD should know and do a much as they can handle. But the words “Must”, & “have to have” get my Irish up. So I post this with an open mind and ears. Talk to me poeple.

Rick in Waco
proud owner of a medical alert dog

33 Robin 11.23.08 at 10:13 am

I agree Rick in Waco. After reading many of the posts, I went through all the laws and registeries. There is some truth in “must” & “have to have” No it is not stated in the service dog laws. Where it is stated is in a couple of the registeries. A registery of your service dog is nice to have, but not required. I think people are quick to write what they have heard or read on some websites out of agravation. I don’t think they payed attention to it being a law, a persons own feeling, or even just the registry. this does not make it right nor am I standing up for that. I’m just trying to help wiith answers and a conclusion.
I hope people will do more research. I think education of service animals is important to those of us who have them. That way when ignorance of the laws and what a service animal is or does comes up, we can educate the people. We will get a lot further if we have facts, statistics, and actually know what we are talking about.

34 Gen 11.23.08 at 1:23 pm

Silverstar, this would not affect you. Th­e­ te­rm se­rvic­e­ an­imal in­c­lu­de­s in­dividu­ally­ train­e­d an­imals th­at do­ wo­rk o­r p­e­rfo­rm tasks fo­r th­e­ be­n­e­fit o­f in­dividu­als with­ disabilitie­s, in­c­lu­din­g p­sy­c­h­iatric­, c­o­gn­itive­, an­d me­n­tal disabilitie­s. You have a mental disability. You WILL BE OK.

35 Gen 11.23.08 at 1:26 pm

Chris, you must have low self esteem. Did you forget to look in your past for relatives with disablities? I have a purse dog. He has already this year alone saved my life twice. He kept me from dying. I am tall, slender and very told I am beautiful by millions of people. I am a star. But, wait you have a crystal ball that tells you who is disabled.

36 Helen 11.24.08 at 10:59 am

Katie, classrooms are one place neither the ADA nor the Fair Housing Act covers. The ADA covers “public accommodation,” i.e., any place the public may go. The public may go into school offices, but they do not go into school classrooms.

There is a very fierce legal battle that’s been going on for the last three years in New York between a young deaf boy and his family, and their school district, who won’t let them take his service dog to school. The school already supplies John Cave with two human assistants.

Many schools do allow dogs in classrooms, but generally it’s on a case-by-case basis, according to need, and according to state law.

37 Cebella 11.24.08 at 4:18 pm

First off:

Dear “Chris”,

I would like to tell you that I am a woman with a SD. I have a form of agoraphobia, but, that is not my main diagnosis. I have PTSD and an anxiety disorder that stems from a very serious car accident I was in when I was 11. I died 3 times (my heart flat-lined) and suffer from very horrific realistic nightmares that cause me to be an insomniac. According to my Psychiatrist and also the Psychiatric Disability Dog Society, I have a psychiatric disability. Not being able to leave my home due to fear of having a panic attack while driving or while at school (which eventually leads me into actually having a panic attack any way from being worked up) IS a impeding on a normal every day activity like, I don’t know, leaving my house. For you to just say, “buck up and get out there” …well, you’re an idiot. Maybe you really don’t have a disability and are just so unhappy in your own life… however, the point I am trying to make is, my PSD is an Italian Greyhound. He reminds me to take my medications in the morning and evenings, he alerts me when I am on the verge of a panic attack or if I start becoming anxious, and he grounds me when I am feeling disoriented and afraid. Just because he’s in a little package doesn’t mean he doesn’t do his job. It’s a-holes like you that breed hate and discrimination among the disabled community.


Any SD used for someone with Autism will still be covered under the law. That is considered a Psychiatric Disability. Do not fret or worry!

38 Tom 12.01.08 at 12:33 pm

Everybody says read the ADA law on service animals, but everybody should also read the ADI laws on service animal Training, this talks more in details about the laws and how to training them right before they can go out in public!
Also people DO NOT have to take the public access test for their service dog its not required under the laws! But basic training and potty training is before you can teach them the service dog or service animal tasks.

Please write your congress person and your local governer to see if the state can add more training places for your type of disablity and let them know also what type of breed of dog you would like to see them train only there. We don’t have enough training places in the united State for service dogs! That why lots of people self-train their own because the waiting list is so long and it cost a lot of money to get a full trained service dog, if there were more training places then the price on service dogs would go down.
Please write or email and help us all out!!!!!!

39 Helen 12.01.08 at 1:24 pm

Tom wrote:
“Also people DO NOT have to take the public access test for their service dog its not required under the laws! But basic training and potty training is before you can teach them the service dog or service animal tasks.”

Would you please quote the federal law that requires basic training and potty training? I am not aware of any such law.

This is not in the ADA, nor will it be in the revised ADA, nor is it in the Department of Justice’s proposed new definition of a service dog (which itself is not part of the ADA, nor is it a law. The new official definition has not yet been released, after public comments were accepted in August and September.)

New Proposed Service Animal Definition

Service animal means any dog or other common domestic animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and assisting individuals, including those with cognitive disabilities, with navigation. The term service animal includes individually trained animals that do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, including psychiatric, cognitive, and mental disabilities. The term service animal does not include wild animals (including nonhuman primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including any breed of horse, miniature horse, pony, pig, or goat), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents. Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals.

As to training standards, it is the responsibility of the individual, not a “law.” This is what was released by the Department of Justice, when it released the definition as above:

The Department has always required that service animals be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, but has never imposed any type of formal training requirements or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department does not believe such a modification would serve the array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals.

Detailed regulatory text changes and the Department’s response to public comments on these issues and others are discussed below in the definition section, § 36.104, and the section on modifications in policies, practices, and procedures, § 36.302(c).

Perhaps what you are referring to is the following, but again, it is not a law, a bill written by Congress and signed into law by the President, only a regulation (these are referred to as “the regs”):

Some commenters proposed behavior or training standards for the Department to adopt in its revised regulation, not only to remain in keeping with the requirement for individual training, but also on the basis that without training standards the public has no way to differentiate between untrained pets and service animals. Because of the variety of individual training that a service animal can receive–from formal licensing at an academy to individual training on how to respond to the onset of medical conditions, such as seizures–the Department is not inclined to establish a standard that all service animals must meet. While the Department does not plan to change the current policy of no formal training or certification requirements, some of the behavioral standards that it has proposed actually relate to suitability for public access, such as being housebroken and under the control of its handler.”

This is still a *proposed* change, and again has not yet been released in the current wording or with changes made. Again, comments on this and many other aspects of “the regs,” the definition, and other ADA items were invited during the summer, and the DOJ is taking its time on modifying these things before releasing them, which is very appropriate.

That being said, whether or not it IS a law, however, EVERY dog should of course be potty trained and have behavioral training before task training. It doesn’t need to be a law, it doesn’t even need to be a regulation. If you say you have a service dog, and you some day find yourself facing a judge, either on your own will or because of someone else’s decision, if your dog pees on the floor, barks, growls or bites someone, you’re going to have a reeallly hard time proving your case, whatever it is. A judge doesn’t need the regs to rule against you, or decide your dog doesn’t qualify as a service dog. If you train your own dog, that judge is going to want to see two things. A well-behaved dog that can do at least one task, and your training journal. If you’re smart, you’ll have both.

best, Helen

We have a three-branch government, and they all apply to us.
It is the legislative branch (congress) that writes the laws.
It is the executive branch (the president) that signs them into law.
It is the judicial branch (police, the Department of Justice, judges and the Supreme Court) interpret and enforce the laws.

40 Helen 12.05.08 at 3:37 pm

Regarding the definition of a service animal and other Department of Justice service animal rules, according to IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners), “the goal of the Disability Rights section is to come out with the Final Rule before the Bush administration leaves office at the end of the year.”

The definition and rules as they were proposed:
(Comments closed in August)

41 Robin 12.05.08 at 3:48 pm

I think you make a vey valid point in what you said.

I know that the waiting lists for service dogs can be miles long than when you are finally aproved the cost of one is outrageous.

This is why so many people are choosing to train their own animals. This is a very good option if done right. For those who are interested I have been researching the internet high and low for you. so far I don’t have any set web sites for you as my research is still udergoing as far as price locations and what services they can offer. Give me time and I will repost with any new info I can come up with. I know there has to be orginizations to help people who can’t afford training.

Maybe with the right information people will train their animals the propper way and there will be no need in the questioning of service animals.

42 Helen 12.05.08 at 4:05 pm

Just my opinion and no disrespect intended … training your own dog to save money — if you didn’t already know how to train dogs — ends up with one of three things. A washed out dog, a badly trained dog, or having to spend more money than you would have spent on a trainer or a program dog. It’s possible to train your own dog, but you do end up spending the money anyway, in most cases including my own, thousands. Many program dogs are placed at little or no cost.

43 Rick in Waco 12.05.08 at 5:22 pm

Ok folks is it just me but I think we are getting off track here. :lol: If you have already read what I have put down here then you know I trained my own SD.
I am not registered anyplace nor am I certifyed trianer (sorry about spelling)
but I was raised by a K-9 cop in St.Louis Mo. I started training in the 5th grade at my dads encoragement. I have trained a number of dogs for differant jobs……… bomb, drug, attack(shutzhound), security, theripy, and my newst challange has been my SD ” The Grand Duke Of Waco” aka Duke.
Duke is a diabetic Alert dog and has saved me a bunch of times. Also Duke is a 120# Rottie andhe carries my “man Purse” whitch is a back pack with all my stuff in it, and a muzle and spare lead. He carries his treats too. the back pack has service dog on both sides because I got tired of people saying he can’t be a SD. Well Duke has been to Nascar in Fort Worth Tx with 80,000 fans, no problems, not 1 thing went wrong.
I 2007 on veterans day here in Waco G.W. was invited to the American Legion post 121 to attent a memorial for fallen troops here in the area. One of the SS guys stepped on Duke when the Prez was at the mic.Dule yelped and jumped up and GW did too. But Duke was perfectand didn’t bite the SS man.
I guess what I am getting at is yes you can train your own dog but you have to be able too and you have to commit to it 100%. If you have any questions about how to do or trian somthing let me know here and we can work out a way to help. Thanks for letting me go on and on.
God Bless everyone and don’t forget to hug your dog they need them too…………..

44 Helen 12.05.08 at 7:11 pm

Rick wrote:
“One of the SS guys stepped on Duke when the Prez was at the mic. Duke yelped and jumped up and GW did too. But Duke was perfect
and didn’t bite the SS man.”

Way to go Duke! Sounds like you do a great job with him, Rick! Crowds of that size are hard on dogs even without being stepped on by strange men with sunglasses. :cool:

“I guess what I am getting at is yes you can train your own dog but you have to be able to and you have to commit to it 100%.”


45 Jessica 12.11.08 at 5:00 pm

I am trying to figure out if this law has already passed? Would someone please tell me. I was dropping a friend off at the trainstation the other day and the conductor said it had, but I can’t seem to find out for sure as nothing on the website has changed.
I have severe panic attacks and take my dog with me everywhere. She’s proven that she knows how to alert people and has even led me to a safe seat in a NY airport once. She’s little, only 7 lbs, and was at heal when I became confused. She took the leash in her mouth and led me to a chair, then began pacing back and forth and barking to attract attention. She even showed the man who came over where my meds were when I could not respond. That part I taught her but she’s never led me anywhere before. I currently take her everywhere with me especially if I go alone. I have a medical note for her that she assists me in the event of a severe panic attack. I am just not sure how I would get by without her. I am not agoraphobic and any number of things can set off a panic attack. I’ve had her for 2 1/2 years, trained her myself, other things she just does by instinct, and only two of the four things she does to help me can be done on command as I have not found a way to elicit the behavior she exhibits as I go into my panic state.
I fly with her, go on trains with her, take her to stores and have even been to outdoor music venues with her. I’m responsible, she is always clean, doesn’t bark except to alert others if I panic, does not approach other people in public, I do not see how the government has the right to tell us what we need. I don’t know if my panic attacks will be considered a disability anymore. I think proper medical identification for the need of our specific service animal would be plenty. For instance why can that pony, who’s been providing this service for her owner for 7 years, all of a sudden not qualify? Why can a man without use of his hands not have a small monkey to help him. Who has the right to tell ALL of us what we ALL can not need? It seems to me that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule and grouping us together when there are SO many different kinds and levels of disabilities that grouping us ALL together with such narrow perimeters is ineffective and UNJUST.
(By the way CHRIS, if you lived like I do, with no way to stop it, you’d understand. It’s not rational for me, I wish I could make itjust ‘go away’, and UNTIL you’ve live like any ONE of us with a disability – shut your trap! From my perspective, I hope you never have to stand as I have, in the shampoo isle at your grocery and become afraid for no reason. You feel like you can’t breathe and everyone is too close to you, like your in a bubble and you can’t get out. Like the room is filling up with water, HOT water, and your throat closes up and the room spins like someone just gave you IV grain alcohol and the person in front of you is talking but you can’t hear them, you can’t talk either, and the only communication you have with others is via your dog who can speak for you and direct someone in how to help you. If that time ever comes for you I hope that special dog WILL be there for you to make sure people around you know how to help you. However, until THAT time that you have NO CONTROL over feeling like that, and you KNOW first hand how that feels, you have no room to talk about ‘buck up and go outside’. Since you are not afraid like that, it makes no sense to you, I get that. I am trying not to hold that against you, but don’t go accusing us of something you know little but a second hand rendition of. Give some of us credit, we’re not just scaredy cats, we’re not whimps or cowards and we don’t CHOOSE this. It’s not FUN TIMES for us living with a disability, and you don’t have the right to judge us by expecting us to deal with things the way you can. Trust me if I could just ‘do it’ I would. I would give anything to be like you and be able to say something as neive as that. Please do not presume that I haven’t tried or don’t wish I could because I have and I do. Untill you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, don’t think they’re just like yours because they’re made out of the same cowhide.)

46 Helen 12.11.08 at 5:19 pm

Jessica wrote: I am trying to figure out if this law has already passed? Would someone please tell me.

(1) This is not a law. It is the Department of Justice’s definition of a service dog. But it will be the standard, and what judges use when they decide whether your dog is a service dog or not.

(2) No, the definitive wording of the new definition of a service dog, and the other DOJ regulations that pertain to service dogs, have not yet been released (public comments closed in August). IAADP said someone high in the department told them the official Final Rule will be released before President Bush leaves office at the end of the year.

Jessica, you have to start with you, because it doesn’t matter whether your dog is trained or not if you are not disabled according to the ADA. If you are on disability, then you would qualify. If not, you need to go back to the ADA and the definition of disability, and evaluate it from there (just because someone is still working or isn’t on disability doesn’t mean he doesn’t qualify as disabled according to the ADA). If you are disabled according to the ADA, THEN the judge looks at your dog. If your dog is trained to perform physical tasks that mediate your disability, then I promise you have nothing to worry about. Okay? :smile:

The new DOJ regs have really strong definitions for psychiatric service dogs (and they differentiate from emotional support animals) and the DOJ is *very* supportive of PSDs. As long as your dog does at least one strong physical task that you need to mediate your psychiatric disability, your dog qualifies as a PSD.

best, Helen

47 Helen 12.11.08 at 5:37 pm

“For instance why can that pony, who’s been providing this service for her owner for 7 years, all of a sudden not qualify?”

Almost certainly because of abuse of the system by the people with service pigs, service ferrets, service goats, service goldfish, service snakes … and one can only guess when it comes to the DOJ, but it was most probably pressure or other input from the Department of Transportation, who got tired of cleaning of pig and goat poop, and explaining to little old ladies why livestock can go in the cabin but her kitten cannot. There is nothing a horse can do that a dog cannot; which means that someone with a horse can do with a lesser accommodation which is much less intrusive upon the rights of others.

“Why can a man without use of his hands not have a small monkey to help him. ”

What’s to stop him? There’s nothing that says he can’t have a monkey in his house or apartment, and that will still be in the Fair Housing Act, which is all he needs. What no one REALLY needs is a monkey to go out into public accommodations, into restaurants, stores, and such, which is what the ADA is for.

Hope this helps.

best, Helen

48 Jessica 12.12.08 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for all your suggestions so far. I appreciate them. I am going to look up the Psychiatric Service Dog deffinition/perameters and get a bright pink harness for my dog. As far as my ID’s go I have a badge/tag, my badge states the ADA laws on the back and I always ask people who question me to read it so they know the law also. I DO find that this badge often eliminates problems right off the bat and sometimes avoids me having to answer questions. Helen I am sorry, and while I do agree with you on informing people, sometimes being stopped 5 times in one store is often too much for someone in a situation like mine. It starts to feel like interogation and can bring on an attack.
My medical documentation will have to be changed slightly but that is no problem, my doctor already said she would do it at my next visit at the end of the month. No, regualr public places can not ask you for medical proof or a letter BUT Airlines and Trains and Greyhound CAN. I will also be getting the patches you suggested and will contact Pup’parel about the specialty one with Panic Alert Dog on it and the life star in blue with instructions to not pet her. However it is almost impossible to not carry her in certain places. She almost always walks beside me, as in at the airport. But when I am shopping, as in the grocery or anywhere with shopping carts, too many people do not see her and other people’s shopping carts are a danger to her. She almost got run over 2 or 3 times before I began putting her in the childs seat in the cart. This is also helpfull to me as when I begin to panic she stands up and puts her paws on one of my hands. This little signal is often enough to stop the attack in it’s tracks, if not I at least am aware of it before it escelates into full blown PANIC. I can then make my way to someplace quiet to sit and take something if necessary. Other than that, and escelators, I do not pick her up and carry her around. She is VERY good at the heal and almost never needs correction. My attacks are so bad I often can not even pick her up and she has learned to jump onto me herself to calm me down or at least give me something to focus on other than PANIC. I welcome anymore input and advice that people can give.
Thank You All,

49 Helen 12.12.08 at 7:20 pm

By the way, Jessica, if you’re anxious because of the size of your dog, you should know that my Charlie is seven pounds. He is a long-coat chihuahua. Service dogs can be of any size, as long as they can learn and perform the tasks their handler requires. Public access will get much easier as you gain confidence. I find going to my local Walmart and introducing Charlie to all door monitors in advance helps a great deal; they’re all interested in hearing what he can do and he will demonstrate a task or two for them, which amuses them to no end.

There are three questions that any public accommodation is entitled to ask you. Those questions are:

1) Are you disabled?
2) Is this dog your service dog?
3) What trained tasks does your dog do?

You should practice the answers to those questions, as insufficient answers is the only legal basis for denial of entry available to public accommodations.

Police cannot enforce the ADA. If an establishment is refusing you entry, give them the ADA hotline number to call (it’s on the ADA cards). If that doesn’t help, if you are in a state where your state law supports service dogs, you could call the police for help. If you don’t know your state law, I could help you look it up. If you are in a state that doesn’t support medical service dogs (and many don’t), then you are only covered by the ADA, and your options would be more limited, probably to an investigation and lawsuit for discrimination.

50 Kat 12.12.08 at 11:51 pm

Instead of spending money on the laminated card, if that is too expensive for you or something along that line, please, print out a copy of the laws yourself off of the ADA website, I carry a copy of it in a USB memory card holder I keep on my service cat’s harness and have a back up on my husband’s keys.

51 Helen 12.13.08 at 12:01 am

Kat wrote:
Instead of spending money on the laminated card, if that is too expensive for you or something along that line, please, print out a copy of the laws yourself off of the ADA website, I carry a copy of it in a USB memory card holder I keep on my service cat’s harness and have a back up on my husband’s keys.

Sure … you can also laminate it yourself, at home or Fedex/Kinkos has an inexpensive laminating machine. Or you can print it up on thin card stock so you have something you can hand out. Having the ADA hotline number handy and in large text always helps.

800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

52 Helen 12.13.08 at 12:19 am

Jessica wrote:
My medical documentation will have to be changed slightly but that is no problem, my doctor already said she would do it at my next visit at the end of the month. No, regualr public places can not ask you for medical proof or a letter BUT Airlines and Trains and Greyhound CAN.

Jessica’s right, but actually this won’t go into effect until February of 2009. The Department of Transportation’s Final Rule has changed a few things for 2009, and one of those things is grouping PSDs in with ESAs, requiring doctors notes for psychiatric service dogs and ESAs. One might argue that we are not required to reveal our disability. However, DOT is not governed by the ADA. The doctor’s note must be on letterhead by your treating therapist or psychiatrist and must be dated within one year of travel. Again, this will not take effect until February. Also, at that time, handlers of ESAs and PSDs must call and give 48 hours notice ahead of the time of travel. 48 hours notice must also be given by any team for an 8-hour or longer flight, and there may be some vet requirements for long flights (because of … bathroom requirements).

Getting the doctor’s note now is smart.

best, Helen

53 Rick in Waco 12.14.08 at 1:15 am

Helen, I think you are right on all points but one and that is “3) What trained tasks does your dog do” :smile: The 1st two are right I know but I had some troble with a VA Hospital in Temple Tx. Where I was asked to show what my SD does for me. What I remember is that can not ask what your SD does.
I am going by The Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Technical Assistance Manual page 24-25 paragraph III-4.2300. Not anywhere in this did I see that. By the way you can get this from the US Gov for free, call the ADA and ask them to send it to ya.
Helen please don’t think of me as argumenative(sp) ’cause I ain’t LOL!

I don’t have a copy of the card ya’ll are talkin’ about if someone could send it to me I thank you…………. ………….that is me> I pray everyone has a safe and a wonderful Christmas.
God Bless and be safe.

54 Helen 12.14.08 at 4:05 am

Rick wrote:
“Helen, I think you are right on all points but one and that is “3) What trained tasks does your dog do. The 1st two are right I know but I had some troble with a VA Hospital in Temple Tx. Where I was asked to show what my SD does for me. What I remember is that can not ask what your SD does.”I am going by The Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Technical Assistance Manual page 24-25 paragraph III-4.2300. Not anywhere in this did I see that. By the way you can get this from the US Gov for free, call the ADA and ask them to send it to ya.”

Sorry, Rick, I’m not wrong; it’s in the Department of Justice’s ADA Business Brief, exactly what we’re talking about in this blog. It’s in title II, not title III. I posted the website above, or you can find it on the website under title II. The exact quote is:

“Businesses may ask if an animal is
a service animal or ask what tasks
the animal has been trained to
perform, but cannot require special
ID cards for the animal or ask
about the person’s disability.”

HOWEVER … that being said, remember this brief may change when the new Final Rule comes down at the beginning of the new year.

Feel free to be as argumentative as you want and tell me when I’m wrong. I teach this stuff to others, so I need to be on my toes. They cannot ever ask what your disability is, but they can ask what tasks your dog does. If you your dog’s tasks reveal your disability (such as seizure alerting, certain psychiatric tasks, etc., there is nothing wrong in saying “medical alert,” to protect your right to privacy.) I can help with particulars, if anyone needs help with this.

I’ll be happy to send you a copy of the card, Rick. I hope your holiday is wonderful as well.

*hugs* Helen

Helen please don’t think of me as argumenative(sp) ’cause I ain’t LOL!

55 Richard 12.15.08 at 6:27 pm

:razz: I think a change in this law would be crimminal. I have an emotional support service dog and since I have gotten him 2 years ago my life has changed for the betterment of my quality of life. I could not function without this gift from GOD. He is an intricate part of my family as are my sons.
Please I employ you NOT to change this Law.
My Emotional Support Service Dog has made me a better person with the many disablitites that I have.
Thank you…..

56 Helen 12.15.08 at 7:40 pm

Richard wrote:
Please I employ you NOT to change this Law.
My Emotional Support Service Dog has made me a better person with the many disablitites that I have.”

Public comment for this closed in August, so what’s done is done. However, there is no such thing as an emotional support service dog. Non-task-trained dogs cannot be legally taken into public places, (though emotional support animals may use public transportation with a doctor’s note.) This is not a change from the current law and is unlikely to change.

57 Jerry 01.01.09 at 11:24 am

I have read every comment and want to say this has been an enlightening experience. There has been some very good information about how to present yourself to store personnel and what kinds of information to show them. I think it’s important to educate the public in this way as it will make it easier for others that follow.

In my past I have trained many Service Dogs. I was there in the beginning and helped pioneer the industry. Most all of these were dogs trained to assist people who either used a manual wheelchair, power-chair or who were still ambulatory but needed assistance with balance, opening heavy doors and with dropped objects. Other types of service dogs were rare. I don’t have a problem with other types of service dogs. I guess the bottom line for me would be having a dog with no control or management problems in a public setting. These types of problems hurt everyone who uses a Service Dog in public.

As for other animals, the bottom line would be the same for them also, no control or management problems in a public setting. I personally though prefer working with dogs but to each his own. There has been a lot of great comments.
Thanks for sharing!

58 Jerry 01.02.09 at 9:39 am

As far as the law goes, I feel that the service dog industry will become more regulated as time goes on. In the end I feel that only schools or licensed individuals will be able to produce street/public certified service dogs. Regulations will tighten up. Just my point of view.


59 Kipluck 01.04.09 at 1:52 pm

I just wrote about this recently ( ) because of an article in the Times. I pray that these kinds of laws do NOT pass for the simple fact that service animals CAN help more than just the blind… and sometimes an animal besides a dog is better suited.

All these comments insulting those who use them… well, deserve no response. They are ignorant. But those who say “this is over” it is NOT because it is still being determined what are “tasks” and what counts as training, etc.

60 Helen 01.04.09 at 2:47 pm

First, this is not a law. It is a DOJ regulation that judges will use when they make rulings, and police will rely on, and public accommodations like stores and restaurants will use when they change their access codes. Kipluck, I do understand where you’re coming from. But praying that “these kinds of laws do not pass” is just not going to work. This regulation is already written and in the can. IAADP has already announced that the DOJ “Final Rule” (the final wording of the ADA Title II and Title III regulations) will be announced before Bush leaves office. That is 12 noon, January 20th, 2009. Public comment for all of them was way back in August.

About other species including miniature horses … I do agree with you on a case-by-case basis. However, this is the DOJ’s current take on it:

“When the regulations were promulgated in the early 1990s, the Department did not define the parameters of acceptable animal species, and few anticipated the variety of animals that would be used in the future, ranging from pigs and miniature horses to snakes and iguanas. One commenter suggested defining “animal” (in the context of service animals) or the parameters of species to reduce the confusion over whether a particular service animal is covered. One service dog organization commented that other species would be acceptable if those animals could meet the behavioral standards of trained service dogs. Other commenters asserted that there are certain animals (e.g., reptiles) that cannot be trained to do work or perform tasks, so these animals would not be covered. The Department has followed closely this particular issue (i.e., how many unusual animals are now claimed as service animals) and believes that this aspect of the regulation needs clarification.

To establish a practical and reasonable species parameter, the Department proposes to narrow the definition of acceptable animal species to “dog or other common domestic animal” by excluding the following animals: reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including horses, miniature horses, ponies, pigs, or goats), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents. Many commenters asserted that limiting the number of allowable species would help stop erosion of the public’s trust, which results in reduced access for many individuals with disabilities, despite the fact that they use trained service animals that adhere to high behavioral standards. The Department is compelled to take into account practical considerations of certain animals and contemplate their suitability in a variety of public contexts, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and performing arts venues.

In addition, the Department believes that it is necessary to eliminate from coverage all wild animals, whether born or bred in captivity or the wild. Some animals, such as nonhuman primates, pose a direct threat to safety based on behavior that can be aggressive and violent without notice or provocation. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) issued a position statement against the use of monkeys as service animals, stating, “[t]he AVMA does not support the use of nonhuman primates as assistance animals because of animal welfare concerns, the potential for serious injury and zoonotic (animal to human disease transmission) risks.” See AVMA position statement, Nonhuman Primates as Assistance Animals (2005), available at The potential for nonhuman primates to transmit dangerous diseases to humans has been documented in scientific journals. ”

The Department of Justice did invite comment on this as well as all the other issues. However, I read at least a thousand comments regarding service dogs, and while there were many hundreds regarding the other issues, only a very small fraction addressed the species issue … and I saw just as many if not more comments in favor of limiting the species. I am not saying I was in favor of limiting … I am just telling you what I saw in the portion of comments I read. Again, these comments were from August, the time for comments closed in August, and the Final Rule is due any time.

best, Helen

61 Helen 01.08.09 at 8:39 pm

A preliminary edition of the DOJ final rule was apparently leaked to the press. This is the new definition of service animal (pending the final rule), according to New York Times Magazine:

“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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, cannot be service animals.”

Provision is made for miniature horses: “reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability, if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the public accommodation’s goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.” It goes on to say “The miniature horse is not included in the definition of service animal, which is limited to dogs.”

Department of Justice explanation of ruling:
“Species limitations … The Department received many comments from individuals and organizations recommending species limitations. Several of these commenters asserted that limiting the number of allowable species would help stop erosion of the public’s trust, which has resulted in reduced access for many individuals with disabilities who use trained service animals that adhere to high behavioral standards. Several commenters suggested that other species would be acceptable if those animals could meet nationally recognized behavioral standards for trained service dogs. Other commenters asserted that certain species of animals (e.g., reptiles) cannot be trained to do work or perform tasks, so these animals would not be covered.

In the [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking], the Department used the term “common domestic animal” in the service animal definition and defined it to exclude reptiles, rabbits, farm animals (including horses, miniature horses, ponies, pigs, or goats), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents. However, the term “common domestic animal” is difficult to define with precision due to the increase in the number of domesticated species. Also, several state and local laws define a “domestic” animal as an animal that is not wild. As a consequence, the Department has decided to limit title III’s coverage of service animals to dogs, which are the most common service animals used by individuals with disabilities.

The Department is compelled to take into account the practical considerations of certain animals and to contemplate their suitability in a variety of public contexts, such as restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and performing arts venues, as well as suitability for urban environments. The Department agrees with commenters’ views that limiting the number and types of species recognized as service animals will provide greater predictability for public accommodations as well as added assurance of access for individuals with disabilities who use dogs as service animals.

Wild animals, monkeys, and other non-human primates. Numerous business entities endorsed a narrow definition of acceptable service animal species, and asserted that there are certain animals (e.g., reptiles) that cannot be trained to do work or perform tasks. Other commenters suggested that the Department should identify excluded animals, such as birds and llamas, in the final rule. Although one commenter noted that wild animals bred in captivity should be permitted to be service animals, the Department has decided to make clear that all wild animals, whether born or bred in captivity or in the wild, are eliminated from coverage as service animals. The Department believes that this approach reduces risks to health or safety attendant with wild animals. Some animals, such as certain nonhuman primates including certain monkeys, pose a direct threat; their behavior can be unpredictably aggressive and violent without notice or provocation. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) issued a position statement advising against the use of monkeys as service animals, stating that “[t]he AVMA does not support the use of nonhuman primates as assistance animals because of animal welfare concerns, and the potential for serious injury and zoonotic [animal to human disease transmission] risks.” See AVMA position statement, Nonhuman Primates as Assistance Animals (2005), available at

An organization that trains capuchin monkeys to provide in-home services to individuals with paraplegia and quadriplegia was in substantial agreement with the AVMA’s views but requested a limited recognition in the service animal definition for the capuchin monkeys it trains to provide assistance for persons with disabilities. The organization commented that its trained capuchin monkeys undergo scrupulous veterinary examinations to ensure that the animal poses no health risks, and are used by individuals with disabilities exclusively in their homes. The organization acknowledged that the capuchin monkeys it trains are not suitable necessarily for use in a place of public accommodation but noted that the monkeys may need to be used in circumstances that implicate title III coverage, e.g., in the event the owner or handler had to leave home due to an emergency, to visit a veterinarian, or for the initial delivery of the monkey to the individual with a disability.

This commenter argued that including capuchin monkeys under the service animal umbrella would make it easier for individuals with disabilities to obtain reasonable modifications of state and local licencing, health, and safety laws that would permit the use of these monkeys. The organization argued that this limited modification to the service animal definition was warranted in view of the services these monkeys perform, which enable many individuals with paraplegia and quadriplegia to live and function with increased independence.

The Department has considered the potential risks associated with the use of nonhuman primates as service animals in places of public accommodations as well as the information provided to the Department about the benefits that trained capuchin monkeys provide to certain individuals with disabilities and has determined that nonhuman primates, including monkeys, will not be recognized as service animals for purposes of this rule. However, state and local governments may be required to accommodate home use of such monkeys by individuals with disabilities as discussed in connection with § 35.136(a) of the final rule for title II.

Having considered all of the comments about which species should qualify as service animals under the ADA, the Department has decided to limit acceptable species to dogs.”

All of this information is unconfirmed by the DOJ; New York Times Magazine, author Rebecca Skloot, January 7, 2009

62 Melissa 01.13.09 at 4:07 am

My service dog is a chihuahua. She is an alert dog and rides in a front pack when I am out and about. I have a traumatic brain injury and am 13 years in recovery. She memorizes my home schedule. If she finds me off somewhere in a blank stare, she alerts until I snap out of it and return to my schedule. If I need assistance, she will go and get my husband. When we are out and about, she is able to give me 10-15 minutes warning if I am going to go unconscious. This allows us to get to a safe place to lay down before I crash and further injure myself, but she also allows me the freedom to go out and about without another person at my side. I wear signage: WORKING ALERT DOG – DO NOT DISTRACT, etc. My aggravation is that people ignore the signs and try to pet her, ask me endless questions about my injury and her training, and generally think we’re a walking Discovery Chanel / petting zoo. Instead of narrowing the law, why don’t they concentrate on enforcing the law. TRAIN employees a) not to distract service dogs; b) they are allowed to ask if I am disabled and if my dog is a service dog and that ALL; and c) unless we ask for assistance, please leave us alone to complete our errands! For those of us with grave need for alert dogs, time is usually ticking on our well time each day, and running errands is a mine field.

63 Helen 01.13.09 at 10:02 am

(1) alerting is a behavior, not a trained task. Alert dogs must have trained tasks trained AROUND the alert (fetching pills, fetching water, leading the handler to a safe place, fetching others, fetching blankets, dialing 911, etc.)

(2) no trained tasks can be done from a front pack, including fetching others. When you’re “out and about,” your dog is not working (within the definition of the law), sorry. Many of us believe that alerting should be included in the definition of working, but currently it is not.

The government is narrowing the laws to protect the public trust, mostly because of abuse of the system.

64 Dawn 01.26.09 at 12:48 am

I can’t help but wonder what, if any, true harm was done by all of these “system abusers”. Was there an actual negative outcome? Did these “posers” pose any real and present danger? Like … uh .. bite someone, act a fool and cause a ruckus? If that is found to be a significant issue, then I understand the desire of the “Truly disabled” person to keep the definition narrow and exclusive. If it is not found , then I propose we totally rework our attitudes about Dogs in nearly all places. Honestly, I fail to see this “Dogarmageddon” that people seem to feel will be inevitable if we simply allow people to take their dogs more places. I am without the ability to imagine a situation where a dog is in control and not me. So see, the real problem is NOT the dogs. Its the handlers. It’s all of us humans who are absolutely convinced that dogs have the power to devastate. So powerful that only a select few can manage to hang onto their “service dog” status from legislative session to legislative session. But it is for them ……. the few ….. the proud …….. “REAL service dogs” ….. all others are shunned ….. *sigh* What legitimate reason do we have to deny any human the right to be a great pack leader and fulfill the need of the most loyal of shadows, his DOG?
The follower stays with the leader…… and we can accommodate this need of dog … to truly be fulfilled as the calm follower of a leader who reciprocates … i.e. does all he can to keep the pack together as often as possible. I think im gonna get a bumper sticker that says “FREE THE PACK” .. heheheh .. sticky issue. By now you may have figured out that I would have a very Libertarian influenced opinion …… Just let people take their dogs more places unless true harm is done. And other common sense areas like …… hospitals or something. That would be heaven for me …..

65 Rick in Waco 01.26.09 at 7:45 am

Dawn I hava a question. Do you own a SD? If you do who trained it and what is his job? If you don;t have a SD then why come here lookin’ like you are having fun.
Heres a thought SD’s can and do save lives and they help kids. Thier is no limit to what a dog can except talk. Come to Waco Tx. Dawn Iand I will show you a well trained dog, who loves to work and learns everysay.
I learned long time ago that to truly understand someone, walk a mile in thier shoes. Please try it and let me know what it was like.
It might be an eye opener for both of us.

Thanks, Rick

66 Amber Kitty 02.07.09 at 7:08 pm

Helen, I belong to several service dog groups. While we all agree that alerting in general is not a “working” task as defined by the ADA, we (generally) do believe that is the dog (animal) continues to provide attention to the handler (ie, staying with the handler, not being distracted, etc) during the episode it would be considered “grounding” and therefore “work.” I am curious about your opinion on this? I would refer to an actual case about this, but I can’t seem to find it. Also, what of seizure dogs that stand over their handlers while they are seizing? I don’t know that I would call this a task, but I would certainly call it work.

For the record, I do have an SD, and he is a Chihuahua. Because he has health issues himself, we are training a new one who is much larger and will also be helping me with mobility issues.

67 Helen 02.07.09 at 7:34 pm

Hi Amber Kitty,
“providing attention” is not enough to be considered a task. What makes a task qualify under the definition of a service dog according to the DOJ/ADA is, simply, the word “training.” There are several things that have to come together. (1) You must have a disability that meets the ADA definition of disability. Always evaluate the handler first. (2) What tasks does the dog do, and do they specifically mitigate the ADA-qualifying disability or disabilities. And (3) the tasks MUST be trained.

“Grounding” is something altogether different than what you’re referring to. It is something psychiatric service dogs do, many times for people with PTSD.

Unfortunately, standing still and not being distracted is something most dogs learn in behavioral training, not task training (sit stays, down stays.) So it’s iffy as to whether it could be called a task. However, I do know one woman with seizure disorder with a very small chi seizure alert dog. The dog is trained to alert by jumping up and looking into her face (when she’s sitting), something she does at no other time, and she will stay there watching over my friend until the seizure has passed.

The key has to be training. You cannot take something the dog does naturally and announce that it is a trained task and therefore meets the criteria. There are SO MANY things a dog can be trained to do for seizure patients (fetch meds, water, pillows, fetch help, dial 911), that it’s really a cop-out to say that standing still qualifies as a dog’s only “trained task.”

My dog is a chihuahua also, and he carries meds, water, cell phone, etc. just fine. It just takes patience. Look up “clicker training” in google.

best, Helen

68 Amber Kitty 02.07.09 at 7:44 pm

So, then, what you’re saying is alerting is a task if it’s trained, even if it was originally an instinctual thing? Hmm…

And, I know the definitions and requirements for SDs. Like I said, we were discussing the definition of “work,” not trained tasks. I know what grounding is, but I don’t really know that I’d say it’s a trained task. It would, however, be characterise by what I mentioned — paying attention to the handler and not being distracted. Otherwise, you could say that any animal grounds you, even a completely untrained one.

But, what I meant about the “standing over” comment is this: not that it would be the only task trained, but whether it would be considered a task. The situation is one of the group members has seizures and is in the process of training a seizure response dog. She lives in a state with no SDiT access laws and therefore can’t go anywhere publically with her dog. The question came up because she has so far trained her dog to stand over her while she is seizing. So far, she hasn’t trained it to do anything else. So, would that be enough to qualify her for federal protection (providing of course that the dog is otherwise well behaved)?

*sigh* I tend to avoid these online posting things because I don’t explain myself well. I was genuinely intersted in your opinion, though, so if I am otherwise unclear, I will try to word it a little better.

69 Helen 02.07.09 at 8:00 pm

> So, then, what you’re saying is alerting is a task if it’s trained, even if it was originally an instinctual thing? Hmm…

NO … I did not say that. Alerting itself is instinctual. However with alert dogs, there are two ways to make them “legal” within the rules of the SD definition. (1) You can take the instinctual alert and built on it, as my friend did, ADDING TRAINING, which is the crucial part. That’s the “trained task.” Or (2) you can “chain” other tasks to the alert, such as fetching meds, water, help, phone, etc.

> And, I know the definitions and requirements for SDs. Like I said, we were discussing the definition of “work,” not trained tasks.

I would *never* put any faith in the “do work* part of the definition of service dog. It’s very controversial and subject to individual interpretation. Not yours, not mine, but the judge’s.

> I know what grounding is, but I don’t really know that I’d say it’s a trained task. It would, however, be characterise by what I mentioned — paying attention to the handler and not being distracted.

Even grounding is trained. I would argue that it is a task, but it does come under “do work.” But it is trained.

> Otherwise, you could say that any animal grounds you, even a completely untrained one.

So would a rock. Any judge will tell you that.

> But, what I meant about the “standing over” comment is this: not that it would be the only task trained, but whether it would be considered a task. The situation is one of the group members has seizures and is in the process of training a seizure response dog. She lives in a state with no SDiT access laws and therefore can’t go anywhere publically with her dog. The question came up because she has so far trained her dog to stand over her while she is seizing. So far, she hasn’t trained it to do anything else. So, would that be enough to qualify her for federal protection (providing of course that the dog is otherwise well behaved)?

Federal protection? Are you asking me should she graduate her dog to full service dog ADA status? *sigh* Gosh, Amber, I would really like to say yes (in my opinion), but I get the feeling this dog has not even had advanced behavioral training. The fines and penalties should something happen could be astronomical, and should a judge decide her dog is not a service dog, she may lose the right to ever have an SD again.

I wish you both the best, whatever you decide.

best, Helen

70 Aimi 02.08.09 at 2:23 pm

I have a SD that is an American Bulldog. She helps me when I have an Anxiety Attack and helps me go places that I would normally be afraid . She was recommended by my MD and my Counselor. I have her tag on her and my husband keeps a copy in his wallet . We were at Boone County Court house in WV. It was about 90 degrees out side and we had to get papers done in the Court house for our custody battle to get our sons from my husbands ex. The person at the security said( she my dog) could not come in . I explained she was a SD She said why is she a SD? I then explained and she said does that mean she will attack people if she sees you having an Anxiety attack? I explained no she comforts me and calms me down . I also explained i had MS and she helps me with things for that I showed her the Tag and she said no I could not come in with her . So we sat in a hot car for over an hour till my husband was done . I didnt know where I could put this but wanted you all to know. Beware of WV. they know nothing of SDs and Federal Laws

Aimi and her Hero Snow

71 Kat 02.08.09 at 5:16 pm

Aimi and Snow,

You can make a complaint with the ADA, try calling your mayor to see if they can connect you to the right people, their office should have at least an advisor for you to talk to. You might want to go to the ADA website and print out a copy of the law, there are many ways to obtain the information but when someone says no, you can show them the law and that helps a lot.
I am so sorry you ran into discrimination, but, they did commit a crime. You could also call the building supervisor and complain. The best thing you can do for yourself is try to calmly educate others. This is far from easy but, you have the support of others who have the same experiences.

72 Helen 02.08.09 at 5:34 pm

Aimi, I am really sorry you had to go through that. NO ONE has a right to ask what disability you have. There *are* certain places you don’t have a right to take service dogs, but courthouses are not one of them. (i.e., you do have the right to take a service dog.)

The woman had the right to ask IF you were disabled, IF your dog was a service dog, and what the dog does for you. There are ways to answer that last question without revealing your disabilities. I recommend writing a good answer to question #3 and practicing it in front of a mirror. You do have a right to privacy.

If this ever happens again, there is a number you can call. The ADA hotline is 800-514-0301 (TTY-800-0363).

Now, to file a complaint with the DOJ, email The Department of Justice has a whole army of ADA investigators who go out and investigate these things. They will talk to both parties, evaluate the matter and file a report with the Department of Justice. However, a civil suit is out of the question, as it is a government entity (i.e. a federal courthouse.) The complaint to the DOJ is your best bet.

Kat is exactly right. You really should go to the ADA website, do a search for “service dogs,” and print out the laws pertaining to us. If you don’t want to do that, you can buy very cool preprinted cards at sitstay. com and activedogs. com. They’re cardboard, pretty inexpensive, and will explain your rights. People react better when they have something to hold in their hands.

Good luck.


73 Robin 02.08.09 at 5:39 pm

I hate hearing anyone had to go through the discrimination of not being able to access a building. I know how this feels because where I live in Florida I was denied access to a store and even had a lawyer who over heard fighting for me. This is a trying and exhausting situation, but be strong and know you have support in so many places if you decide to prusue any action. I’m still going through the paper work for when it happened to me so it is also a long process just please don’t give up. It seems on here there are regulars who leave comments and I hope I’m not out of line speking for everyone here, but I’m sure we will all lend ears or eyes in this case for any advice we can offer to you. The comments that people leave have seemed to be very well researched and that they know the laws and are good people.

74 Aimi 02.08.09 at 7:00 pm

thank you so much We now live in TX. My hubby is in the Army . We cannot believe how ignorant these people are. I showed them her tag with the laws on the back . I really think they were afraid of her she is an American Bulldog and people mistake her for a Pitt bull because she is white and has a pink nose (she is deaf) we both have our disability but if not for her i would be house bound and now she is my life line to a whole new world , what a difference she has made i can now go to the store by myself all because a beautiful Deaf dog became my hero and protector . Again thank you for all your answers i will write out a complaint this eve . Aimi and her Hero Snow

75 Kat 02.08.09 at 7:11 pm

I realized something tonight,not everyone knows how to self advocate. I do not want to take any changes, so, I created a blog, and then I created a guide on some basic ways to try and advocate. They are not fool proof, because only fools seem immune.

Aimi, I am glad we could help you.

There is the post, if you have any resources to add, please email me or leave a comment. You will see a link for the blog we are on now too, but, I want more resources so we should make them right?

76 Minnesota 02.09.09 at 6:01 pm

I hope the law does change. I respect those that REALLY need a service dog but there are those out there that have abused the situation by their “comfort needs” and so on. Service animals used for comfort reasons tend not to be trained well. They put there snouts on counter tops of restaurants. I know of no REAL service dog that is so poorly trained as those for comfort reasons. Comfort animals are no more than glorified pets.

77 Kat 02.09.09 at 6:11 pm

Instead of changing the law to limit things like the potential to use a cat, why not just enforce the law as it is then? That is the biggest cause of discrimination in my area, no one enforces it. The cops side with the businesses and threaten to arrest you even if you hand them the law, and even when people who are discriminating note how well behaved my cat is, (none of the nose on the counter climbing on the food stuff) they comment on it, but continue to discriminate.

So why not educate, and enforce? Wouldn’t that be potentially better?

78 Rick in Waco 02.09.09 at 6:21 pm

:idea: Wow educate instead of litigate, thats a wonderful idea. Now if we could get the folks to learn what we are trying to teach them. Maybe it is just me but some folks are really bull headed. And that brings the Irish red neck outta me :evil: . But I still try LOL what do ya’ll think?

79 Kat 02.09.09 at 6:24 pm

Is that what it is when I reach the point when I tell my caregiver to sick them? He doesn’t mind the dog commands, he likes to say he is my human service animal. Great guy. Hmm so it is my Irish…

Educating saves someone else your pain. That is how I look at it when I am so tired i want to cry, or want to go home, or am ready to vomit from pain and some idiot tells me I have to explain my disability in order to buy a glass of water.
Do not give up Rick, someday, your educating, even when your Irish is up, will come back to you.


80 Aimi 02.09.09 at 8:15 pm

What exactly is a comfort Dog?

81 Robin 02.09.09 at 8:18 pm

A comfort dog is one that can provide you emotional support, but is not trained to do a siad task or work. These dogs or animals are not permitted by law as service animals. This means they can not enter public areas as service animals do. hope this answers your question.

82 Aimi 02.09.09 at 8:35 pm

So a MD saying i need a dog for anxiety attacks and fear of people is not a SD? She also does things for my MS . But if not she is a comfort dog? I could not leave the house shop for food I just stayed i the house getting more depressed and at times I was wishing for all to be over this was after a divorce and that coming just be fore I was told i had MS too . Snow brought me outside and has shown me a whole new life . this makes me sad for those that have no animal trained for this. She knows if i go into a deep depression she stays at my side till i can be ok. Since Snow these episodes are getting fewer and fewer. With the MS she helps with the balance and certain tasks that i could not do with out her. But WOW life with out her would be so empty my best friend and my hero is my Snow

83 Kat 02.09.09 at 8:37 pm

Right, this part of the law should be changed in my opinion b ecause a comfort animal, if properly trained, can be an asset. Snow counts as a Service Dog because she still does work for you physically, to make up for those limitations.

84 Helen 02.09.09 at 11:19 pm

Aimi, there are psychiatric service dogs, and there are emotional support animals (comfort dogs, or ESAs). ESAs or comfort animals are more for anxiety. Psychiatric service dogs must do PHYSICAL tasks that mitigate your disability (remind you to take medication, bring your medication, lead you home if you’re confused, bring you a cell phone, etc.)

The biggest question here is, what is your disability? Are you fully disabled because of psychiatric reasons? The biggest question … are you on full disability because of your MS? Whether or not you are on SSDI for MS is not totally relevant, because you must evaluate your disability according to the ADA. The definition of disability according to the ADA is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of your life activities. These would be seeing, eating, hearing, working, walking, taking care of yourself, etc. If you fit the definition for psychiatric but not MS, you cannot have a service dog that does comfort work for anxiety but tasks for mobility. Do you understand? Whatever tasks your dog does for you have to mitigate the disability you qualify for under the ADA.

Now … if you ARE legally disabled mobility-wise, then yes, you’re on the right road. There is one last question though. Are Snow’s balance tasks and other tasks genuine trained tasks? To qualify as trained tasks, they must not be something the dog does instinctively, or naturally. They must be something you train Snow to do.

I don’t ask these questions to give you the third degree. I do it to help prepare people for the time when they might find themselves in front of a judge. IT HAPPENS.

My best advice for people who are training their own service dogs is to start a training log. RIGHT NOW. And NOT on the computer, by hand. Get a ledger from a stationary store. Write all of your dog’s vet records, shot records, etc. in the front. Record every task you’re training in it. And record every date you train, and every task you train on that date.

If you EVER find yourself in front of a judge, he is going to want to see two things. An extremely-well-behaved, very-well-trained dog that can demonstrate at least one task in front of him, and your training journal (or a certificate of graduation from an accredited SD school.)

best, Helen

85 Dick 02.24.09 at 3:56 pm

We need a law pass were pitbulls can’t be a service dog every to many people out in public are affraid of these type of breeds of dogs. Just because you are disablity, don’t mean you should be able to use any type of breed of dog.
You should be happy that the United State let people self-train their own SD and not just get them from training places. It time handicap people stop just thinking about them self for once, think how other people feel, around that type of dog you will be using.

86 Kat 02.24.09 at 4:02 pm


The law dictates the behaviors allowed for service animals. Although Pitt Bulls and Rotties are known for their violence, you can train them and treat them properly and many people do not have any issues with them what so ever.

Most people with bonafide service animals put thought into their daily activities just to function. It is clear to me you have an opinion, and I disagree with it. I am fearful with many dogs, yet, some of the nicest dogs I have known have had Pitt Bull heredity.

I am also insulted that you insinuate that all handicapped people are selfish. Many of them are, many aren’t. Not all able bodied people are free from selfishness, therefore to attribute that as a component for all handicapped people is ridiculous.

Please do some research before you post, the law protects even service pitt bulls from discrimination based on fear. Some people even fear my six pound service cat, and although I cannot help their fear, I still do my utmost to accommodate their needs but not at the cost of my own function.



87 Rick in Waco 02.24.09 at 5:48 pm


To Dick,
ONG man are you for real? :roll: Are you by chance disabled? Do you have a SD? If so breed is it? What does it do for you? Let me tell you a little story………….My angel is a 120lb. Rottie and he is less agresive than a small dog.
As in none at all !!!!!!!!! He don’t even bark when he is workin’ but he does save my life on a regular bases’.
When i picked out Duke for my dog and then started to train him I WAS thinking of myself for 2 resions(sp) 1. I have to think about me and what I want and I didn’t want a Terrier……..2. YOU sir will not think of me or what dog would by best for me. So if I am selfish than so be it……just a guess I bet you are to………..about what I don’t know, but you are.
I a Pitt Bull can win contest in pull and such and no fighting than work that dog, most want to please their master anyway. My Rottie included, he lovs to work and does a great job!
Show me a man that ain’t selfish in something or another and I can call you a lier, ‘caues it is natueral to be that way. But right now I am sharing with you so you can understand us better.

Thanks to ya’ll for letting me rant again……….God Bless,
:arrow: Rick

88 Aimi 02.24.09 at 7:29 pm

All i can say is …. Stubby Pit bull mascot 102 inf div. in WWI saved lives of soldiers was awarded medals and is the most awarded dog in the Army.

Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thomas Edison, Woodrow Wilson, John Steinbeck, Helen Keller, and Fred Astaire all owned pit Bulls. Pits were known as Nanny dogs did you know that?
RCA mascot pit bull buster brown shoes pit bull, Petey from Little rascals pit Bull.
I have met Pits that are mean but that was because the dog was made to be that way by HUMANS . Chicago police have just recruited a Pit for Police service their first … Why? Because they were to sweet to be police Dogs.

People that make statements like yours are ignorant of the breed and are the ones who push BSL . My SD is a American bulldog mistaken for a Red nosed Pit because she is a deaf dog All white with a red nose. :twisted: So keep your BSL to yourself because if they do it to pits they will do it to ABs and all other Bully Breeds plus Rotts & Dobies . If someone is scared of my Bully then someone will be scared of someones Shepard then what? Thank you for my Rant to this post really angered me .

89 Helen 02.24.09 at 7:55 pm

Staffordshire terriers (pit bulls) are in a class of their own when it comes to service animals, and a middle ground *must* be adopted here. I see points from both sides being made here, good points. But one cannot say ALL pit bulls are suitable as service animals, nor should one say ALL pit bulls should be banned as being service animals. The truth is, this breed was bred as a fighting dog, and it has certain traits bred into it that simply must be trained out of it by a skilled and professional trainer–who is SURE these traits are gone or completely controlled–before dogs in this breed can be allowed into public accommodation on a daily basis. This is not a do-it-yourself SD breed … unless you train dogs for a living or on a daily basis.

My service dog has been attacked straight-on by a pit bull. It was only the fact that my dog was light enough to be pulled straight up by his leash and harness that saved his life. The other dog wasn’t a service dog … but even if I see a pit bull in a vest … I simply CANNOT assume that that dog has undergone training, or undergone the RIGHT training, or ENOUGH training. Do I wish that all pit bulls would be excluded from being service animals? No. I can’t wish away all the aggressive German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans of the world, so I take responsibility for keeping my dog and myself safe.

p.s. The City of Denver (an hour from here) has banned pit bulls in the city limits. Hundreds of dogs were put to sleep. Very sad.

Pit Bull “Service Dog” Kicked Off American River College Campus
Dog Seen as Threat

Sacramento, CA – American River College kicked a pit bull “seizure alert” dog off its campus. The pit bull had reportedly been aggressive with other dogs and the animal did not have a service dog certification. We’d like to point out that in the past 3 years, pit bulls have killed at least 2 people with seizure disorders. In both cases, the unwitnessed seizure was offered as the reason for the fatal attack. These victims include: Kelli Chapman and Brandon Coleman.

“A woman and the animal she calls her service dog were kicked off of the American River College campus over fears that the dog, a pit bull, is a threat to students. Pit bull Sebastian is Vannase Cary’s constant companion, and provides both protection and a half-hour warning before she suffers an epileptic seizure. Vannase loves him, but teachers and staff at American River College don’t feel the same way.

He’s reactive,” said ARC counselor Jennifer Scalzi. “He’s been aggressive with other dogs.” Vannase says she’s heartbroken that Sebastian was banned from campus, “even though he’s been certified through the county as a service animal,” she said. However, campus counselors say they weren’t able to find any certification for Sebastian. CBS13 contacted Sacramento County officials, who said there’s no county agency that regulates service dogs.

“There is no group that will certify a bully breed,” Vannase said, but pointed out the pit bull’s animal tag and regulatory number. The tag only means that Sebastian is a licensed dog in the county — he’s never even had any training as a service dog. “There’s always the possibility of getting her a real, certified service dog she can bring on campus,” Scalzi said. Until then, Vannase has a choice: class or Sebastian.”

90 Helen 02.24.09 at 8:07 pm

p.s. … re: the article I posted above (dated feb 5, 2009) this student didn’t help the rest of us (owner trainers) here either by allowing the campus to think that “certification” was the way they would judge whether a service dog was “legit.” Hopefully someone will enlighten campus officials as to the finer points of the ADA, that “certification” is not required, that “certification” and/or “registration” can be purchased online with a cool handy/dandy wallet card [with photo!] for $49.95 (or printed on your laser printer for cheap) and, best of all, just exactly how to legally judge a genuine service animal.

best, Helen

91 Lucille 02.25.09 at 7:59 pm

I have mixed opinions about using bully breeds for service work. 2 years ago I had a service dog that was a pitt/ rotti mix I affectoinatley told people he was a pitweiler. I recieved him from an agency in Florida. He was fully trained and didnt have an aggresive bone in his body. On the other hand a few months ago searching for a pet I came across the same breed mix as Blue my SD. After days of going to his kennel to interact with him he got aggressive. I agree that it is dependent on the personality of the individual animal not the breed. I have purchased many stickers shirts and more witha very true saying “punish the deed not the breed. We don’t ban people” Before making any service dog decison for self training or even a pet for that matter research your breed from a legitamite site then research and get to know the animal you bring home. Don’t just dump him/ her into a vest bought on the internet. Do yourpropper training and if you really want a good standard for being in public have them pass the AKC good citizen award before taking them in public for work.

92 john 03.05.09 at 9:12 am

i am a bipolar sociopath that makes me very unstable and sometimes dangerous and they say that cause my dog provides emotional support its no longer a service dog

93 Helen 03.05.09 at 9:59 am

If your dog provides *only* emotional support, it is an emotional support dog and not a service dog. If your dog is trained to do physical tasks, such as to remind you to take your medication, bring you your medication, to bring your cell phone in an emergency, and/or to lead you home when your disoriented, IN ADDITION to giving you emotional support, then it qualifies as a service dog.

But no, emotional support dogs are not service dogs and cannot accompany you in restaurants, stores, and other public accommodations.

94 Corrine 03.08.09 at 12:21 pm


I just wanted to make a comment in regards to you not qualifying with this new looked at regulations. You would still qualify with that disability, however your animals must specifically be trained to do a task that deals with your disorder. For instance, your dog knowing when to take you to a safe place during one of your attacks, or being able to warn another person when this is happening, would be considered a individualized task to your disability. You should check out the psychiatric service dog society website on the list of trainable tasks for your disorder, its a very helpful website. I am sure that if you end up getting a larger service animal for another disability that service animal could also be trained for psychiatric uses. I have quite of bit of experience with psychiatric service animals, so feel free to ask me any questions.

95 LifeBunny 03.10.09 at 9:19 pm

I have a Chihuahua SD who alerts me to my migraines before they happen and to lead me to a safe place to sit down.

I’ve already had people at one of the local grocery stores give me a hard time about her because they seem to think that a SD has to be a 45+ pound dog.

It can be so very frustrating.

96 Helen 03.10.09 at 9:24 pm

oh give me a break. Go sit with the asthma-alert dogs and the pain-alert dogs.

97 LifeBunny 03.10.09 at 9:34 pm

Tell you what, Helen. YOU get a nasty migraine that debilitates you to the point that you are throwing up from the pain and nearly blind from light and sound sensitivity and then get back to me.

My service dog lets me know that a migraine is coming on before the pain begins and gets me to take my meds before things fall apart because it’s too late.

98 Helen 03.10.09 at 9:43 pm

I’m sorry. It’s very hard for those of us who are totally disabled to see people with headache-alert chihuahuas and take them seriously. If your migraines qualify as a substantial life limitation, if they prevent you from eating, drinking, dressing yourself, working, or other major activities of daily living, then you would qualify as being disabled and THEN you can consider whether you should have a service dog. But evaluation of the disability comes first.

Most people with migraines are on prophylactic medications such as Inderal as well as emergency meds, so there are almost no people out there who are this disabled anymore.

Also, if your dog alerts you before the headache, why would you need him/her to lead you to a safe place? One would assume that you could walk before the headache hits.

I hope you and your headache-alert chihuahua “SD” do well.

99 Helen 03.10.09 at 9:46 pm

I have suffered from classic migraines from the day of my sixteenth birthday. I use medicine for them. If you have migraines, I commisserate — they are horrible — but I wish you wouldn’t use it as an excuse to take your puppy into public.

100 Kat 03.10.09 at 9:49 pm

We cannot judge other people’s pain. If someone has migraines, they might be untreatable. I do agree that you shouldn’t bring an animal that has not been trained and is not necessary with you and call it a service dog. That damages the relationships of disabled people.

I merely want to remind everyone who is posting here that belittling another disability is a disservice to you and everyone else. Judging pain is difficult and not knowing a person and relying on the internet’s anonymity is not an excuse for being cruel.

101 Helen 03.10.09 at 9:59 pm

You’re right. And there’s no excuse for faking being disabled. I’m sorry, but I calls em as I see them. That’s how I work. If that’s not allowed, please unsubsubscribe me.

It was real.

102 Helen 03.10.09 at 10:01 pm

and I have NEVER been anonymous; the times that I have tried to share my email address, I have been reprimanded.


103 Kat 03.10.09 at 10:05 pm

I am not a moderator on this blog Helen, I am merely a reader. I advocate for equality in many arenas, and, I also call it like I see it. Faking a disability is never appropriate, yet even young people in wheelchairs with serious injuries are falsley accused of such.

The anonymity of the internet is not about sharing a name or email address. It is instead about seeing the person you are talking to. You might not be able to see something about them because text is fairly generic. The shapes of our letters are all the same as we all, on this blog, are speaking the same language. You cannot see who you are talking to, and this often gives people an “excuse” to be extra cruel and to act as bullies.

I understand that you are upset, however, arguing over the validity of someone else’s disability, unless you are a qualified physician who has examined them, is not appropriate. Would you want someone to presume you were not disabled based on a lack of factual proof? I wouldn’t appreciate that.

104 LifeBunny 03.10.09 at 10:26 pm

Taking my dog with me is NOT an excuse to bring her along with me because I want to take her everywhere. She is a necessary part of my everyday life.

My migraines have eluded prophylactic treatment, and the meds I do take (Imitrex) only mitigate the pain, rather than erase it entirely. It would be nice if they did. My former employer seemed to think I could get them “fixed” so that I wouldn’t miss work, but ended up firing me because my migraines are hitting at a rate of at least two a week and nothing can apparently be done to make them go away completely. It certainly hasn’t been for lack of trying on my part.

I got my dog earlier this year because I needed help, since, unlike some migraine sufferers, I don’t get auras that could alert me before a migraine is going to hit. When I can take my meds before the migraine hits, it ends up not being quite as bad, but once the pain has started, taking my meds doesn’t work at all. Because of her, I’m able to work again and be a productive member of society.

When I have a migraine, even a dark room seems too bright, most sounds are unbearable and if things go on too long (even just a few hours), I start throwing up.

My dog makes it possible for me to know when something’s about to hit and to get my attention by jumping up and down to get me to take my Imitrex.

I’m sorry if what I go through doesn’t qualify as a disability in your eyes. I consider it to be one.

105 Helen 03.10.09 at 10:45 pm

My goodness … well said! I hereby apologize profusely. Way to stand up for yourself, Lifebunny.

According to the new 2009 ADA definition of disability, you would be considered disabled, as your disability would be judged without consideration of your mitigating factors. The factors that you migraines are without aura and are medication-resistent are also significant.

I do have a question, and it is not a criticism. Did you train your dog to do the alert, or did you train her to do any tasks? … it’s important … if not, I can help.

106 Helen 03.10.09 at 11:10 pm

… and Kat … you’re right, and I was wrong for jumping to conclusions. But I’m not just a reader. I’ve come to assume a leadership position in the service dog community over the last several years. I’ve contributed a LOT to this list. Information about the law, about the ADA … I’ve answered a lot of questions. It pains me that I hurt this nice lady. You see … I think the “half fakes” bother me even more than the “out and out” fakes. The people with asthma — who really do have asthma — who decide they can have a “service dog” because they have asthma.

I have been blessed by 24 years of severe migraine headaches and severe asthma IN ADDITION TO my own disability. I’ve done my share of puking my guts out and ER visits and sticking myself with Epi-Pens. It’s just those are illnesses I have. If you didn’t have auras, I can see that having a dog to alert you to a migraine would be a help … but most people get noises or flashing lights a half hour before a migraine hits. And I know for darn sure there’s one thing I would NEVER need, anyone telling me I’m having trouble breathing. It’s physiologically impossible for a dog to sense muscular tightening of the bronchioli fasther than you can feel it or hear the wheezing.

Charlie gets my inhaler for me when I ask. Is it one of his tasks? No, it doesn’t mitigate my disability. It’s an “accessory task,” like turning on the lights or helping me pick up. He’ll also fall over dead if I shoot him with my finger. And yet I see website after website selling “asthma-alert dog” patches. I’ve even seen “pain-alert” service dogs. Really. How could you not know you were having pain?

When do you suspend disbelief?

Again, I’m sorry I was wrong. I’m even sorry that I’ve become so jaded over the years seeing fake after fake that I have started jumping to conclusions. I wish I could say that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. But the truth is, not everyone does. PEOPLE LIE. I’m glad that wasn’t the case here. I’m glad I was wrong and had to eat crow. When I’m wrong, I say so.

best, Helen

107 LifeBunny 03.10.09 at 11:14 pm

No crow, Helen. I’m sure it has gotten more than a little old (and a lot dismaying) to see the fakers out there.

I looked for a service dog candidate for a long time and found Beth just before a migraine hit. I was sitting amidst a pile of puppies and she got right in my face and started licking me silly. I thought, cute dog, friendly. Isn’t that nice — and started home.

However, once the migraine hit (about halfway home on the 405S – not fun already, but pure hell when you have a migraine — it’s often been referred to as the 405 Parking Structure), I figured out what had happened. Once I had my clear thoughts back again, I went back and bought her.

After I brought her home, whenever she responded to whatever it is she smells before the migraine hits, I gave her lots of praise and treats. She even wakes me at night to let me know one’s coming on by jumping on my chest and licking me. If all things are good, she sleeps beside me like a tiny hairy rock.

Click training has been a godsend. I’m working with her to learn to get my meds for me now. I keep doses both in my bag and on a specific table at home that she can access.

It’s been quite the learning experience for the both of us.

108 Helen 03.10.09 at 11:27 pm

Bunny, clicker training is great. “Alerting” in and of itself is not a trained task. As long as you train her to get your meds, just leave the alert alone. It doesn’t have to be trained, as long as other tasks that mitigate the same disability are trained. My email address should be above. Email me if you have any questions about training. My Charlie fetches my medications every night … and he is a 7-pound chi.

If she can’t carry a medication bottle, I can show you how to attach a handle that she could easily pick up, and send you pictures via email. You can attach the handle to anything, water, cell-phone, anything.

109 Helen 03.10.09 at 11:30 pm
110 LifeBunny 03.10.09 at 11:31 pm

I would love to see what the handle looks like. It sounds like a great idea. Thanks!

My email is

111 LifeBunny 03.10.09 at 11:39 pm

I took a look and commented. What’s that made of, perchance? It’s blue, so I’m thinking Smurfhide…but I could be wrong.

112 Helen 03.11.09 at 10:21 am

sorry … I was exhausted last night and had to go to bed.

What I used as a handle when Charlie was smaller was a simple 1? or 1.5? round metal keychain available at any hardware store. The keys to using a handle is … (1) you must attach the handle absolutely securely to the item AND have it fairly perfectly balanced. If you look at the picture of Charlie with the cell phone, I worked hard to find the lightest cell phone available (to everyone out there … ALL used cell phones are required to dial 911 free of charge. I.e., every used cell phone is an emergency phone, as long as it’s charged.), and I spent quite a long time making sure it was balanced so he could carry it comfortably. I use an even smaller disposable phone now, that he can carry without a handle.

You attach the handle with “two-part putty,” also available at the hardware store. If you don’t know what this is, ask anyone at the hardware store, and they’ll tell you where to find it. It’s basically clay that comes in two parts, and after you mix them together, you can mold them into something, which will then turn into a very strong sort of plastic cement. It’s non-toxic after 24 hours, though you can also paint it with a non-toxic paint (such as the blue you see in my photo.)

Dogs hate metal in their mouths, so I always lined the metal “handles” with a tight lining of duck tape.

How big is Beth? And how big are your meds? When Charlie was much smaller — and fetching my meds (and reminding me to take them) — was his primary task, I had to improvise his meds container. He was only two pounds early on. All of the commercial med containers were too heavy. Sooo … I bought a rigid plastic contact lens container and sawed it in half, sanding the rough edges. I attached the “handle” to the lid with the two-part putty, making it tight and secure but as light as possible. The container is designed to stand upright, but since I’d removed the other side, I added “feet” to the bottom to help stabilize it and make sure that it would stand upright, to make it easier for Charlie to pick up — though since it’s round, he can pick it up even if it falls over or upside-down.

Here’s an old (and not-very-good) picture:

Of course this was years ago. He’s seven pounds now and all this is old hat. These days Charlie picks up regular meds bottles:

You’ll find that soon Beth will be able to pick up all sorts of things. Once you master “retrieve” with clicker training … in fact, once you master clicker training … dogs love to learn and work. I’ll send you an email later today and again, if you have any questions, please feel free to write or ask here.

Disclaimer – the methods and photos I shared here were my own devices and not meant to be specific recommendations of this list, though anyone may use, adopt or adapt my ideas. Charlie was formally trained before I received him; I did only the specific task training for my specific disability as an owner-trainer.

(I do ask that my ideas not be written about in articles without being asked first.)

113 Helen 03.11.09 at 10:22 am

sorry … I was exhausted last night and had to go to bed.

What I used as a handle when Charlie was smaller was a simple 1? or 1.5? round metal keychain available at any hardware store. The keys to using a handle is … (1) you must attach the handle absolutely securely to the item AND have it fairly perfectly balanced. If you look at the picture of Charlie with the cell phone, I worked hard to find the lightest cell phone available (to everyone out there … ALL used cell phones are required to dial 911 free of charge. I.e., every used cell phone is an emergency phone, as long as it’s charged.), and I spent quite a long time making sure it was balanced so he could carry it comfortably. I use an even smaller disposable phone now, that he can carry without a handle.

You attach the handle with “two-part putty,” also available at the hardware store. If you don’t know what this is, ask anyone at the hardware store, and they’ll tell you where to find it. It’s basically clay that comes in two parts, and after you mix them together, you can mold them into something, which will then turn into a very strong sort of plastic cement. It’s non-toxic after 24 hours, though you can also paint it with a non-toxic paint (such as the blue you see in my photo.)

Dogs hate metal in their mouths, so I always lined the metal “handles” with a tight lining of duck tape.

How big is Beth? And how big are your meds? When Charlie was much smaller — and fetching my meds (and reminding me to take them) — was his primary task, I had to improvise his meds container. He was only two pounds early on. All of the commercial med containers were too heavy. Sooo … I bought a rigid plastic contact lens container and sawed it in half, sanding the rough edges. I attached the “handle” to the lid with the two-part putty, making it tight and secure but as light as possible. The container is designed to stand upright, but since I’d removed the other side, I added “feet” to the bottom to help stabilize it and make sure that it would stand upright, to make it easier for Charlie to pick up — though since it’s round, he can pick it up even if it falls over or upside-down.

You’ll find that soon Beth will be able to pick up all sorts of things. Once you master “retrieve” with clicker training … in fact, once you master clicker training … dogs love to learn and work. I’ll send you an email later today and again, if you have any questions, please feel free to write or ask here.

Disclaimer – the methods and photos I shared here were my own devices and not meant to be specific recommendations of this list, though anyone may use, adopt or adapt my ideas. Charlie was formally trained before I received him; I did only the specific task training for my specific disability as an owner-trainer.

(I do ask that my ideas not be written about in articles without being asked first.

114 Edith 03.16.09 at 5:16 pm

If you have a SD be cause you get bad headace And the dog can help you get to a place to sit down that a task some people that get bad headace have light blindness and can see so the can have a service dog like this. Most people out service animal bar patch on both sides of vesr and two hand no text on top of vest. This make people know its a service dog not just a pet. I have a SD for this and she wears a hunter Green vest. I got the dog vest and patches online also on top sides of vest I have Access requred patches on also.
This helps a great deal when we are in public my SD is A border collie and people treat her like a service dog. I have nobody tell me she not a SD if you are having problem with your SD then go online to Pup’parel and buy the color vest and patches I talked about. Also you can go online to design your own ID badge put down your own ID badge. I hope you will do this and you will have less trouble out in public places. Let me know how it goes after dog has uniform and patches and ID badge on dog need to wear the ID badge the handle don’t wear it or carry it.

115 Wendy 03.18.09 at 1:09 pm

Hi! I’m from Minnesota. I have a self trained Medical Alert Service Dog. She trained herself to pick up on the scent in my breathe so she knows when my sugars low/high and she wakes me if my breathing is raspy(ashma). She will be certified for one year in April. She also calms in stressful areas. I don’t have any ID but a card and the outfits I make.
I don’t know how the new law will affect them, but I feel any animal that helps a person should have the right to be with them. I have a Grandson that has a cat that helps him adjust to new living places and is just there for support. He has a Doctors note to get in to places to live. I also know people here that have mental illness’ that have a service dog.
I don’t feel a dog thats nervous and can bite without warning should be out in public. It just would not be safe for anyone. So maybe the new law could help there some.
Thanks Wendy

116 Anonymous 03.23.09 at 9:57 am

I emphatically believe that dogs which have gone through a stringent training, evaluation and certification process to work as Therapy Dogs providing support in Nursing Homes, pediatric wards, school reading programs, etc., are -in fact- providing a service and should be identified as service dogs. Period.

117 Helen 03.23.09 at 10:10 am

I emphatically believe that dogs which have gone through a stringent training, evaluation and certification process to work as Therapy Dogs providing support in Nursing Homes, pediatric wards, school reading programs, etc., are -in fact- providing a service and should be identified as service dogs. Period.

You are most emphatically and incredibly wrong. Period.

The definition of a service animal is an animal that is specially trained to do work or perform tasks that mitigate the disibilitie(s) of one person who meets the definition of disability according to the ADA.

Therapy dogs and service dogs are two very different animals. Therapy dogs have no right to public accommodation, or need to be in public accommodation. Service dogs, on the other hand, are medical equipment, and give “some” disabled people freedom to go places they might not otherwise be able to go.

Police dogs, military dogs, therapy dogs … all these dogs have wonderful training. They still have no right or need to accompany a person into a restaurant, store, Walmart, or hospital (unless in the line of duty and only in the line of duty), and not one of them is a service dog.

118 Pami 03.31.09 at 1:47 pm

we need to pass law when you rent a place they, can not do a background check on you! why I think this is the place you rent from don’t let dogs live there and they don’t want your dog either, all they have to say is your background is not good, and then they don’t have to rent to you, they can’t get in trouble by law because they did not come right out and say they would not rent to you because you have a SD. It should be under the same law were they can’t ask about your dog training or show you got the dog from a training places ect. How to get this law pass for ever state, email, write your congress person, Sentor,Governer and also the president of the United States and your local newspaper. Ask families and Friends to help you out also!

119 Helen 03.31.09 at 1:49 pm


120 Cindy 03.31.09 at 1:55 pm

Let’s do away with people that self-train their own Service Dogs.
To many people don’t do a good enough on training them. I’m going to write the President and see if he can pass this law in 2009.
If you don’t like what I’m going to do then you should also email him and voice your own opion on this. Also I’m going to ask him not to let any training place to train pit bulls as SD.
I hope I can get people to be on my side and help!

121 Helen 03.31.09 at 2:22 pm

hahahahahahah! Be sure and let us know what Obama says

Boy the looneys are out today.

122 Helen 03.31.09 at 2:45 pm

Pami wrote:

“we need to pass law when you rent a place they, can not do a background check on you! why I think this is the place you rent from don’t let dogs live there and they don’t want your dog either, all they have to say is your background is not good, and then they don’t have to rent to you, they can’t get in trouble by law because they did not come right out and say they would not rent to you because you have a SD. It should be under the same law were they can’t ask about your dog training or show you got the dog from a training places ect. How to get this law pass for ever state, email, write your congress person, Sentor,Governer and also the president of the United States and your local newspaper.”

Pami, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what you meant when you wrote this, so I’ve taken some time to read it several times, so I could best answer it.

The one thing I’m still not sure of is what you mean by “background checks,” and I’m not sure I can help you with that. However, if you are disabled according to the ADA, and if you have a service dog or even an ESA, then I can help.

The “laws” that most comes into play here are the Fair Housing Act and the ADA. The Fair Housing Act enables people to keep service dogs even in places where no pets are allowed. There are certain requirements that must be met … if you are moving to rental property, you may need need to show your landlord a note from your doctor certifying that you are disabled and that you require the service animal, though you do not need to reveal your disability. But even, as where I live, if “pet rent” is charged every month, no fees can be charged for service animals, as they are not pets. Legally they are considered to be living medical equipment.

These things do not apply to ALL landlords; if someone owns less than three apartments, he would be private and excempt. Once a landlord has a building with four apartments or more, then the rules go into effect.

123 Robin 03.31.09 at 7:39 pm

First Hellen let me commend you on all the things you are doing with this blog you have been a great advocate to people with SD and disabilities. Now to get to the other reasn I was leaving a comment Pammi I hope you don’t mind me putting my 2 cents in, but when I reneted a place here in Florida I let them do the back ground check and aprove me before i mentioned the fact of relying on a SD that way if something was said I had more proof of them denying me because of the SD and not my background.

p.s Hellen may I e mail you on some questioins on training? or can you e mail me at

124 Helen 03.31.09 at 7:55 pm

Of course you may email me … and that goes for anyone here. I believe my email address can be found elsewhere on the list. But I’ll email you Robin when I’m done.

It would be illegal for a landlord to deny you housing on the basis of your having a service dog. If you *ever* have proof that you were denied housing on that basis, you would need to file a complaint with the Department of Justice, which can be done via email. Believe me, any apartment complex of any fair size is acutely aware of that fact … and they would go way out of their way to avoid an investigation and very sizeable fine.

Timing is key. When you’re looking for an apartment, you don’t mention your service dog over the phone the very first time you’re scouting out apartments. You also don’t wait until the day you’re moving in. But just before you’re ready to sign a lease and put down a deposit, you get your photocopies of your doctor’s notes ready, and when you go in, you take your dog with full vest plastered with “service dog” patches, and you say say “oh yes, and I’m disabled” so I won’t be getting into any trouble (and you set down the doctor’s note on the desk), and this is my SERVICE DOG. (and you set THAT note down right on top of the last one. And you need to include vet clearance with evidence of shots, and evidence of the dog’s county license … which by the way should be free … see me if you have trouble with that). So that little pile of papers should be next to the pile of papers that is your lease. NOW they have the option of having you sign the lease, or asking you to leave.

Good tenants are hard to find. If they have gotten a tenant to the point of having him/her sign a lease, if they refuse at that point, they will be breaking the law, and they know it.

125 Helen 04.02.09 at 1:29 am

p.s Helen may I e mail you on some questioins on training? or can you e mail me at [...]

Robin, I have sent you several suggestions. Please let me know if they are of any help.

best, Helen

126 Sarah Harris 04.04.09 at 1:58 am

I live in a HUD Section 202/8 subsidy, translated it is an apartment building that rents to seniors and/or the handicapped, I am the later. The good thing about this kind of subsidy is it allows animals, the bad thing is there is a $300.00 deposit. Another good thing is they make reasonable accommodations for Service/Assistance animals and the $300.00 is wavied. My dog was prescribed for emotional/physical support by two separate doctors which is one of the requirements. I am nerve challanged as my doctor calls it due to a severe back injury, my dog gives me all the love and support I can handle and then some, in return I give him a bath, ear pruning, teeth brushing, and I brush his coat which is the physical part. My dog is my physical therapy and has done more for me than traditional therapy could have, did I mention we play ball. He picks up and puts up things for me when I need him to and also will alert me to physical changes such as migraines before they become debilitating. I am so very blessed to have him.

I didn’t have to much trouble getting the accommodation because the disability was already documented, the problem is another resident. There is a new resident that moved in a few months ago, the very first time I saw her she threatened to mace both of us. She is fast becoming a real problem and even though I have complained to the manager nothing is being done. Are there any laws or regulations prohibiting this kind of behavoir? I live in New Mexico.

127 Helen 04.04.09 at 7:45 am

Sarah, you don’t mention whether your dog is task trained. If your dog is not trained to do physical tasks which mitigate your disabilities, then he is an ESA and not a service animal. The only tasks you mention are tasks that YOU do. Since he prescribed by doctors, he is still entitled to stay there according to the Fair Housing Act, but would not be entitled to go out into public using a service dog vest.

Your manager cannot prevent your neighbor from doing anything to your dog. Most states have laws which have stiff penalties for people who injure service dogs — but they must be service dogs. If your neighbor goes after your dog, you will have to call the police, like the rest of us.

128 Sarah 04.05.09 at 3:21 pm


Yes he is task trained to open and shut doors, pick up things I drop, retrieve, and with a special harness he pulls my manual chair. My apartment has all kinds of special adaptations that he uses to help me. The things I mentioned are actually the more important things, even though I do them, because I had to learn to do everything just like a baby learns to walk. I could explain further, but he is a very integral part of my daily life, a life that was drasticly changed in 2002. I received my dog in December 2005.

As for the tenant problem I have had another run-in with her and this time the police were called. This time I got her for cruelty because the attack was unprovoked and I did have a witness. I was also told that I do have the right to protect my property and by law he is my property. Now that this is documented, if it happens again, according to New Mexico law, it can be deemed intentional or malicious and that is a forth degree felony. One more thing, by her actually being charged with a misdemeanor she broke the lease and believe me I will pursue that.

129 Helen 04.05.09 at 3:34 pm

Sarah, sounds like you have things well in hand. I’m very sorry your dog was attacked. I hope he is okay. *hugs*

To everyone: Police cannot enforce the ADA; they can only enforce state laws. So please look up and be familiar with your state laws regarding service dogs. REMEMBER: MANY STATES DO NOT RECOGNIZE MEDICAL SERVICE DOGS (PSDs, seizure alert dogs, etc.), AS BEING LEGAL SERVICE DOGS.

130 Kat 04.05.09 at 3:40 pm

I keep trying to post this, and have been for two days now.

Sarah, if you need help with advocacy, though it seems you currently have things well in hand, you can contact me via my website. I live in Albuquerque and can at the very least give you resources and moral support. My service animal is about to enter retirement, but the experience never fades.



131 Corrine 04.05.09 at 8:32 pm

Hey Helen,

Yeah I learned the state law thing the hard way when I was kicked out of a Waffle House while visiting a city called Houma, LA for work purposes. The waffle house actually had the cops come and kick me out. The state laws there do not protect any service animal that is not accompanied by a “physically” disabled person. This wouldn’t have mattered as the cop that arrived had no idea what a service animal was at all. Anyway when I talked to the department of Justice they said that I could file a Title II against the police department and a Title III against the Waffle House. They said that even though the state law doesn’t allow my service animal the police and the waffle house still had to abide by the Federal Law. The lady at the department of justice said that the federal law only preempts the state law when it provides less protection against discrimination. I didn’t end up filing any complaints one because I was able to work it out with the police department (which is required before you can do a Title II) and no title III because I got really ill and wasn’t interested in going through the process. I guess my though is, do you think there should be some sort of organization that can offer people immediate assistance in this area? I mean I guess I would not want to stick around somewhere I was not welcome, but I was really hungry and there was not much around at the time. I don’t feel like there is any immediate protection for people with service animals. I do like all the support you can get if you feel you have been wronged, but the processes are kind of lengthy. I am in a compliant procedure with a place that denied me unemployment because of my service animal. Its been going on since August of 2008, that is not too long, but its not going to rap up anytime soon. The back and forth is exhausting too. I moved to Minnesota in August from California and quickly learned how difficult having a service animal can be from state to state. It was not much of a problem finding employment in California, but Minnesota was extremely hard to the point I stop bringing my animal on interviews. You seem to be very knowledgeable about service animals and laws and procedures, so I was just interesting in getting your thoughts on how I am feeling. I have built some thick skin over the years to comments and discrimination and all the other trials and tribulations when it comes to service animals, but sometimes I get a little down and discourages as well. Sorry this is so long. Thanks for all of your contributions to this blog.

132 Kat 04.05.09 at 8:43 pm

Corrine- It is important to stick it out through the process. The more we fight for our legal and HUMAN rights the more awareness spreads. I know it is not easy but, the laws that you cite above can also pose issues. Some physical disabilities are still invisible.

There are advocacy groups and organizations to support people through the process, you just have to look for them. Try contacting the organization that trained your SD, if one did, and ask for suggestions. Most organizations network for higher effectiveness.



133 Helen 04.05.09 at 11:40 pm

Thank you for your comments, Corrine. Sadly, you moved from a state with some of the most lenient state laws (California), to a state with some of the most strict state laws (Minnesota). Minnesota, like my own state of Colorado, only recognizes guide dogs, hearing dogs, and as you stated, mobility dogs.

Can you do something about it? YES!

Send letters to your congressmen and state representatives!

You can use this template if you like, or write a letter of your own.


Your name

Representative or Senator’s Name
Street Address, Suite #
City, State Zip Code

Dear Representative or Senator Name,

As a concerned citizen and voter, I would like to enlist your assistance in updating a number of state name’s disability laws, in order to render them consistent with the terminology established in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Since passage of the ADA, numerous other Federal laws have been amended so that their disability-related terminologies are consistent with the ADA and ADA Amendments Act of 2009. Some of these laws include: the Air Carrier Access Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act. In addition, many states have also chanted state disability laws to be consistent with ADA.

The ADA defines a disabled person as one who “has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Times have changed and medical knowledge has advanced significantly. Thus, it is time to amend [STATE NAME]’s laws so that they are consistent with the ADA and include ALL disabilities, and not just the ones now currently listed in the state laws.

Specific state name laws that require updating are listed below:


Thank you very much for your attention to this long-overdue matter.


[Name here]

You can find the names of your congressmen and state representatives simply by typing the name of your state and the words “congressmen” and “representatives list” into google.

134 Corrine 04.07.09 at 8:51 pm

Helen and Kat,

I want to thank you for your words of wisdom and the up lift. I have been through a lot with my service animal. I toured the United States and Canada doing a children’s theater show sometimes 2 cities in one week. I have had my fair share of discrimination. You would think I should be used to it by now. Having a service animal has far benefited me more than the inconveniences a person might sometimes encounter. Thanks for encouraging me to keep it up. I guess I have to remember its not just about me either, its about anyone who thinks they can benefit from this assistance or therapy. Its nice to have a reminder once in a while. Thanks again and again for the support.

135 Helen 04.07.09 at 9:12 pm

You’re welcome Corrine. Check out They sell some very handy cardboard cards with the relevant bits of the ADA business brief as well as the DOJ ADA hotline. They are very professional and are of great help when you have a problem when you’re out and about. The hotline is in bold print on the back. They’re cheap enough that you can hand them out without worrying about getting them back; in fact, it’s better if they keep them so they can learn what your rights are.

If I’m going out to a restaurant, I will often have one of these cards ready in my hand as I go in … sometimes I will even hand it to the Maitre’D even before they ask about Charlie. Therefore I am telling THEM who we are FIRST, before they get a chance to question me.

Oftentimes it is a matter of confidence and knowing what to say and expect. Practice what to say. Practice what to say if you are challenged. Practice in front of a mirror or a friend, if you have someone who will help.

Good luck *hugs*


136 Corrine 04.07.09 at 9:34 pm

Thanks Helen!

Yeah I actually have some of those cards! I also broke down and registered my animal with this company called SARA a couple of years ago. I only did it because it gave me an id with my service’s animals picture. The card always seems to calm people down when people first question me. It was also a much better option than what I had resorted to which was a note from my doctor that states my disability and what my animal is used for…I know huge HIPAA mistake. I think desperation led me to the point of violating my own rights…ugh. Anyway the card has the hotline number and a brief overview of the law on the back. I haven’t had to use it in a while, but it is always nice to have. I have learned to handle the situations better like going to customer service or security when I go to businesses to let them know I will be shopping with my service animal. I haven’t had a bad situation in a while, but I was wondering if you have an deescalation tips?

137 Helen 04.07.09 at 10:09 pm

SARA … bite your tongue (lol). For anyone who isn’t familiar with SARA, it is the Service Animal Registry of America. For about fifty bucks (probably more by now), they will sell you a kit that includes a very pretty laminated wallet card with your dog’s picture on it, which says your dog is “registered.”

I am NOT putting you down, Corrine. If you HAVE a service dog, then having this card is not necessarily a bad thing (in fact, a friend bought me a SARA card, and I use it for one thing.) But if someone has a pet, and pays fifty bucks to SARA or one of the other online registration services and uses the cards or tags in order to gain public accommodation, that’s FRAUD.

However … I only use my SARA card for one thing. I use it when I travel, when I check into hotels. Hotels want photo IDs. And even though we don’t HAVE to give it to them, when I’m standing there in the lobby with two suitcases and a leash, after traveling all day, I don’t feel like explaining the ADA. I choose my battles.

Why don’t I use it more? Because every time anyone flashes something fancy like a photo ID, a metal tag, or anything MORE than the ADA business brief, the 18-year-old clerk at Target is going to think that’s what all service teams are supposed to flash in order to go in. The next time a service dog shows up at her store, she’s going to say, “where’s your card?”

So yes, there are things that would make it easier for “me.” But instead of thinking “me” “me” “me,” let’s think about what’s best for “us.” We can do both. Carry your card … but use the paper one first, and use the SARA card as a last resort.

As for de-escalation, show the person the hotline number on the back of the card, and suggest they call the number right then while you’re standing there. Say the person at the Department of Justice should clear everything up. THAT is your real-time answer; that is why the DOJ has a 24-hour hotline.

I’ve only had to do this once, but it worked.

By the way, about six months ago there was a vet who put on his website that he was afraid of flying so he paid $49.95 for a Service Dog registry so his little dog could fly with him. The outcry on his website was massive … the article came down in 24 hours, a DOJ investigator got involved … according to his website, his puppy isn’t a “service dog” anymore.

138 Anonymous 04.07.09 at 10:25 pm

LOL….I told knew you would say that…I once had someone ask me where they could get one of those for their dog. I remember being very upset. I use it the same way you do. When I was checking into a new hotel everyweek they always want to copy the card. It made it so much easier at check in I mean checking a National tour into a hotel is already hard enough nevermind when one of them has a service animal :0) Thanks for the tips!

139 Corrine 04.07.09 at 10:34 pm

Oh and Helen if I present my card I always make it a point to remind them about the ADA law and how not everyone is going to have one. I totally agree with you. I definitely do not want to dig a bigger hole for us, so I promise to only use my card in a real needed situation…last time I used it was actually almost a year ago since I left the road…yeah for no more hotels everyweek!!!

140 Kat 04.08.09 at 12:13 am

I am going to upload a copy of what I carry instead of the ID card and put it on my blog as a download very soon. Today I had a person who was happy to find out my cat could enter her business. Instead of the usual resistance she was so gleeful to let me in. My mind was blown.

I wrote about deescalation with my first blog post here, but if you need more specific tips, please ask. My idea for avoiding hotel travel is to just move into an accessible motorcoach. Pay for it instead of rent, give into my wonderlust, and no hotel fees. It sounds good right?

I do think that our personal experiences with being exhausted and falling prey to devaluing our own rights are important, they can be used as reminders that we are merely human.

My issue ith SARA is that they do not state (or didn’t when I first started training SAs) that their service is not required by law. To me they are a scam. I also have made my own ID card for Sprite the Service Cat and in bright red letters had a citation of the law and a reminder that this was not required by law. Few people ever learned so I destroyed it. I would rather fight even when tired than let people discriminate further.

My wake up call to the futulitiy of giving an ID even with the explanation that by law I do not need one came with a woman who had a marked Service Dog, vest but no ID card turned away from Walmart and the staff person pointing to me and saying, “Well she showed me an ID.” I admit i snapped and went off on them, because they had just violated her rights. I yelled, and she got to do her shopping because security was focused on me and my rant. (I rant well.)

It is unfair that we must bear a responsibility to take up slack for people who want life spoonfed to them. It is wrong that we must be better advocates than anyone else around us. It is wrong that we must fight for our basic human rights constantly. No one chooses to be disabled but here we are, fighting anyway. I am so going to use that as a starter for my next blog post too.

Sorry to babble, it’s been one of THOSE days.


141 Corrine 04.08.09 at 6:04 am


I totally understand what you are saying. It would make me very upset when people asked for his paperwork or identification cards when I didn’t have one and know that I do not have to have one. I for a long time carried around the actual print out of the commonly asked questions about service animals from the department of justice website until I got those cards that Helen is talking about. That paper meant nothing to anyone though. I am glad that SARA changed their statements from the way you are describing it I would have never brought the card from their website. Their statements are much more direct and informative. The id card I have has this printed on the back: The disabled handler of this service animal has (underlined) voluntarily presented this (underlined) Service Animal ID. The disabled handler is (underlined) not required by federal law to do so under the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and then it lists the hotline number for further questions. I am right there with you on the frustration as that has happened to me many times. I also see myself getting to the point where I get nervous if I don’t have it on me, which is ridiculous. My husband always has to remind me “so what, you don’t need it” I think it is nice about how supportive and knowledgeable he is :)

142 Richard 04.10.09 at 2:06 pm

I do have a service dog its a white highland terrier she a Hearing aid Dog I wear two hearing aids. This is a good breed to have if you never had this type of breed before give it a try. You can buy the Hearing Aid Dog patch online at Pup’parel also vest.

143 Helen 04.10.09 at 2:31 pm

I realize that this is going to piss off a lot of people. Sorry. Hearing dogs should only be used as in-home service dogs, or at one’s job while one is working. People who put vests on hearing dogs and take them out in public (shopping, restaurants, etc.) do so solely because they can — because they feel entitled — not because they need them, because there are no trained tasks that hearing dogs can perform in noisy public places.

If your dog cannot performed trained tasks in public accommodation, your dog should not be in public accommodation — whether your has the “right” to be there or not. Why? BECAUSE EVERY SECOND OF EVERY MINUTE YOUR DOG IS IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION, YOU ARE IMPINGING UPON THE “RIGHTS” OF EVERY OTHER PERSON OUT THERE. Yes, you have rights, we have rights, but so does every other shopper, so does every other diner. They have the right to shop without being exposed to possible allergens, dander, and possible animal-borne disease that you may not know about. We all have an obligation to keep this in mind.

Let’s be responsible here, people. If you must have your service dog, then by all means, you should have your service dog with you at all times. But if your service dog cannot perform tasks that mitigate your disability when you’re in public, PLEASE do not slap a crappy hearing dog vest on it for the sole reason that you can parade your dog outside.

144 susan swanson 04.17.09 at 5:09 am

I have a child with a mitochondrial myopathy. He has a “therapy dog” in training. I agree with you that a dog should be adequately trained before entering challenging social environments. My son’s dog is still a puppy and doing great “in training” but by law I could take him into a busy public place where he could be a serious distraction! The law should be more specific. I have 3 typically able children and I can’t imagine if I pushed to have this dog in school. The kids would be petting him all day! I do disagree that “hearing dog” is the only stipulation you warrant. Most individuals with disabilities will not mind to explain the need of their pet. Treat them no different if their pet is a problem and complain to them first, and so on. Some pet owners can be very annoying, even when it means pretending their dog is a service animal!

145 Helen 04.17.09 at 8:12 am

I have a child with a mitochondrial myopathy. He has a “therapy dog” in training. I agree with you that a dog should be adequately trained before entering challenging social environments. My son’s dog is still a puppy and doing great “in training” but by law I could take him into a busy public place where he could be a serious distraction!

I don’t know if you’re ignorant about the law or ignorant about therapy dogs. However, therapy dogs have no right to public accommodation. They have the same rights as a pet, to be OUTSIDE in every place a pet can be. Therapy dogs and therapy dogs in training CANNOT by law be taken into a “busy public place.”

IF your dog is an SDiT, a service dog is training, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. However, the ADA does NOT protect service dogs in training. At all. Federal law does NOT protect dogs in training. At all. The only laws that “might” allow service dogs in training access to public accommodation are state laws. IF you have a service dog in training (NOT A THERAPY DOG or therapy dog in training, which has no rights to public accommodation whatsoever), you absolutely must research the assistance dog laws of your state. Though a few do, many, many states do not allow dogs in training public access. Of those that do, many allow only certain types of dogs public access (generally guide dogs, hearing dogs and mobility dogs.) Many states allow only dogs training in certified programs public access, and they must be accompanied by a certified trainer.

Now. As to schools. Just like operating rooms, schoolrooms are one place where service dogs do not have a “free pass” to enter. I believe I’ve covered this in a post above. Schoolrooms are NOT public accommodation. A school OFFICE is public accommodation, as you as a parent can go in and out. But you cannot go in and out of your child’s schoolroom at will. A school may or may not allow a child to bring a dog at their discretion John and Nancy Cave have spent the last three years trying to force the East Meadow School District (NY) to allow John Jr. to bring his golden retriever hearing dog to school. The school provides John with two (2) human assistants, and he has some hearing with two cochlear implants. But the Caves believe they have an absolute right.

They don’t.

They have now escalated to the point where they are suing the school district for a very sizeable sum of money.

Again, one must balance the needs of the one against the needs of the many. You place a big gorgeous golden retriever in the middle of a classroom of children. How many tests will be finished? How many children will be able to concentrate? That dog is well-trained, but he will still be yawning, scratching an itch, rubbing his nose, sighing, farting every once in a while … those distractions are not fair to the others–in addition to the risk of allergies, exposure to dander, zoonoses–especially when the EQUAL AMOUNT OF HELP HAS BEEN ALREADY PROVIDED TO THE CHILD by the school. The family cannot get past John Jr’s rights. They cannot see the impingement upon the rights of every other child in that school.

146 Liza 04.18.09 at 4:15 pm

I think with all the comments above, I am 98% convinced that we need some kind of national service animal certification. The details would have to be thought through and designed.

I am hearing impaired myself, user of two cochlear implants and I have a wonderful golden retriever who assists me with sounds I don’t understand in my environment and yes, he goes with me wherever I go. He has already saved me from a fire.

147 Dar & CupCake 05.01.09 at 2:32 pm

My girl is a psychiatric service dog. I have had two other dogs but they were never “clasified” – I just know I was worse when they were not with me. After a move and new DR. I decided to get another pet ( I had been without for 6 yrs)– over time the Dr observed what she does with me and vis versa — long story short — I never leave home without her, she’s now 4. The Dr. wrote an appropriate letter, the Vet updates a health certificate/letter for her every 3 months. She is a pure bread Chihuahua (no puppy mill) – but you would have to see her in action to understand her “alerts”. All her carriers identify her as a “Service Dog”, her vest — and I wear an ID tag stating my need for a medical alert service dog. I support the & / The phychdog site has a wonderful podcast you can listen to and download. I have shared numerous copies of the podcast with the hope of educating more professionals and individuals. Bless our SPECIAL Friends. Dar :smile:

148 Joy 05.05.09 at 10:43 am

In my years I have seen many Assistance Dogs. I see no problem with the real ones that are clean, well groomed, not barking, not let out side in an unfenced area with no leash alone and are under the control of owner/handler.
I’ts the other few that give a bad name to an otherwise much needed assistance service. If the owner does not have the dog trained in simple things like stay, sit, etc, how can it be called a service dog.
I have read ADA etc. and I’m tryimg to understand. I don’t see this as a bad dog, just an owner that has not trained the dog. Even my little Mutt knows what the word NO means. Frist time to write.

149 Psyche 05.18.09 at 4:55 pm

I am completely disabled, with both psychiatric problems (both endogenous and triggered by severe stress) and chronic pain. After reading the postings above, I anticipate negative comments but will give this a shot because someone may have positive suggestions. It seems that many of you have visible physical conditions and are biased against invisible ones. My health issues are also debilitating. Despite them I continue to fight to live as normal a life as possible.

I have a dog who I’ve been training for therapy assistance. If I feel well enough to travel, we will be evaluated for a national registry in a couple of weeks.

Additionally, two medical doctors believe and will attest that this dog helps me to function in public. However, at this time, he does not perform formal and identifiable tasks. What sort of tasks should we pursue? I’ve been training my own dogs for 20 years and seek help from professional trainers when necessary. I have the name of a local trainer who is familiar with psych dogs but haven’t spoken to her yet.

Thank you.

150 Helen 05.18.09 at 5:23 pm

Psyche wrote: “I have a dog who I’ve been training for therapy assistance. If I feel well enough to travel, we will be evaluated for a national registry in a couple of weeks.”

I’m not sure what you mean by this. There is no legitimate “national registry” for service dogs. If you’re talking about the “National Service Animal Registry,” this is a well-known scam. They will “register” your dog for free — which means they will write his name and information down on their “register,” which means bupkiss. Then, if you pay $64.95, they’ll give you a metal tag, patch, and … ooooh, now they have photo ID cards. YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TRAIN YOUR DOG.

Psyche, the new DOJ regs will be focusing on physical tasks for psychiatric dogs in order to differentiate them from comfort dogs or emotional support animals (ESAs). This is a fantastic website on psychdog tasks by Joan Froling of IAADP (International Association for Assistance Dog Partners

151 Psyche 05.19.09 at 11:06 am

The sentence is simple: I have been training my dog for therapy assistance, which is different from service for me. However, there is crossover in training needed or required for both functions. The national registry with which we are working is the Delta Society,

I have been researching the “service dog” topic for the last 24 hours and have learned that the emphasis on “tasks” is a remnant from a rule introduced under the Bush administration but not enacted. Congress reprimanded DOJ and some courts for rules and decisions made during the last eight years and reiterated that alleviation of psychiatric symptoms is indeed within the scope of ADA.

All that is needed is for a dog to 1) be obedience trained, 2) completed public access training and 3) provide assistance to me according to definition developed by my doctor and me.

I will use task list developed by IAADP, but have already found the Psychiatric Dog Service Society,, to be very helpful.

152 Helen 05.19.09 at 1:26 pm

Psyche wrote: “I have been researching the “service dog” topic for the last 24 hours and have learned that the emphasis on “tasks” is a remnant from a rule introduced under the Bush administration but not enacted.”

“NOT ENACTED?” It’s federal law. Sorry. This is the definition of service animals according to the ADA:

Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

The important words in that definition are “individually trained” and “perform tasks.”

153 Richard 05.21.09 at 8:07 am

Seizure alert folks need to calm down and let me explain why. If you call the ADA Hotline and tell them you animal is not trained and that there was no way you could train your animal to alert you / warn you ahead of time to the onset of a Seizure, Diabetic Emergency, Anxiety attack, Panic Attack etc etc….. is that not a “task”? Alerting is a task trained or not if your animal is able to and does alert you ahead of time to these things then you have a animal of some type that is performing a task for you that directly impacts your disability and your day to day life. There is a prison that specifically looks for animals that naturally alert the inmate ahead of time to their medical emergency. Once this is observed that the animal is able to naturally detect and alerts to the onset of a medical emergency that is a task.

They then praise the alerting behavior and depending on the situation / animal they can train it to help you further by laying on top of you to prevent you from getting up until you are able to remember the command to ask the dog to get off of you. Use your imagination there are other things you can teach some animals to help you in these types of emergencies.

The USDOJ ADA Hotline folks will tell you that alerting is a “task” therefore it is all good. No worries.

I am worried about the folks that use not normally domesticated animals like, mini horses or monkeys etc… A monkey has thumbs like us, and they can do things more human-like then say a dog. It is an advantage to have a monkey.

I can also see where folks would be afraid of some animals. In my opinion, I feel that folks who use animals other then the common domesticated type need to also be accommodated. If the Federal Gov. changes the law and your State Law no longer protects you then the Federal Gov. needs to step up and help the folks out financially, training wise and with animal replacement. If the Federal Gov. changes the law and now you are no longer protected then I think the Federal Gov. should be responsible for looking after you and making sure your needs are met. You are protected now but if this law goes into effect then you will no longer be protected. I got a problem with that.

154 Wendy 05.21.09 at 1:45 pm

Hi! I am both mentally Disabled and have diebetes. I have a Service Dog that taught herself to alert to my sugar lows or highs before I notice them. I got her as a puppy. She is now there for me and is with me. I don’t know what I would do with out her. I would not realise that I was low or to high until I was to out of it. Now she helps me. She’ll paw me or bark to tell me I need to get help.
If they change the rule will it mean she’s no longer a Service Dog? I don’t think it will be good for anyone if they pass that law. It’s not fair.
I hope it does not pass.

155 Helen 05.21.09 at 1:59 pm


It’s not a law. It’s the proposed new wording of the Department of Justice “regulation” that would go with the revamp of the ADA that just went into law in January of 2009. It would *not* affect the status of your dog as a service dog. Your dog is a service dog.

I should mention here after the last couple of posts that an alert “by itself,” though it is a task, is not considered to be a trained task. This is VERY easily remedied by one of two ways. The alert itself can be improved upon with training. That would satisfy the ADA’s definition of a service animal (please see my post about four posts above). OR other trained tasks which also mitigate your disability can be trained (this is called task chaining).

If you’re worried about it, why not go the extra mile, do some reading up on clicker training (google has some great info on it), and cover yourself legally? The answer to your question is no, this regulation is not in effect. BUT the current regs ARE in effect … and the smartest thing for anyone to do would be to be to be in line with the law.

best, Helen

156 Wendy 05.21.09 at 2:33 pm

Thank you Helen.
I wasn’t sure about the Law. I guess I don’t understand it to well yet. I question some people’s idea of Service Dog/animal. I have Major depression as well and can go down hill fast and she makes me take her out and helps with making me feel better. I only have her for my Diabetes and she’s good at that. She’s well mannered out in public and only barks at a few dogs. She’s a small mix breed(14lbs. and 9″ at her shoulders). I have problems with a few places yet in Minnesota, but not many. I carry an I.D. (certification card) for her. I am not afraid to say why or how she helps me. I make her outfits and put a card carrier on them for her card. I can’t afford the vest and patches. i also carry a muzzle . I don’t have to use it much anymore. I do it for the people that don’t feel safe around her. She stays be me and does not move unless I say she can. I have taught her to sit between my feet on the floor with the command “Come round”.
I don’t disagree much with things, but am for Service Animals. Why should only a dog be one? I see cats helping out too. Our cat would tell me husband if my breathing was off before my dog. The cat’s now to old to it. So, I guess I’m with the people that have other Service Animals.

157 Richard 05.21.09 at 7:56 pm

I called the USDOJ ADA Hotline more then once and every time I called I asked ” if an animal naturally alerts to the onset of a medical condition like seizures, low blood sugar, anxiety attacks or panic attacks and the animal is consistent even though it was not trained by anyone to do it, can it be used as a service animal?” Every time, I was told alerting to sounds, alerting to the onset of a medical condition even though the alerting behavior happened naturally and was not a trained task is still considered an animal that is performing a task that helps that person with their disability. If the animal is consistent with it’s alerting behavior and the disabled individual is truly disabled as defined by the ADA, then that animal that performs that task is considered a service animal, even though the behavior was not a trained task. Alerting is considered a task no matter how it was learned.

Call and ask for yourself. Eight hundred five one four zero three zero one.

The way I see things is kinda like this.
If you have diabetes, that in it’s self, is not considered a totally disabling disability, if it is under control most of the time. If you have diabetes that is very difficult to control and you are disabled because of it as defined by the ADA, then you are good to go. If your disability is sever enough that you collect social security disability benefits, then you should be fine as long as your animal is alerting to your disability that is or has been recognized by the Gov.

You may have a problem if your recognized disability is for one thing like diabetes and you also have some depression as a result, and you use an animal for comfort reasons because of your depression, then that is not the same, and it is not recognized by the ADA.

Just my two cents worth, I hope it makes since? Seriously call the ADA Hotline and ask them that is why they are there and that is what the service is for.

158 Helen 05.21.09 at 8:11 pm

Richard, that was a FANTASTIC answer.

But the hotline answer IS a “band-aid” answer, which is exactly what a hotline is for. Personally I believe alerting on its own should be recognized as a task. The trouble with that is, taking out the words “individually trained” from the definition of a service animal opens up a can of worms, especially from the people, who lobbied heavily against it. And PLEASE don’t believe I have a bias on this, because my disability happens to be psychiatric myself. I just firmly believe in actually task training my dog.

What I believe in is being well prepared should you need to defend yourself in court. If you need to prove your dog is a service dog in front of a judge, you very well mayneed more than your word that your dog alerts to either seizures or blood sugar changes. There would be no way in hell that I would go into court with less than a well-trained (behavior-wise) dog, evidence of class completion, his training log, and the ability to demonstrate at least one very strong task for a judge. I’d want to impress the hell out of a judge. If that task is as simple as fetching a bottle of pills, so what? My dog is so good, he’ll sit under my chair for the rest of the procedings, and that alone will convince anyone that he is what I say he is.

Why are you arguing for having your dog be mediocre, when it would take two or three weeks to teach him not only to help you, but to protect yourself legally? I simply don’t understand.

159 Richard 05.21.09 at 11:34 pm

Here is what I read

Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.

I found it here

160 Richard 05.22.09 at 12:56 am

In court, the number one thing they will want to know is, do you have a disability that is recognized by the ADA as a true disability? You will need to focus more on proving you are disabled as defined by the ADA first.

If you read “to the letter”, the ADA, no proof of training is required. People may ask you about your animals task that it performs, or the training it has been trained to do, but no proof or identification is required under the ADA, and your attorney (if you have a good one) should be smart enough to object to any line of questioning when it comes to attempting to make you physically prove, any kind of task or training.

Now to stress more on that subject, here is a good reason why. In a court system here in SC, there was a situation where they wanted to stage a mock “attack” on someone who has a service dog. By directly staging an attack they were hoping that the dog would attempt to protect it’s handler in an aggressive manor hoping the dog might attack or bite. Now most dogs who are bonded to their people will naturally attempt to fend off an attack and that is a dogs natural instinct. You really can not fault a dog who attempts to protect it’s handler in a situation like that. But in court if they did that to you, and your dog thought you were in great danger of serious bodily harm or death, would your dog cower and run away or would your dog try to protect / help you? This is why trying to show off your dog or animals skills / training / tellent is a bad idea.

Outside of court in today’s HIPAA Law world, you can simply say that you have a right to protect your medical information / health records and that you find all task related and training related questions to be very intrusive and that you just like they do have a right to your privacy and you wish to keep your personal health / medical information just that PRIVATE. Tell them that if you tell them what task or training your animal has it would give away your disability to them and that you would rather not freely pass along your medical information like that. Also you can simply state that by answering questions like what task and like what training, that would expose your disability or your personal health information to someone, and you have a right to keep that information private.

Again, in court you need to prove with medical documentation that you do have a disability as defined and recognized by the ADA. Once you meet that requirement, then pretty much, you are going to win, no matter what.

161 Psyche 05.22.09 at 7:43 am

Actually, Helen, you are wrong. Quoting directly from 28 CFR36.104, which is the LAW:

“Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”

A psych dog does “work.” Richard is correct that asking what tasks a dog performs is tantamount to asking what a individual’s disability is, and is an example of the wrong-headed (as in wrong direction) results from court cases of the last 5 years.

I have been to court twice and have been determined twice to be completely disabled. I know you own this blog, Helen, but your bias shows. Mental disabilities and invisible disabilities are intended by Congress to be covered under ADA just as are obvious physical disabilities. It makes no sense for one sector of the disabled community to attack another just as it makes no sense to be so concerned about abuse by a small number of non-disabled individuals to the detriment of disabled individuals whose conditions are different from one’s own.

Anyway, I’m outta here. No more to learn and have no desire to be verbally abused.

162 Helen 05.22.09 at 8:31 am

Richard, of course you have the right to keep your disability private. But according to the Department of Justice title III regulations (which related to what this thread is about), when you go to a store, or hotel, or restaurant, the manager has a right to ask you (1) is this dog a service dog, and (2) what tasks is your dog trained to perform?

If you cannot answer those two questions to that manager’s satisfaction, he/she has the right to deny you entry. If there is trouble and the police are called … it’s possible the court can be involved.

If you go into court and simply say “my dog is a service dog,” and “he does these tasks,” well then, it’s possible you’ll win. However, there is a whole lot of precedent of cases where people HAVE NOT WON.

THOSE PEOPLE HAVE NOT DONE THE REST OF US ANY FAVORS. Simply saying “it should be so” is not going to cut it. I’m glad y’all are so secure in your faith. Me? I choose to be secure knowing I AM protected because I have chosen to do the work.

163 Trina 05.23.09 at 12:53 am

Maybe this is the website i’ve been searching for to help me get the answers I need.

I need to find a way to get my dog registered/papered to being some level of service dog so that I may take him places and get no discrimination. I do not intend on taking him to restaurants, or grocery stores. He is a family dog as well as my dog that I adopted from the Humane Society here, to be there for me emotionally and to just generally keep me happy and focused on why i’m still alive. I have 2 daughters to live for , and where I live now won’t accept my dog as because of his breed. His breed alone should not be discriminated in the dog world. It is all how they are raised and trained to be good or bad, ie, dog fighting/dangerous.

I’ve never had to come acrossed this before, but I just absolutely can’t get rid of my dog i’ll be a total wreck. I do pretty good in public and keep a straight face, but on a bad day for my depression/stresses of life that have not been documented, I can’t concenrate at work and i’m unhappy at home and I dont want to return to that. When I have to take my daughters to see their father, i’m not alone anymore. I don’t sulk on the computer all day wishing I was someone i’m not.

I no longer wish I was never born , or think bad thoughts of my self consiously or sub-consiously. I still isolate myself from crowds of people I know or don’t know… I’m not very social, but if I can overcome this fear of losing my dog, then perhaps i’ll once again be carefree before life and reality hit me hard after high school.

I’m currently 25 and a single mother of 2 young daughters living in an apartment with my best friend and her daughter and her dog, which of course is accepted. We paid pet deposits. Upon signing the lease, they did not ask me what breed of dog I had or anything. Just their name and color and age and if they are up to date on shots. Although when I got my dog, he was up to date, but he does need some more now that it’s been 2 months i’ve had him.

Can anyone help me to understand what I can do so that I can at least make it through this lease and many others that may come my way without giving up my dog and goals in life ? I feel this is the end of the road for me. If i’m not happy…. i’m going to give up trying to achieve a happier life.

~~~Screaming in despair~~~~~~~~~

please help me someone :(

164 Helen 05.23.09 at 6:04 am

“registration” and “certification” without training does not make a dog a service dog. Those types of services on the internet are scams. Buying their services means nothing. Using their wares to take an untrained dog into stores and restaurants, however, is fraud.

165 Helen 05.23.09 at 6:39 am

I apologize in advance, because I am leaving this blog. I have become apparently the soul voice of reason.

People, it is not enough to merely have A DOG to mitigate your disability, even when you have a very severe disability. You MUST train your dog. Most of the time it takes upwards of a year of training – but some of you protest at doing even a few weeks of training.

Frankly this disgusts me so much that I cannot even bear to read it anymore. I won’t be.

Be well.

p.s., please remember that when you commit fraud, you carry the risk of losing your dog, losing the right to ever use a service dog, and if your dog injures someone or something, you bear all that liability, which could go into hundreds of thousands of dollars – people lose their houses.

166 Corrine 05.23.09 at 8:38 am

Personally I am very sad to see Helen leave the blog. I know that many of you have a hard time dealing with such a passion for something or a strong belief in the right way to do something that you might find her comments rude or harsh. I can definitely see how that would be. I really wish that most of you could have gotten past that and see what she is really trying to do for ALL of us. I have been following this blog for a while and I think the truly disheartening thing is we are all now going to miss out on all the wonderful resources, aids, training tips and other supports that Helen offered. I have much experience because I have traveled around this country and Canada with my service dog my experiences have forced me to education myself so I know a whole lot about the law when it comes to public access, employment and housing. However I had my dog privately trained so I do not know much about training and always appreciate Helen’s help. I also just won a EEOC charge against a place that denied me employment and I do not think I could have gotten through that without the support of Helen and everyone else on this website. So Helen I am sad to see you leave and I definitely don’t want that, but I will support your decision if that is what you need.

167 Helen 05.23.09 at 5:43 pm

Corrine, I’m so happy you won your charge. But I did unsubscribe from this blog. I can’t read it anymore.

I can’t sit here and argue with people quoting the definition of a service dog — which both Richard and Psyche just did — which includes the very words “individually trained to do work or perform tasks” as support for their arguments that dogs don’t need to be trained! Wot the hell?! Do people speak English anymore? I know has a different understanding of the phrase “do work” than the rest of us, but still, “TRAINED” IS PRETTY CLEAR, n’est ce pas? That is still in there, is it not? The word “trained?” Didn’t they have to type that in when they made their comment? Both Richard and Psyche? They even commented on it being federal law. Yes, it is federal law.

If the definition of a service animal says that a service animal must be trained, and it’s federal law, and they BOTH QUOTED THE WHOLE DEFINITION, and USED that definition to support their argument that service dogs don’t need to be trained … do you think maybe there’s something wrong with their argument?

Both the original definition of a service animal and the proposed definition of a service animal (which is in limbo now pending Obama’s decision) definitively include the words “individually trained.” This is NOT a “remnant” left over from Bush. The proposed definition was written last summer, and I was very active in helping to work with the DOJ on the wording of the proposed regulations in July. The words “to work” will be left in the proposed regulations. That’s something lobbied heavily for … so they can include grounding as a task. But the dog must still be trained! No matter what! It can’t just sit there and be a comfort animal. An emotional support animal is NOT a service dog.

To tell you the truth, what gets me the most is that most people who choose not to task train their dogs don’t even bother with behavioral training. Come on, you know who you are. You’re the person who went to IHOP just before me, and are the reason the manager is giving me dirty looks. You feed your dog at the table. You’re the person who put a cloth vest on your schnauzer and flew on the airplane with me three weeks ago, and YOUR dog was the one who jumped on people and barked in the airplane so loud it echoed all the way back to the tail … making US look bad … even though Charlie went on five airplanes, four trams, three taxis, stayed in two hotels and ate in five restaurants with impeccable manners (though I gained three pounds :cool: )

YOU make it hard for ME. You make people snap at me, and look at me with distrust. You make it harder for me to live. Quite frankly … I don’t blame THEM.

If you’re going into public with an untrained dog, I * BLAME * YOU. Stop it.

First, make sure you qualify as disabled according to the ADA. Then TRAIN your dog. Live within the law, instead of skirting it.

Goodbye. Take care, people. Be well. Be happy.

168 Mark 06.01.09 at 1:26 pm

Chris tries to contend that a small dog is just a toy and can’t perform Service Animal tasks. He is dead WRONG. Chihuahua’s are one of the BEST breeds for the hearing impaired and many animal’s rise to the occasion in spite of small size. I can hold my Chihuahua on my arm an still execute a jump spinning crescent kick to the head of a fool like you Chris, but I am disabled. I have diabetes and my Chihuahua helps me regulate my blood sugar better than a glucometer and an insulin needle (anong his many other tasks). My Chihuahua is my Service Animal and I am Male. I really trash your Sterotype Chris. If you got in my face with your crappy attitude in real life I’d likely trash your face with pepper spray for threatening me if did not kick out half your teeth first. Run into me with your attitude and you will need your own service animal because I will cut you down to size by chopping your legs off up to your knees, fool.

169 Mark 06.01.09 at 1:45 pm

BTW, The Doctor’s of my local VA Emergency Room are supportive of me being a patient in the Hospital ER accompanied on my Hospital bed with my Service Animal even. A couple local businesses have changed signs on their front entrances and issued me appology for their rude and discriminating employees behavior. I get pissed off at people who claim they have a Service Animal but it is really just their “Pet” and they don’t even have a documented certified set of disabilities like I possess, let alone an Animal with any reasonable measure of training (animal’s “in training” are also stipulated to be granted access as long as they behave). Chris, your head is buried in your back side. I walk away from fools like you and if you follow I would break you down to the size of the worm that you are. People that pretend to have a Service Animal need to go to Jail and face Fines. People that accuse me of having a fake Service Dog because he is small are in for a reality check baby. My animal does so many things for me and my set of several disabilities. One of the things my Animal does is holding me back from staining the streets with the blood of fools like “Chris” and people that claim they hate specific animals.

170 Richard 06.01.09 at 2:30 pm

Ok, just my two cents worth.

In my opinion, if someone has a true real disability, that is recognized by and covered as a disability under the ADA, then no matter what the animal, (within reason) if the person with the true ADA covered disability, believes that their animal performs a task for their disability, no matter how it was learned and even if it was naturally learned like in the case of a Seizure Alert animal, then they because of their disability or disabilities alone, should qualify as a legitimate Service Animal so long as the animal is under the control of the person with a disability, or has been taught to be well behaved in public.

I say this because there are lots of documented Medical Alert animals out here in this world who’s tasks that they perform directly related to the person’s disability, is not trainable. For example a trainer would have to be able to predict a seizure ahead of time, then teach a animal to alert ahead of time to the seizure. If you know of a trainer who has that ability, I would like to know who it is because, it is imposable for the average person to do that. The same can be said for anxiety, panic attacks, diabetes etc… You can recognize “triggers” in some disabilities, like a intimidating looking person invades your personal space. You know that will trigger a anxiety / panic attack so you can teach a service animal to stand between you and the “threat to your trigger”. It may not always stop an anxiety or panic attack but simply having an animal that fills up space between you and your trigger can sometimes help stop or lessen episodes.

In my opinion (unless you have a service Elephant or some kind of unreasonable animal like that) then you should be legal no matter how the task was learned by your animal. Just so long as you have some kind of animal that performs some kind of task directly related to your recognized by the ADA disability. Also you should stay good friends with your Vet, and make sure you keep your animal healthy and can prove via your Vet that your animal is not a threat to public health.

If this is you, then in my opinion you are legal and covered. No matter how the task your animal performs was learned. A task is a task no matter how big or small, if you the person with a disability believes that your animal is a Medical Alert animal or any other kind of animal as long as the animal performs a task related to your disability then you should be fine. Also tactile stimulation performed by an animal is a task, but an animal who is used for it’s tactile stimulation is not a task. There is a difference. For example, here is a link to a video of an animal performing tactile stimulation to another animal of it’s kind. If this animal also did this for it’s human with a disability then that is a task it is performing. If the animal just lays still and allows you to pet it then that technically isn’t a task that the animal is performing.

Enjoy the video of this animal performing tactile stimulation to another animal of it’s kind.

171 Sarah 06.02.09 at 4:05 am

OK people a service animal has to be trained specific to the disability, at the very least the animal has to be obedience trained so they know how to act in public and will follow command. As for emotional support animals unless they are also trained for specific tasks unfortunately they should not be classified as service animals and they should not be in public at all unless they have had obedience training. Alert dogs either have the ability or they don’t but they can be trained to perform a certain task when alerts are necessary. With that said this is my 2 cents.

Service animals which contrary to the belief of some can and does include more than the golden retreiver who leads his blind master. Mini horses, cats, monkeys, and even Chihuahuas can and do make excellent service animals. Alert animals those that let their masters know of impending seizures, diabetic lows, and other medical conditions have a natural awareness that cannot be trained, what can be trained is the alert itself. Emotional support animals those that help their masters overcome debilitating depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc…. also cannot be trained to give that support but they can be trained to perform tasks such as medication reminders. Guess what all of the animals I just got through talking about perform a task for their master regardless of whether the disability is physical or emotional and I have managed to train all of them to ADA regulations.

The day you think you know everything is the day you need to go back to school so how dare some of you idiots try and make decisions for the rest of us when you don’t even have the good sense God gave a Goon. Yes, there needs to be regulations regarding service animals but for someone that has never had to deal with a disability or had the pleasure of being in the presense of these special animals and seeing first hand what they do make those decision I would rather shoot myself and my dog. Just so all of you know I have been blessed with a Schnauzer named Biscuit, he is my trainer, my friend. He has saved me in more ways than I can put into words. Because of the tasks he performs for me he has taught me how to walk, hold a glass of water, and by brushing his teeth I learned to brush my own. The thing above all else Biscuit has done for me is the unconditional love and emotional support that makes it worth getting out bed every morning. For those of you who think you know, you don’t know squat.

172 Richard 06.02.09 at 7:46 am

“Alert animals those that let their masters know of impending seizures, diabetic lows, and other medical conditions have a natural awareness that cannot be trained, what can be trained is the alert itself.”

One must be able to recognize that the animal has that natural awareness ahead of time. The way this happens normally, is that the animal naturally attempts to somehow, in it’s own way, alert it’s master or someone else of the impending medical problem. All of that is done naturally without training and is merely observed natural behavior.

Once a trainer knows what to look for in the animals natural untrained alerting behavior, then a trainer may attempt to modify the animal’s natural alerting behavior to a trained one, if in fact it needs to be altered for what ever reason. In most cases the animals natural alerting behavior is just fine.

Once you have a “Medical Alert Animal” then you need to socialize it and teach it to be well behaved in public. This can be tough with some dogs, because some of them tend to be naturally protective of it’s master and I have heard of some alert animals not being allowed out in public because they become too protective of their masters.

In my past I have responded to an EMS call where an over protective dog had to be restrained by animal control because we all felt that the dog was aggressively defending / protecting it’s master. It was a diabetic call and the dog used a special phone to call us for help.

After that first incident happened the recorded message on the special dog phone was altered warning the dispatcher to tell responding units that the dog is master aggressive / protective and that animal control would be needed too to secure the dog safely, to allow EMS to treat and or transport safely.

Animal control takes possession of the dog and once the dog is totally away from it’s master it is just fine. If the dog can see it’s master is “out of it” then the dog is very aggressively protective of it’s handler.

I think it is strangers in the house and the dog thinks that we may be harming it’s master. I am not totally sure. Ok all, have a good one, I don’t want to get into circle talk here.

Take Care


173 Andrea 06.03.09 at 12:15 am

Oh…I have just spent a long time reading what everyone wrote and thought it was time for me to tell you all what my daughter is going through. My daughter has seziures. For the first time since 2005 she had 4 seizures on May 20th and was put into the hospital on the Critical Care Unit. My Daughter had been working with a service dog since October 2008 and we never knew this service dog would alert to her seizures. When my daughter was taken to the hospital the trainers brought the dog to her. Within hours the dog started alerting the nursing staff to my daughter’s pending seizure and then later to her low heart rate. Several days after my daughter got out the dog went with the trainer late one night so that she could go to an elementrary school in the morning. That night just after midnight she started whining and pacing and the trainer tried everything and could not calm her. He so he called me. Within 10 minutes of the call my daughter had another grand mal seizure. Needless to say the trainer brought her right back and she has not left since. Now here is were things get bad….. My daughter needs to go to school. The school district refuses to let her take her service dog to school with her. They have claimed every excuse under the sun. Required certification which we gave them over a week ago, required a prescription from her doctor, which we gave them as well, required ID for the dog and my daughter, which we gave them, and they still will not let her in the school. Now they are in a round about way stating it is because of her breed. They even went on our local news after the story ran and told them that all they needed was the dog’s certification (rememeber we gave that to them over a week ago) Nothing now they will not return my lawyers calls, his faxes nothing. We are supposed to have an ARD and they have not returned the calls about when the time or date is that they keep changing either! My daughter’s Civil Rights are being denied!!!!! Now they claim that we have to have libability insurance on the dog! WHAT NEXT!!
Issue: 14 year old girl has service dog to alert to seizures that happens to be a fully trained German Rottweiler
School district refuses entry to Service dog and is asking for more information than ADA says we have to give, yet we have given it!
Both dog and child even passed with all A’s the Assistance Dog and Handler Public Access Certification Test!
Anyone know how to push the school when you are setting a pressadence in the state?
This is all happen in Killeen ISD in Bell County, Texas.
You can watch the news report by copying and pasting the link below or if it works clicking on it
you can also go to
go to the videos on the right of the screen and look for the one that says Service Dog Lawsuit
Would love some advice!

174 Richard 06.03.09 at 5:52 am

Andrea most schools have a police officer assigned to them. Here they are called School Resource Officers. What are your chances of getting with that officer and getting the officer to watch this video What would the school do if you simply sent your daughter to school with her Service Dog? Would that School Resource Officer be asked to violate to violate the Civil Rights of your daughter and would the Officer do that? I shall go check out the story.

175 Corrine 06.03.09 at 6:13 am

Hey Andrea,

I am so glad that your daughter has been able to benefit from a service animal that is always good news. Now moving on here…my opinion just so you know….if you are able to get the school to approve the service animal I would HIGHLY recommend liability insurance. Just because you never know what even extremely trained animals will do. If for any reason the animal became aggressive, which I have seen as even a natural thing to do protecting their master, and bite someone…it will be all on you. I recommended the insurance because it can keep you from losing your assets in a court case if the injured chose to do that. It won’t for sure prevent that, but its nice to have somewhere to start other than someone taking a house as a settlement price. Also not to burst your bubble, but saying this to give realistic expectations of what you will encounter during this fight. The best way of course is to be prepared for it all. Let’s say the school approves it. The next problem could be parents. Most people are going to be okay I have learned this as I have my service dog in a employment situation. There are going to be those that want to make life difficult though. There will be parents saying their children or even teenagers can’t concentrate because of the service dog. Children are naturally distracted and parents will use this as an excuse. In public I always have kids running up to my dog and wanting to pet him. I am sure a talk in the beginning before the dog is brought in would help alleviate that situation for the most part. At work I have grown adults around and it amazes me how often they forget he is a service animal and not to pet or talk to him. I also think that Richard offered some good advice in regards to the School Resource Officer and this actually might be a good idea if you wanted to pursue the problem this way. HOWEVER, School Resource Officers are also bound by the state in regards to service animals laws they are in no way allowed to enforce a Federal Law (unfortunately). So the important thing here is to make sure that your state protects the rights of public access to your daughter’s type of service animal. I used to have a job on a National and Internationally tour show so I have been to every state but Alaska and the laws vary GREATLY! I have been kicked out of a restaurant, they actually called the cops to kick me out and there was nothing the cops could do because my type of service animal was not protected in that city and state-Houma, LA. So I urge to sit down and play out all the scenarios and get your game plan ready. This blog can offer lots of support and I am willing to bounce ideas off with you. Best of Luck!

176 Richard 06.03.09 at 6:50 am

I just sent an email out to every email on this page.


Andrea if you would like a copy of the email I sent just holler.

177 Richard 06.03.09 at 6:52 am
178 Richard 06.03.09 at 8:25 am

For educational reasons I have copied and pasted the above link below here for all to read.

Bringing Service Animals to School: Some Tips for Parents
I am happy to report that after two months of resistance, I was successful in getting a Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD) in a public school in Forsyth County, GA. There was much opposition and delay, but the PSD and his owner are now both doing well in public school today.

Below is a recently published article outlining steps to take. (Wish we had it for our case!)

I would simply additionally add if you have problems with a school district allowing a PSD, call the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Tell them about your case, give them details and get the name of the person you would file a complaint to. Do this before filing an official complaint. Then contact the school system in writing one last time, tell them you have spoken with ____ at OCR and they have stated you have a right to bring your PSD to school. Ask them to contact OCR themselves. Then, without forewarning the school, show up the next day with the PSD (whether or not they have agreed to allow the dog or not). Tell the school administrator, if they refuse to allow the PSD in the school building, you will immediately leave and file an OCR complaint.

In our case, after bringing the dog without permission, the school district finally allowed the PSD in the building (but was extremely unhappy about it), and we did not have to file an OCR complaint. I certainly feel that forcing the school district in person to comply with the law made our case. They would have continued to delay the process if we had just continued to write letters and make phone calls trying to get acceptance and an agreement.

We also did not allow the school to make the PSD an IEP (IDEA) issue. They tried continuously, and we continued to state that use of the PSD was an ADA issue, not IDEA. They kept trying to say that the PSD was not necessary as an accommodation for special education (IDEA). We argued that the PSD was a reasonable accommodation allowed under ADA.

We got all the arguments listed below from the administration as to why not to allow the dog (same arguments listed in the article below):
What if another child or teacher is scared of dogs?
I will need time to send a letter to the school staff and parents asking if anyone is allergic to dogs.
What if the dog has to go the bathroom or needs to be fed?
Who’s responsible for the dog?
What if the dog bites someone?
What if the dog is disruptive?
The dog will disrupt the other children.
How do we know if the dog is helping?
What if the child becomes dependent on the dog?
We will want to wean the child off the use of the dog.
Finally and the best: “If I allow one dog in my school building today, tomorrow I will have 500 dogs”.

From the research I read on this subject and in talking with the Office of Civil Rights, NONE of these arguments are valid to deny a child the use of Psychiatric Service Dog in public school. You cannot base denial on what if’s……………………. Furthermore, I will say the parents of the child with the PSD did a wonderful job of researching and finding out what was necessary also. They did their homework, and got all necessary paperwork together for the school, eventhough some of paperwork requested was not necessarily even legally required. They provided it willingly anyway.

I will say I feel it is extremely important to validate the school/administration’s fears. Answer questions. Provide requested documentation. Talk to staff. Provide information from the Service Dog organizations. Provide a written list of what the PSD will respond too. Bring in a trainer. Do what you can and what the school will allow to help the school. At least offer…………

Feel free to distribute to other parents and lists.

Advocacy & Consulting Services – IEPadvocate4you
Carol Sadler, Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

Information contained in this communication is confidential and privileged. It is not meant to represent legal or medical advice, but rather advice given based on my knowledge as a trained Parent Advocate by the GA Advocacy Office, Council of Parent Advocates & Attorneys, CHADD, LDA, and the GA DOE Parent Mentor program as an invited guest. Please do not forward without my permission.

179 Richard 06.03.09 at 10:44 am

There is more to this Service Animals in School please go to the site to learn more.

180 Robin 06.04.09 at 4:15 pm

Ok I know I have not posted in a dogs age sorry for the pun lol, but I was in a car accident with my SD. Now that things are back to normal I’ll participate in posts again.

I myself have a rotti as a seizure alert dog. I feel for your pain in the ordeal your going through as I have been through one of similar circumstance. I attend G.E.D classes and when I alerted the school of the SD attending with me they had a fit to say the least. I did however get through mine and am now attending regularly with Saint my Rotti. I have insurance not beccause they asked me to, but because of my own personal prefrence as any dog can be unpredictable when it comes to strangers wanting to aide during a medical emergency. I wish you well on winning your battle I know how rough it can get.

181 Philip 06.28.09 at 9:44 pm

I appreciate the proposed changes, particularly to combat the claims, such as those made by Chris, below. I am a well-groomed man in his early thirties and I require a psychiatric service dog. Apparently, I’m not going to be alone, as veterans of similar demographics are going to be issued service dogs for ptsd. Telling them to get over themselves is a little trickier than this fictional woman with a chihuahua.

182 Dawn G 07.01.09 at 8:33 pm

As a trainer of service dogs for many years, I would like to see the government actually release some sort of a standard for training. As many of you have pointed out, the dogs are not legally required to carry id or even wear a service vest. True, this protects your civil rights to privacy, especially in cases of a mental illness that you may not want the whole world to know. THAT SAID, the public and business owners would definitely be more supportive if the dogs had to take some sort of exam, to prove that they had been certified “safe” in public places and that they were trained to do at least three tasks to aid their handler. I personally, see no problem with this if the government made it as easy as going to get your driver’s license….you go to a testing facility, pay a nominal fee, prove that your dog is not aggressive, that it is child safe and safe around other animals, that it knows how to stay out of the way in public environments, ignore distractions and that it does at least three things to help you and give you the chance to show the three things. Then you get a signed card with a state or federal stamp and BOOM, you are done. Then there would be no more questions about which dogs were good and which ones weren’t, who should be allowed in and who should not.

As a trainer, I get pissed when I see the little old lady with her chihuahua in the grocery store, because I have been with my students out in public with service vests on and even a shirt that said SERVICE DOG TRAINER and STILL been asked to leave out of PURE ignorance. This was in a state that service dogs in training are covered in a separate state statute, giving them access rights!

I now offer a training program to assist those with disabilities to train their own dogs. I felt that this was the best way to help as many people as possible. Some people are fully capable to do the training but just don’t know where to start. Some people have never had a dog before, so they don’t know even how to potty train a dog, much less to teach a more difficult skill. I believe that by having an access test that everyone had to pass to get an id, and then requiring the dog to have the id, it would stop all the other rhetoric. It would also preserve the rights of folks like yourselves to train your own dogs, with or without help from people like me. It would also instill more faith from the public and business owners, that you are legitimate and not the little old lady who just wants FiFi with her.

That is my two cents….and btw, I am getting ready to start training my own dog, because I need total knee replacements in both knees and have no insurance to cover it. At least a service dog can help me brace and go up and down stairs and get off the floor.


183 Annie 07.13.09 at 4:53 pm

I’ve got a few questions for you guys.

“…trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability…”

Now, I am talking about people who are legitimately disabled by their psychiatric conditions…not just people going through a rut or mild condition. If a dog is trained to jump up on command to distract a person from a panic attack…is that not a task? What if because of a severe mood disorder, you are prone to anger/rage and the dog is trained to distract you when you start flipping out or are about to?

Is accompanying a person in a major depressive episode so they have the motivation to buy groceries, not performing a task for the benefit of the individual?

I find the description to be almost contradictory. If a person’s mental problem actually prevents them from going in public, isn’t a support animal in fact doing something for them that they cannot do for themselves, which is either stopping something detrimental or making them ABLE to go somewhere that their current emotional state prevents?

184 Richard 07.13.09 at 7:13 pm

Annie, sounds to me like you would benefit from this website here. Since you are describing a dog and you seem to be trying to justify tasks which might qualify one as a Service Animal for a person with a mental health condition. I hope you find all the answers you are searching for there.

185 Annie 07.14.09 at 10:23 am

So I’m justifying something that is already justified right?

186 Richard 07.14.09 at 11:23 am

You would have to read the entire website not just that one page. Then you would have to apply it to your particular situation. It all depends on your disability being recognized by the ADA as a true disability along with the dog’s training or it’s natural abilities that the dog performs, that is directly related to your disability and you should follow the advice that the website provides. IE having your Dr.’s support and appropriate SUGGESTED LETTERS to accompany the dog at all times even though it is NOT required it is a huge help for invisible disabilities. A Service Animal vest with pockets is handy, you can laminate a copy of the letters and you can have the dog carry them in the pockets of the vest. Psych Dogs are very controversial to a lot of people. There is a lot of people who feel Psych Dogs are just an excuse to take your “pet” with you everywhere you go, this is the reason you should follow the advice on that website, not just that page.

187 Richard 07.14.09 at 11:57 am

NOTE: ADA does not recognize Emotional Support Animals as Service Animals

The definition of a service animal includes:
An animal that has been shown to have the
innate ability to assist a person with a
disability. Seizure Alert Animals, Diabetic Alert Animals, Panic Attack Alert Animals, Anxiety Attack Alert Animals etc… These animals are recognized as Service Animals if they have the natural ability to detect and alert ahead of time to episodes. These animals are performing a Alerting Task directly related to a Disability.

Emotional Support example: A dog that rolls over on it’s back exposing it’s belly to you for you to pet to calm you down is NOT recognized by the ADA because you would be providing the tactile stimulation to the dog, not the other way around. A dog that paws at you because you are disassociated with reality due to Social Anxiety, is a task the dog is performing for your disability. This is different and could be considered a Service Animal.

NOTE: You must have a disability that is recognized by the ADA that makes you a qualified person with a disability.

NOTE: DOT FAA FHA does recognize Emotional Support Animals, they also require documentation as proof or your ability to prove to them that you are a qualified person with a disability, and that your animal is needed for that reason.

“In most situations the key is
TRAINING. Generally, a service animal is
individually trained to perform functions to
assist the passenger who is a qualified
individual with a disability. In a few
extremely limited situations, an animal such
as a seizure alert animal may be capable of
performing functions to assist a qualified
person with a disability without
individualized training. Also, an animal used
for emotional support need not have specific
training for that function. Similar to an
animal that has been individually trained,
the definition of a service animal includes:
An animal that has been shown to have the
innate ability to assist a person with a
disability; or an emotional support animal.
These five steps can help one determine
whether an animal is a service animal or a
1. Obtain credible verbal assurances: Ask
the passenger: ‘‘Is this your pet?’’ If the
passenger responds that the animal is a
service animal and not a pet, but uncertainty
remains about the animal, appropriate
follow-up questions would include:
—‘‘What tasks or functions does your animal
perform for you?’’ or
—‘‘What has it been trained to do for you?’’
—‘‘Would you describe how the animal
performs this task (or function) for you?’’
• As noted earlier, functions include, but
are not limited to:
A. Helping blind or visually impaired
people to safely negotiate their surroundings;
B. Alerting deaf and hard-of-hearing
persons to sounds;
C. Helping people with mobility
impairments to open and close doors,
retrieve objects, transfer from one seat to
another, maintain balance; or
D. Alert or respond to a disability-related
need or emergency (e.g., seizure, extreme
social anxiety or panic attack).

188 Annie 07.14.09 at 2:57 pm

Thanks for the help I have a much better understanding of the rules now. I just started doing this research because I am getting increasingly frustrated at not being able to just do simple things like buy groceries. I’m going to defendantly talk to my doctor about a PSD.

My Malinois naturally senses when I have major anxiety attacks and nudges me with her nose and paws which helps a lot so I can deal with the situation. Also when I get really mad about stuff she jumps on my back, reminding me to chill out. It would be real helpful to have her play tug with me (in a controlled manner of course) to dissipate stress energy when I can’t get away from a situation…or even for me to grab a handle on a harness when I’m really stressed and her to be taught to pull on it when I do.

I can take her to a few dog friendly stores here and I’ve taught her to politely put her paws up on the counter when I’m paying for something, she automatically nudges me because I’m nervous and keeps me from having an all panic attack. Otherwise I couldn’t do it!

189 Jenn 07.18.09 at 12:51 pm

Hello all…some very interesting dialogue here. I just spoke with a friend last night who has a service dog for both her Fibromyalgia as well as emotional support. We both agreed that abusing the system makes it difficult for those who legitimately need service dogs, and I respect her decision to leave her SD at home when she feels that she is not needed. Our situation is a bit different. My wife has MS as well as Type 1 Diabetes. Our last dog intuitively knew to corral Kris to a sitting position when she had a low blood sugar (and wasn’t aware of it), and provided immeasurable emotional support for her when she was bedridden. We never had her certified, nor did we travel with her. Now we are raising a new puppy, also a Golden Retriever, but this time we are (mostly due to necessity and my wife’s disease progression) training her to not only sense low blood sugars, but also retrieve items that Kris drops, to provide physical support when she walks, and also to turn light switches on and off, to name a few. I think, for our own level of comfort and to honor the law, we are choosing to train her in a multitude of tasks…neither of us would feel comfortable traveling with her or taking her places unless that were so. I know that we could simply slap a vest on her and simply say that Kris has MS and therefore she’s a service dog, but my personal feeling is that it’s not ethical to abuse the system. Also, she really wants to serve, and she is vitally needed! On another note, I do wonder why individuals choose aggressive dogs to be their service dogs…one of the reasons we chose a Golden is because we know that we can take her anywhere, and she will not show aggression towards anyone, human (baby or child or adult) nor animal. I wouldn’t feel right using our Australian Blue Heeler as a SD, as her barking and growling intimidates people (the reason she is now relegated to playing in the back yard and not dog parks), and although I am certain that she could be trained, I do think there is a responsibility to take into consideration the safety and well-being of others we encounter. Sure, we love our dogs, but I have seen adults cower from a 25 pound puppy, so I’m just wondering about that.

190 Richard 07.18.09 at 2:08 pm

Jenn interesting name for a guy.

Discrimination is discrimination no matter how you look at things. It should be the dogs abilities not it’s breed that is important. A Pit Bull, German Shepard, Rottie, Doberman etc… can all be good working dogs / service dogs. It all depends on it’s training, willingness to work, drive etc…

Please explain to me the way you teach a dog to “sense low blood sugars”? I always thought that like with seizures, it was a natural ability that just begins to happen and there is no real explanation or training for it.

191 Richard 07.18.09 at 2:53 pm

What we are being taught. I am an EMT with a Volunteer Rescuer Squad.

Dear First Responder:

Whether you are responding to an emergency caused by natural forces such as a fire, flood or tornado, or one caused by a terrorist attack, you may encounter persons with some type of disability who will require assistance. Some disabilities, such as those involving physical impairments may be obvious. Other disabilities, such as mental illness, are more difficult to detect. In many cases, you can’t tell just by looking at the person whether they have a disability.

People with Service Animals

Traditionally, the term “service animal” referred to seeing-eye dogs. However, today there are many other types of service animals.

* Remember, a service animal is not a pet.
* Do not touch or give the animal food or treats without the permission of the owner.
* When a dog is wearing its harness, it is on duty. In the event you are asked to take the dog while assisting the individual, hold the leash and not the harness.
* Plan to evacuate the animal with the owner. Do not separate them!
* Service animals are not registered and there is no proof that the animal is a service animal. If the person tells you it is a service animal, treat it as such. However, if the animal is out of control or presents a threat to the individual or others, remove it from the site.
* A person is not required to give you proof of a disability that requires a service animal. You must accept that he/she has a disability. If you have doubts, wait until you arrive at your destination and address the issue with the supervisors in charge.
* The animal need not be specially trained as a service animal. People with psychiatric and emotional disabilities may have a companion animal. These are just as important to them as a service animal is to a person with a physical disability, please be understanding and treat the animal as a service animal.
* A service animal must be in a harness or on a leash, but need not be muzzled.

NOTE: ADA does NOT recognize Companion Animals / Emotional Support Animals as Service Animals and Emotional Support and Companion Animals, do not have the same rights to public access as a Service Animal that is recognized by the ADA. FEMA recognizes Companion Animals and Emotional Support Animals just like the FHA, DOT, and FAA so if this is an evacuation to a shelter then we should treat Companion Animals / Emotional Support Animals as Service Animals. However we are being told not to transport someone to an Emergency Room with a Emotional Support or Companion Animal because they do not have the same public rights access as a Service Animal has.

A couple of other good resources for everyone are

FEMA funding was affected by Hurricane Katrina by the proposal and passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, which requires states seeking FEMA assistance to accommodate pets and service animals in their plans for evacuating residents facing disasters.[28][29]

192 Jenn 07.18.09 at 3:38 pm

That’s cuz it’s a girl’s name, but I know you wouldn’t dare discriminate b/c of that since, after all, discrimination is discrimination.

Anyhow, I agree that those breeds can be service dogs, but it takes a very educated and assertive owner to properly train the ‘harder’ dogs…if they have those capabilities, then fantastic. If not, best to go with a dog breed that is ‘softer’ and therefore more pliable to training. I’ve met the sweetest of Pits, Rotties and Germans, but I have also seen the other end – and I know I wouldn’t those who are encouraged in their aggressive tendencies out in public around my little nieces.

How to train a dog to sense low blood sugars, well, we’re still trying to get in touch with Kaiser, as they have a program to train dogs for folks with Type 1 Diabetes, but for now…when Kris has a low blood sugar, we have Kris call her to her and then Kris praises the heck out of her and has her lie down beside her while she tests. The idea being that eventually (she’s still just a baby at 5 months), she will naturally come to Kris when she smells the low blood sugar – something humans can’t smell (although we can smell the highs), but dogs can. Don’t know if it will work – like I said, our last dog just did it intuitively, but I think if the new pup is sufficiently bonded with Kris (which she is) and spends enough time with her (which she will), she will naturally go to her when the lows happen. Idgie, the pup, is really praise driven and naturally empathetic (comes to us when one of us is in pain or hurt and licks us and/or curls up with us), so I think she will come to it on her own, with some guidance.

Blessings, Jenn

193 Richard 07.18.09 at 4:30 pm

Jenn, not a problem for me, say hey to your wife for me please. Anyway I am still wondering how this place Kaiser can train them.

Take Care,


194 Wendy 07.18.09 at 7:15 pm

Hi! I have a SD that taught herself to my low/high blood sugars by the scent in my breathe. She will paw me or get in my face to tell me to do something. She’s just a small dog. I think she can tell because I have low blood sugar alot and she’s with me. She also alerts to my asthma at night. I did not train her or have her trained. She came to us as a 9 mth. old pup from a breeder that was diabetic also. It’s a good thing she can tell because otherwise I can’t until it’s well down the road and I’m to weak. She’s my savor.

195 Richard 07.18.09 at 8:48 pm

That is what I am familiar with is that they just learn it on their own and it is not taught to them. That is still a task that it is performing for a disability. Taught or not it is a task.

196 Angie 07.19.09 at 4:31 am

All this talk is making me crazier! I’m glad to have found this forum. It shows we all have many things to learn (yes me too). My service dog is a 4lb Chihuahua. (chris, I could spot your TYPE in a lineup of 10 people too!)
Helen, why are you representing yourself as a Service Animal Expert? There is no such thing, subjective interpretation at best is all the ADA allows for. It is written by humans, practiced by humans, and SUPPOSED to be enforced by humans. (I was beat up by a cop in a walmart store over my service dog, no the lawyer didn’t help, long story, seems like all of us have one, or two, or three…long stories I mean) There ya go, it’s highly fallible.
We as service dog/animal handlers need to support one another and help to make each other more knowledgeable of the source documents that support what we are claiming in these posts. Not all of the information I have read is true and correct. There is a lengthy section of the ADA that I haven’t seen referred to in these forums. The section that describes the specific disabilities that are recognized as being legitimate for using a service dog/animal. Once that criteria is met, and yes it does state that you must be under a doctors care, what your animal does or does not do for you as a ‘task’ is no one else s decision. Helen, this is where I reject your statement to the woman that has her small dog in a chest carrier. The heck that dog can’t preform ‘tasks’ in that position!!! They can lick your face, that is a task and yes it can be trained. They can paw your chest, arm, face, etc. That is a task. Tactile, touching, is a task. There are a number of situations that you seem to think do not ‘qualify’. How in the world can you tell a deaf person that they should not have their SD with them in busy places??? They can signal their handler to countless situations that you could not begin to understand, as you evidently are not deaf, nor am I. It is not for those of us with disabilities to decide what the next person does or does not need to allow them to function in society. Once it is established that an individual has a disability recognized by the ADA, that they qualify to use a service dog, (it may take me some time to locate the section in the ADA that supports my statement, but if you aren’t knowledgeable of it, I will research it for you) no one can tell them what tasks their animal has to preform, nor the number of tasks. The ADA covers all we need to know about acceptable behavior & grooming or our animals, we bear that responsibility. That’s one of my ‘pet peeves’, a business owner will tell me “if your dog goes to the bathroom, you have to clean it up, or if it barks you have to keep it quiet, or if it bites someone it is your responsibility”!!!! Hell, I know all that, if they really are so concerned about the ADA law, they need to learn THEIR responsibilities, as well as mine/ours! Anyway, we all like to tell the I, me, mine stories. It may help to hear each other out. But criticizing other peoples posts, and calling them ignorant, or telling them that is not how they should be doing something, doesn’t seem very productive to me.
Helen, you made my day with the post that talked about picking battles and not showing service dog documentation because it reinforces those not familiar with the ADA facts (they know plenty of fiction sometimes). How many times I’ve been told “where are your papers”? I’ll ask what are these papers that you want to see supposed to say? Then they say, I don’t know, but the last person that had a service dog in here had papers, or certification, or a vest on their animal. Those of us that have truly researched the law, and it isn’t all in one place or easy to figure out, know that our rights are being violated when documentation is required for access. Being belittled by those around me that don’t like that I insist on having that right, does no good. I say, if you don’t like that the law says I’m not required to present documentation of any kind, then you go do whatever is necessary to get the law changed so that it requires me to, then I will abide. Until then, you abide by the law and allow me and my Chihuahua access. Comments on here that seem contradicting to me, why would another service animal handler, feel compelled to state that service dogs don’t always need to be with their handler everywhere they go??? Since the definition of a Service Animal includes that it is ‘trained’, that needs to speak for itself. Give each other the benefit of the doubt that the animal is a legitimate Service Animal. Unless it is demonstrating undesirable behavior, why stress the what if’s? What if they are faking it is a SD, deal with the situation on its own merits, leave me and my dog alone, and don’t use that as an excuse for detaining me over and over again, telling me “we get alot of people trying to sneak their dog’s in as service dogs”. That’s weak justification for disrupting my day, and I don’t believe it is near as true as they would like me to believe. One last thing, why in the world would I want to identify my dog as “a seeing eye dog”, or “hearing dog”, “seizure dog”, “dog for autism”, “psychiatric dog”? This defeats the purpose of the law protecting me from disclosing what my disability is!!! Thanks for reading best wishes to all those that know where I’m coming from. Angie in New Braunfels, TX

197 Angie 07.19.09 at 4:59 am

btw Richard, forgive me (please) if I am misunderstanding your most recent comment. Generally all dogs can sit and lay/lie down. That does not mean that they will always, if ever do it for you on command. They must be trained to know what you mean when you say or signal them to sit, etc.. It is my position, if not only my opinion, that all dogs/animals can smell a chemical change in our bodies. Everytime our blood pressure goes up, there is a chemical change in our body. If you are diabetic and your blood sugar level changes, that is a chemical change in your body, having a cancer is a chemical change, etc.. Dogs/animals, can smell that, they may come up to you and sniff you or react to you in some way. The task is reinforcing whatever that behavior is so that both the animal and the handler recognize what message that behavior is sending. Repetition and consistency will reinforce that task from your animal. The animal is not always the one that needs the training.
Anyone remember the stories making national news about the dog in one instance, and a cat in another, supposedly knowing when a person was about to die in a hospital and a nursing home? They stated that the animals would go to that individuals room, or door, what have you. Then within 24 hrs that person died. They believed the animal knew the person was about to die. I know animals are smart, but I don’t believe that they know that person was about to die. They simply smelled the chemical reaction that the dying persons body was emitting, they reacted to it by going to that person, their actions were noted by the nurses, or family and it was defined as alerting that a person was about to die. Before someone decides to attack what I am saying, no I can not prove it, yes it is my ‘OPINION’, based on my life experiences! (I have a disability, I’m not STUPID!) Thank you again, Angie :razz:

198 Richard 07.19.09 at 1:22 pm


Thanks for commenting. I provided links that back up what I am saying. I did not copy and paste the entire subject just the part in which I hoped would interest folks enough to at the least go look at it for themselves and see for themselves what is going on with what I am saying. I have heard of dog trainers claiming to train a “Seizure Alert Dog” over the telephone.

The story you talked about, through repetitious observation of the animals behavior that they observed over and over again, that made them come to the conclusion that somehow the dog was knowing in advance when a person was going to die within the next 24 hours. That was a behavior that was observed and noted over time in person, and not over a telephone.

One would have to know what that chemical smell is and figure out a way to harness it to train other animals to alert to it. They have isolated that scent in cancer simply by tissue samples and training dogs to alert on that type of cancer.

No one knows what the chemical is that animals are alerting on in the case of low blood sugar, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, seizures etc… etc… Now ketoacidosis is something we can identify with our own nose but the opposite we can not without a simple BGL meter. I can see a lawyer or someone arguing that because they make BGL meters folks do not need the extra expense of a SD just for that reason alone.

(No I am not talking about Jenn’s situation as she has more then one disability issue that she has been talking about Kris having and training theirs for more then just Low Blood Sugar.)

My whole thing is that yes all service animals need to behave in public, but a companion animal or emotional support animal (meaning you have an animal at home, to go home to every day, to take care of and to give you a responsibility and a reason to keep on living, and for the unconditional love that the animal provides, and so you are not totally alone etc… etc…) this kind of animal NOT recognized by the ADA as a service animal but according to FEMA, FAA, DOT, FHA etc… is recognized as a service animal WE as Emergency Responders are being told by the that emotional support or companion animals for this reason need NO TRAINING. But I agree with you, if you have an animal like that then you need to socialize it give it basic obedience training etc… otherwise if you ever need to be evacuated for any reason to a shelter, if your animal becomes uncontrollable by you, then it will be removed. It is nice to know what WE as Emergency Responders are being taught. Or at the least YOU having the knowledge of where you can print out a document from the to show Emergency Responders what the is suggesting they do. In an evacuation situation where you may be going to a shelter then you might want a copy of FEMA’s rules to go along with the information.

I am no expert, but I educate other Emergency Responders to Service Animal Related Laws here in South Carolina. This is why I know what FHA, DOT, FEMA, HHS, ADA etc… etc… say about Service Animals so that I may teach others not to infringe upon the rights of folks with disabilities.

I hope you and others find this information useful.

Take Care All,


199 Richard 07.19.09 at 1:25 pm

Oh!!! I forgot to mention this site here. There is a video on here called RESPONDING TO SERVICE ANIMAL CALLS if you have a multimedia phone I highly recommend that you put this video in your phone to show to folks if you feel you need to. It is most helpful.

200 Angie 07.19.09 at 5:10 pm

Thanks for that explanation.
Admittedly I did not catch the part where you say someone is training seizure alert dogs over the phone!
The additional references you provided for rescue workers is fantastic, thanks.

On a day to day existence in routine public experiences, sometimes ‘gatekeepers’ have tid bits of information they have gathered from various sources. They will argue with me as to what my rights are for access. They are going by perceived ideas of what the ADA pertaining to Service Animals states. Somewhere they have heard or seen a policy that talks about only a segment of what a trained service animal implies. They assume that my dogs tasks need to include, picking up something for me, turning on or off a light switch, alerting me to a seizure, alerting me to a sound. These are all indeed tasks that are performed, but not by my dog. Narrow minded people can not understand that there are other tasks that a service animal can do for a mentally disabled person. One of the disabilities recognized by the ADA is “major depressive disorder”. Not all dogs that help with depression are ‘companion animals’ (pets). The basic difference between two different dogs that help two different people with depression, may only be the ‘legal’ status of the handler. What do I mean by that? The Veterans Administration has evaluated me and diagnosed me as having Major Depressive Disorder. They assign a percentage rating to that. Since that percentage falls withing the guidelines set forth in the ADA as to what constituents disabled and qualifies one to use a Service Dog, IF they so desire . It also states that you must be under a doctors care. Going to a doctor a couple of times for depression doesn’t satisfy the criteria. Yes, everyone gets depressed. It’s a very touchy subject, kind of like religion and politics!
When I get asked “what task does your dog preform for you?”, as I am entering Walmart, etc., they need to suffice with the answer “she alerts for my medical disability”, that encompasses many tasks. Saying much more than that, and still remaining truthful would nearly require me to say what my disability is, which we all know is not required of us and is against the law to ask. Yet these same people will answer me back with comments such as, oh, she lets you know when you are going to have a seizure? (is that not asking what the disability is?) Enough said about that. Common sense is hard to work into the equation. Thanks for reading, Angie

201 Richard 07.19.09 at 9:53 pm


Apparently there are two Richards here because posting numbers 55 and 142 are not me.

If you do not have much time to sit here and read then the three most important ones would be 159, 187 and 199 that I posted as they have links to reference what I am talking about.

Please read posts 159, 160, 161, 170, 172, 184, 186, 187, 191 and 199

Helen and Sarah,

Please go read post 187 and then click on the link and read it for yourself. This explains what I am talking about and have been trying to explain to you all. Also pay attention to the date it was written too please.

Thanks and take care,


202 Richard 07.19.09 at 10:00 pm

“three most important ones would be 159, 187 and 199″

Um, three most important posts that I made on here. Not “THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT ONES” I don’t want anyone to think I am saying their post is not important I meant to say the three most important posts that I contributed here. There are lots of good postings here. Sorry no offense meant.



203 Richard 07.19.09 at 10:30 pm


I forgot to tell you that I never mentioned training over the telephone here until I replied to you earlier. I was told by someone that they knew of someone who claims to be able to train a dog to alert to seizures over the telephone.

I want to encourage anyone and everyone on here who have service animals to please get involved with your local disaster drills. Disaster drills are required to be done from time to time and folks with Service Animals need to get involved in order to, 1) Educate folks like your Emergency Responders to these new laws by FEMA and animals. and 2) So you will know what needs to be done in the event you really need to evacuate. Please also make copies and print out the information from the link I provided.

This link here should explain to everyone why I am encouraging you all to get involved with these disaster drills.

204 JDM ? Big Island / Hilo 07.19.09 at 10:35 pm

BTW feel free to contact me at:

205 Angie 07.19.09 at 11:19 pm

Thanks again Richard (201, 202 & 203!).

Is post 204 some kind of ‘spam’, I don’t get it.
Angie in NB TX

206 JDM ? Big Island / Hilo 07.20.09 at 12:23 am

Richard it is refreshing to see someone with factual knowledge for a change ! Thanks so much for your insightful information.
Johnny d. Moore AKA biglugg

207 Anonymous 09.11.09 at 11:35 am

:arrow: Hello all this is for Helen………….please go back to post 53/54and please send me the card you were talking about if you already did………….well my hard drive crashed and I lost it LOL
Also when you do I’ll send you my phone number I have questions. I think you are the lady to ask LOL.

208 Lizza 09.14.09 at 9:32 am

Hi all, I’m new to this, but havebeen reading your post. I must say, I’m more confused that clear. I’m going to explain why I havemy SD, and I would love to hear back from you all, to see if I’m legal or not. First, my SD is a 4.3 lb Chihua, she alerts me to my low blood sugar, before it happens , so that I have time to get something and sit down. By alert, I mean she will paw at me, where ever she can reach me. Now she sometimes has to paw at the back of her stroller, I use a stroller because of neuropathy in my legs and feet, and I also have back injuries, it helps as I walk to have for support, I’m trying to stay out of a wheelchair as long as I can. I am on disability, because of this as well as a list of other health problems. She also alerts me to panic attacks before they can get really bad, I suffer from PTSD. he can also alert me of this from her stroller. Her stroller is clearly marked with Service Medical Alert Dog patches sewn on. Thanks for you help, Lizza.

209 Kat 09.14.09 at 3:06 pm


Your service dog is legal but barely, from my perspective. I would suggest training her to bring you a snack that you carry with you, they do make small dog back backs.

As far as the wheelchair goes, you might try a scooter, so that on bad days you can preserve energy. I still walk most of the time despite a partially severed spinal cord and the scooter makes a huge difference. I can still get food without depending on the store to have a scooter.

You should be fine, though by law you do not have to denote that she is a dog with patches or any ID, you may also try carrying a copy of the law. You can get more information at my website, which should be hyperlinked in my name. Just go to those first few posts and see if that helps. You can also email me from that site of you need a more in depth answer, I’m having a hard day so I am not able to think as clearly as I should.


210 JDM Big Island / Hilo 09.14.09 at 11:18 pm

I would think if you offer a public forum to discuss such subject matter, you would not delete /remove post from a person who has owned and used a professionally trained and certified service dog for years, simply because my opinion does not agree with yours.

211 JDM Big Island / Hilo 09.14.09 at 11:32 pm

I will however state re horses & pigs I have seen both do amazing things for persons whom are disabled, and because of the longevity of life of a horse it makes a great deal of sense for them to be employed, as replacement of a dog every 10 years is quite stressful and traumatic. you not only have to afford the training but also readjust to a new guide.

212 Lizza 09.15.09 at 8:11 am

Kat, thank you for your responce. I am wondering why you may think she is barely legal. My understanding was that if she was able to alert, and I read somewhere on here, that because I am on disabilty, that she defnitely qualifies??? Thank again for your help, Kat. :smile: ~ Lizza

213 Kat 09.17.09 at 9:48 pm


Actually, alerting is a natural behavioral response. Your service dog needs to be trained in addition to the alerting. For example, my cat is trained to call 911 if I faint in a public space but not if I faint at home. At home she is trained to use the speed dial to call my caregiver. That is the main area that sounds a bit iffy with your case. So when she alerts did you train her to go further such as giving medication or is it merely an alert.

Also by merely I do not mean to demean any form of alerting as that can be life saving and life improving, but in the eyes of the law it is not enough. (It should be, but as differently abled persons are currently not counted as important by law makers, it will take time)

214 Richard 09.18.09 at 4:26 am

Please scroll up and read post number 159 and 187. “OR PERFORMS TASKS” alerting is a task no matter how the task was learned. If it performs a task directly related to “your disabling disability” it is covered under the law.

(Advice: You should have a doctors RX that states “This Patient has a disability and would benefit from the use of a Service Animal) due to HIPAA Laws that is all that needs to be said on an RX. A more detailed letter describing what task your animal performs for you that is directly related to your disability on your Doctors Letter Head and signed by your Doctor is also advisable, if you have an animal that has an innate ability to help you with your disability.

I “suggest” (no it’s not required) this RX and Doctors Letter Head Letter to anyone who’s animal has the innate ability to perform a task or tasks for your disability, because of all the stereotype broken record trained, trained, trained, trained, trained, trained, people in this world. It is because of these people who harp on that word trained, trained, trained, trained, trained, trained, that is causing problems for folks who have Service Animals with the innate ability to help them with their disability.

So, the next time you get discriminated against because of that nasty word trained, trained, trained, trained, trained, trained, you can thank all the wonderful helpful folks who put this “trained” only word in their heads and omitted “or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability”.

These folks make me think of others in this world that say the only kind of Service Animal is a seeing eye dog and there is no other form of Service Animal other than a “Seeing Eye Dog”. Such a stereotype. Please get educated on what you are preaching please, it is not fare to folks who have Service Animals who’s task was an innate task. I have provided links to back up and support what I am saying go see for yourself. Or simply go make the Government change the law to the way you want it worded. Until then please don’t give out bad or misleading information. Good intentions or not if you convince everyone that the task must be trained only then you are causing problems for other disabled American’s who’s animal had an innate ability to help them.

Animal’s being under control and behaving in public should be understood and animal’s should be well socialized and comfortable with your day to day routine and not freaked out by cars or strangers or misbehave.

215 Lizza 09.18.09 at 8:18 am

:smile: Thank you all for the clarity and your suggestions. I will certainly have my Dr. sign a letter for me, he is very supportive of my SD. I haven’t really had any issue yet, however, once at a convience store a clerk approached me and I told her she was my service dog. Then she said , “but around the food”, and I said, “take it up with the ADA, and think about all the kids that come in here touching things, where have their hands been?” She said not another word. Be safe, Lizza

216 Richard 09.18.09 at 4:29 pm


Please don’t forget probably the most important thing I suggested is the RX stating you are disabled and will benefit from the use of a Service Animal. The RX should be all you need to show most anyone however if you are flying or simply need to explain more then the letter on the Dr. Letter Head and signed by the Dr. explaining the task or tasks that your Service Animal provides for you is most helpful.

None of these are required but I have discovered that people with innate learned task or tasks Service Animals tend to get discriminated against because of the stereotype people in this world who can’t see past the word trained or the other stereotype people in this world who think only a seeing eye dog is a service animal.

217 Lizza 09.22.09 at 9:11 pm

Thank you so much :grin: Richard, I’m going to type a leterr for my Dr, to sign! :smile: , Angie & Lizzie

218 Moique 10.11.09 at 11:41 am

As there are many different types of “service animals” there are many different individuals who have disabilities that range in severity. It is not up to others to belittle the severity of another’s disability, pain, or comfort level or to limit what an individual needs to access the world around them with as much normalcy as possible.

I believe that the service animals provide should include emotional support. To legitimize this service as the animal’s primary service and the animal as a service animal and not a pet, it should have successfully completed obedience training and should be Physician recommended and the individual is identified as an individual with a disability. This would reduce the chances of people taking their pets into public places and claiming they are services animals.

I do not believe that an individual needs to disclose their particular disability to anyone as it a violation of their rights and none of their damn business, but as a member of disabled people we are already identified by our license plates, parking placards or our unique looks and accessories. Having a service animal wear any identifying marker may deters questions; it should not be made a legal requirement. What should be made a legal requirement is fee reductions in registration, medical expenses, and general care cost for service animals.

219 Alayna 10.13.09 at 1:39 pm

I my self use a sugar glider as a service animl (im bipolar and have sociaal anxienty). My doctor signed a form on it now and it realy helps when people question you about wether you can have ur animal or not.

220 Richard 10.13.09 at 2:21 pm

Sugar Gliders are awesome little critters. They are very scent bonding too which may be what they might be reacting to in you? They are extremely social and if you have a good bond with them you become part of their colony and they can be the perfect “Unseen Service Animals”

Sutton and Suzie are two awesome Suggies that I know of personally that are being used as Service Animals and for the most part they are the “Unseen Service Animals”. Their natural ability to come to the aid of their colony members and their extreme social behavior makes them easily become, one of the innate ability Service Animals like I have talked about here.

They are the perfect Service Animals for the right person.

221 Richard 10.13.09 at 9:02 pm

I forgot to mention how prone to stress that Sugar Gliders are that could also be what they are sensing too.

222 Lizza 10.18.09 at 7:35 pm

Hi, this is Lizza. I hve a question for you all, hope you can help. I learned through a wal mart employee, that one of the “csm’s” ,(I undersatand that this is supposed to be a customer service manager, well, I would call her that very loosely!) Anyway, we were there tonight & so was she so I ask her what problem she had with my SD. She informed me it wasn’tmy SD per say, it was ones that came in without tags saying they were SD’s or without harnesses that specify SD ID. I proceeded to tell her that The ADA didd not require all that and she ot irrate, saying that she had worked with disabled eople since 1990 andshe new the law. I ask for her manager, he will not be back until tomorrow, I intend to talk with him. What I would like from you all, are links to our laws that show and and clearly state that our SD’s do not have to have these items. I think I have a few links, but I just wantto be sure frome some of you veterans. Thanks so much. Lizza So sorry for the typo’s, so upset!

223 Jessica 10.18.09 at 9:17 pm

Lizza, my favorite web site(s) to use come DIRECTLY from the (Department Of Justice) web site.
The last link answers your exact question. It would be the third question on the list. I use these pages as hand outs with the issues that I usually encounter highlighted. I am always nice about it and encourage persons who question me to go to the DOJ web site themselves and to inform their store manager of the information on Federal LAW reguarding SDs as well. People can be RUDE and often offensive because that is their nature OR from simple ignorance. Being RUDE in return only makes YOU upset and makes it harder for others with SDs. I have an anxiety disorder that can be triggered by such things so I personally carry a Dr’s note so I don’t have to argue, it is simply in my best interest to NOT have to defend myself to rude people and trigger a panic attack, but I also carry print outs of the DOJ’s Question page and try to be informative. Once I even had a woman call the police on me in a store and had THEM tell her exactly the same thing I did. I did however have a panic attack during the process and both the woman and the police observed my dog’s response and how she can carry my medication for me as well as find it in my purse. The woman’s Manager required that she make a sincere appology to me or she would be fired. I am very, very proud of my PSD and so lucky to have found her. I am able to lead a mostly NORMAL life because of her and I thank God every day that she is in my life. Do not upset yourself so. Teach yourself how to deal with rude people. I used to sit with my eyes closed, when I first started taking her out in public, and replaying over and over again scenarios in my head, Good and Bad, of encountering the public with her. When I had a bad experiance, which I found was NOT that often, afterwards I would imagine how it could have gone differently and been a Good experiance in the end. I found I learned from this, how to deal with different situations as they came up.
I wish you the best of luck to both you and your SD.
Jessica of CO

224 Richard 10.18.09 at 10:03 pm

Lizza please read my post number 199 here.

225 Richard 10.18.09 at 10:12 pm

Lizza post 159 too please

226 Richard 10.18.09 at 10:39 pm

Lizza if they call the USDOJ ADA # 800-514-0301 or if anyone calls the USDOJ ADA # 800-514-0301 and they start to ask questions about Service Animals they will give you a link to the Delta Society’s website so they can learn the laws and rules. Also see the PDF file there titled “Facts You Should Know About Service Dogs” brochure

About the ADA:
US Department of Justice
ADA Information Line
800-514-0301 (voice)
800-514-0383 (TDD)

227 Lizza 10.19.09 at 9:30 am

Richard, thank you so much!!! :smile: I feel armed and ready to talk to the manager now for sure! Lizza

228 Richard 10.19.09 at 10:06 am

Lizza, You are most welcome :oops: Let us know how things go please?

229 Lizza 10.19.09 at 10:53 am

An update, I talked to my city, county, & state govs. There wee no laws or ordanances concearning SD’s that differed from the ADA’s. I also talked to the main mng at our wal mart, and he was very pleasant, & appologetic. He stated that earlier this year they had went through a training module on SD’s, he is going to retrainer this paryicular “csm.” Thank goodness, there are some good people out there on our side!! Lizza :grin:

230 Richard 10.19.09 at 11:26 am

That is good news and ALL new employees should have that ADA training when they are hired.

231 Lizza 10.19.09 at 8:23 pm

I agree 100%, even if they’re not new, especially if they deal with the public.

232 Aubry 10.22.09 at 8:22 pm

To anyone that might be able to provide some insight:
As a healthcare professional, I am hesitant to encourage anyone to seek shortcuts in any type of healthcare situation. But I am also an optimist and realist and I am looking for info and insight so that I may be able to help a friend, and probably eventually myself.

My friend has a progressive debilitating disease. He has been a full time RV’r (Living in a motor home) for sometime with his wife and two dogs. His disease has progressed to the point where it is no longer safe and/or comfortable for him to continue his lifestyle and finances will not permit them to buy a place of their own. They are trying to rent (anything), but we all know how difficult it is to rent anything when you have animals. I read in one of the previous letters that service animals provide a lot of services for the emotionally and mentally disabled as well as the physically disabled. His dogs have been with him for a long time and mean a lot to him, therefore I believe they provide a valuable service to him.

Here in California, some special housing is available to individuals and their service animals.

Is it possible, or even ethical, to have these two dogs LEGALLY certified for the purpose of providing companionship to this gentleman with his disability. These dogs are not intended to, nor will they accomapany him to places like restaurants or other public areas. Your insight and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,


233 Richard 10.23.09 at 12:08 am

From one health care provider to another (I am EMS) YES! Under the FHA Emotional Support Animals are recognized as Service Animals and your Land Lord may not charge a pet deposit for them and in the eyes of the FHA they are Service Animals if a Dr. will wright an RX for a C0mpanion animal or animals. NOTE: the ADA does not recognize Emotional Support Animals as Service Animals but the FHA and the FAA does. See

“For example, there are
animals that have an innate ability to
detect that a person with a seizure
disorder is about to have a seizure and
can let the individual know ahead of
time so that the person can prepare.
This ability is not the result of training,
and a person with a seizure disorder
might need such an animal as a
reasonable accommodation to his/her
disability. Moreover, emotional support
animals do not need training to
ameliorate the effects of a person’s
mental and emotional disabilities.
Emotional support animals by their very
nature, and without training, may
relieve depression and anxiety, and/or
help reduce stress-induced pain in
persons with certain medical conditions
affected by stress.”

If the animals provide a “Task” then they are covered by the ADA. If the animal only provides “Emotional Support” they are not covered by the ADA but are covered by the FAA and FHA.

I hope this answers your question satisfactory as well as other people’s questions as to the difference in “Training” Task” and “Emotional Support”.



234 Aubry 10.24.09 at 12:20 am

Thanks for your info Richard. I’ll pass it on to them. Hopefully they can use it.

235 Richard 10.24.09 at 6:15 am

You are most welcome.

See post 187 too please.

“Emotional Support example: A dog that rolls over on it’s back exposing it’s belly to you for you to pet to calm you down is NOT recognized by the ADA because you would be providing the tactile stimulation to the dog, not the other way around. A dog that paws at you because you are disassociated with reality due to Social Anxiety, is a task the dog is performing for your disability. This is different and could be considered a Service Animal.”

Take Care,


236 Veronica 11.22.09 at 8:01 pm

Service dogs should be required to have a vest-no matter what the breed-with the exception of seeing eye dogs (they already have a special harness). There are people in the world who are afraid of dogs and this would alert them to stay clear. When a family member sees a dog in a store with no special harness/vest another family member needs to run interference. Especially when the breed is considered “toy” in shows and the person with him has a large purse. Training your own dog is fine but he/she should be tested and certified. And to buy vests from stores you should have to provide a certification number. And therapy dogs should not be allowed in public buildings except where they are providing therapy. Miniature horses have been trained for service animals, they even have special shoes to put over their hoofs to protect flooring, they should be allowed but need to have a vest/blanket and be required to go through the same certification.

237 Richard 11.22.09 at 8:43 pm


If you make it a requirement to IDENTIFY A SERVICE DOG then you have just taken away a Disabled Person’s right not to be LABELED, CENTERED OUT, or DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.

What you are suggesting “in my eyes” would be the equivalent of forcing Disabled Americans (a lot of which have unseen or hidden disabilities) to walk around with a BILLBOARD advertising the fact that they have a disability and would cause even more UNWANTED EXTRA EYES ON THEM IN PUBLIC. It would make people treat them differently then others. It also encourages people to come over and question them about their disabilities as well and that is also a NO NO when it comes to asking someone about their disability.

If that is what you want then you have a lot of work ahead of yourself getting the law changed to your likings.

238 Richard 11.23.09 at 6:27 pm


I don’t think I am reading things correctly, could you please go read post number 187 and 233? Then tell me about emotional support again please?

239 Richard 11.23.09 at 6:41 pm


The minute you mentioned “PLANE” now you are talking FAA Laws not ADA Laws and they are different and they do recognize Emotional Support.

240 Naomi Flowers 11.23.09 at 8:27 pm

If people are afraid of dogs, the fact that it’s a DOG might alert them before the vest.

Perhaps you could use a service animal… :mrgreen:

241 Richard 12.01.09 at 3:14 am

PTSD Iraq Vets getting help from Service Animals

242 Naomi Flowers 12.01.09 at 12:06 pm

no, to take a therapy dog on a plane you have to prove its being delivered to a person in need.

243 Sandra 01.25.10 at 2:15 pm

Here is the thing, i have a two year old bulldog as a service animal but i get a bunch of people freaked out buy her because she looks a lot like a pit bull. For those of you who dont under stand the the differance please check out this web site:
It show 20 breeds that are mistaken as pit bulls, please know the breed before you jump down my throat and say that my dog should not be a service animal. and by the way she was in classes with two pit bulls.

244 Katt 01.26.10 at 5:36 pm

Ok, I have been reading all of these comments and I have a few questions that maybe other people with service dogs can help me with. I suffer from panic attacks when I’m by myself. Because of this I have not been able to go anywhere without my husband and it has come to the point that I can no longer work because our schedules won’t allow him to pick me up and drop me off. I have thought about using my dog as a service dog (irish wolfhound) but I’m afraid it won’t be leagal. Now I am teaching him tasks such as to check around my truck at night and to jump in and check the front seat and back seat for me because I am honestly so terrified of someone being in the truck when I get in that I have not driven myself in two years. Does this qualify him as a service dog since I can’t get in unless some one checks? It’s not just my vehicle. I cannot go down a hallway without some one with me now. At home my dog is always with me and it’s ok. At work I have to wait until some one walks down the hallway in front of me which is very embarassing. And last, when I have a panic attack, I forget where I am. I would like to teach him to take me to a secluded location so I can wait it out. If I teach him this is it legal for me to have him? In a way, I feel like it’s just emotional support and from what I understand, they are not allowed where service dogs are but I can no longer function in the world without some one helping me and if I can’t take him, I quite simply won’t be able to go out. Can anyone please help me?? Please email me @

245 Dan 02.21.10 at 3:09 pm

If you have panic attacks, I sympathize, because I too suffer from severe anxiety. However, I have been able to regulate my problem with medication, without having to inconvenience businesses or customers of those businesses by keeping a “service animal” with me. You are not more entitled than any other customer, or business owner for that matter. Your problems are your own, and as soon as you keep an animal with you, you make your problems other people’s problems as well. What if another customer at a business is allergic to your particular kind of service animal? Are their allergies less important than your anxiety?

246 Corrine 02.21.10 at 5:57 pm

Dan-I am going to answer your last question and touch on a few other points in your post, but try not to go on a tangent. I have a service animal trained to deal with my panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and OCD self-mutilating habit and also have bad allergies (in fact I take five medications, to keep them from severely affecting my life on a daily basis). A person is more likely to have an allergy attack from the millions of dander people carry on their clothes from their pets than they are to have one from sitting for an hour in a restaurant or up to 3 hours in a movie theater with a service animal (just to name a few). So though I can appreciate your allergies argument I do not at all find it on the same level as a disability and neither does the Federal Law. Also if we are going to make an allergies argument then it would be easy for me to say no one should be able to wear perfume or cologne because I am highly allergic to them (it’s just a little unrealistic). The second thing is of course no one with a service animal is more entitled. By definition their disability makes them enjoy life less than the average person and the ADA in the United States allows service animals as a form to mitigate the disability and to live life equally to person without a disability. “you make your problems other people’s problems as well.” well now this statement just simply makes you sound like a duche. Clearly you should not be offering advice if you do not have a service animal and clearly you do not know the history of law well enough to know these questions have already been discussed and dealt with. By the way good for you that medication works for your anxiety. I wasted 6 years of my life trying medications that did not work for me and often medication does not work for people so that cannot always be the answer to everyone’s problem (though it is the easiest route). Psychotherapy and having a service animal have far benefited my life and reduced the symptoms of my disability than medication ever did.

Now Katt….I think that a service animal is something you should think about. I think that it could truly benefit you. Having your own dog trained would also be good because it will save lots of money. Let me clarify the difference between emotional support and service animal. An emotional support animal is an animal that makes you feel better just by having them around. If that is all the animal does, be present, then it is an emotional support animal and not a service animal. A service animal is trained to do specific tasks for someone with a disability. For instance having him trained to check the areas before you enter them or lead you through areas with caution is a specific task. I think that would be a great thing for the dog to learn to do. My dog has a natural ability to know when my panic attacks are coming on so I had him trained to come to a halt and lead me to a safer location to have out a panic attack. He also lays over me or puts is paws over my lap during the episode . If a service animal is going to improve your quality of life, I say do it. Life is too short not to enjoy it the best you can. Do some research too though because there is a lot more to having a service animal than one thinks. Ask yourself questions “Can I afford to maintain a service animal?” Annually it costs me about 2,000 dollars with everything they need and my first year with all the training it cost 5,000 dollars. Also “Can I handle what people will think?” Lots of people are going to say things (sometimes hurtful) about you bringing in a service animal and have very little tact (like Dan above). You need to be prepared for all aspects of what having a service animal entails. If you have any other questions feel free to email me at

247 Richard 02.21.10 at 9:08 pm


That is your “opinion” but YOU and other businesses are NOT EXEMPT from having to OBEY the “American’s with Disabilities Act”. So, I suggest you familiarize your self with the “American’s with Disabilities Act” and then if you still have the same “opinion” then perhaps YOU can do whatever it takes to get it changed to the way YOU want it to be. Until then, I would suggest that you OBEY it just like everyone else must do. If you do not there are severe penalties for not complying with it. Here is a video you may want to take a look at Dan that will help you understand it a little bit better.

248 Anonymous 02.26.10 at 2:40 am

I agree and disagree with the changes. I do agree that ferrets, ponys and other non-canine animals should not be allowed into restaurants, grocery stores, on public busses, and other public “no dogs allowed” locations. I think that these animals can be considered “service animals” for people, and for tax purposes, but not be allowed in these public places. I, for one, use a service animals for seizures, but wouldn’t want to have dinner at a five star restaurant next to a pony. A dog is much less intrusive into other’s lives, can lay down quietly while the disabled person is tending to their business.

I do think, though, that they should not limit the type of disability qualifies for a service animal. Some, like the person with the autistic son, needs the dog for emotional support to get out of the house and be able to function comfortably without having meltdowns. Others have severe social anxieties and other social problems where a service dog could be very helpful.

I also think that the size of the dog should be appropriate for the type of service they provide. A teacup chihuahua cannot help with balance or mobility or leading the blind. They could possibly retrieve a telephone, if it were small enough, but they are very limited due to their small size. There should be some logic to which breed is used for which services.

249 Kelly 02.27.10 at 12:02 am


im a mother of an 8 year old autistic child. my daughter has meltdowns some time lasting up to 5 hours. this last year she got a service animal and we have had maybe 2 meltdowns lasting about 3 minutes and in that time princess cuddles up to her and will also protect her from harming her self or any one else. my daughters service animal is a mini horse. her name is princess she is 31 inches tall . if this law changes it will be so hard on my daughter .. princess rides in our mini van and behaves better in public then most dogs i have seen. if this law changes my child will be effected in ways i dont think is fair. and yes i take plastic bags with me to clean up any messes she may make. so please lets not let the DOJ OR the ADA decied which animal will work for a service animal every one is diffrent and so are there service animals

250 Kim 03.03.10 at 9:38 am

I agree my animal is a dog but horses live to be 20+ with proper care so your daughter will not have the heart break that many kids with dogs face as the dog ages, thus other animals do make alot of sense. i have thought of getting a mini horse for my next service animal.

251 Renee in the in Rio Valley 03.09.10 at 2:58 pm

For Rick inWaco:
Hay, Rick, you go guy! I was injured after being involved in an incident, here in south Texas, on 12/31/08, you may have heard about it, some wacko kidnapped & then killed his girlfriend, and in the attempt to flee from police, he decided to take a detour THROUGH the Weslaco, Wal-Mart store, striking and injuring 7 people. My sister and I were the first one hit, as he crashed into the store. Fortunately, we weren’t killed, but we both suffered injuries, both physical and mental. I’ve been in hte health profession for over 40 years, and was here in The Valley, to work, after being recruited from a northern state. I nnoe suffer from severe PTSD, and was looking into getting a service animal. I’ve always been a very independant person, and traveling nurse. I live in a gated, very safe community, and cannot even go to my mail box, because of mt PTSD. This guy had NO insurance. I am well covered, by my uninsured motorist, but, since they will only,”cut you one check”, I have yet to collect any money, until I max out on my policy limits, or go back to work, which I won’t be able to do until I get my injured knee fixed. I have been looking into the posibility of training my own service animal, as I have neithor the money, or time to get one from one of the trainibg organizations. If the laws change, one of the opportunities I was hoping would help me to, “take mt life back”, has just been eliminated. (I raised AKC Collies, for many years, and believe that a collie, or collie, yellow lab mix would suit me well. I have considered Rotties, but am not as famaliar with the breed. I’ve been searching, for a possible match. I know this may sound way out of the park, but I have had ferrets, which, by the way, have been domesticated for thousands of years, and considered this as a possible option. They are very smart and can be trained to do many things. They are especially in tune to people with problems like seizure disorders, diabetes, and emotional disorders. They are also small and easily concealed in a pocket or backpack. Would be interested in any, “pointers” on good resources on training service animals, including personal input. :grin:

252 Elizabeth 03.20.10 at 7:30 pm

The law needs not to discriminate against people with fibromyalgia and/or rheumatoid arthritis, who need their pain management animals. My fear is that the wording of the proposed new law could be misconstrued to stop people from taking their pain management animals with them as needed.

253 Richard 03.21.10 at 6:29 pm

Renee in the in Rio Valley,

What is the lifespan on Ferrets? Why not an animal that lives longer? Dogs live 10 to 15 years. Sugar Gliders live 10 to 15 years too but much smaller then Ferrets. See I am not sure what a Sugar Glider could do for PTSD but they are great for Anxiety, Panic, Diabetes, Seizures (with caution if you fall on them that could be their end) as warning little devices to let you know when things are escalating to the out of control point they are excellent at those jobs.

254 keith 04.04.10 at 4:03 am

I love this new law. I am all for service animals but to many people abuse the law. People know that they don’t have to show proof. So people will lie and say its a service animal. To avoid discrimanation the law needs to change, making it a requirement that all sevice animals must have a vest or tag showing proof that it is a service animal.

255 Richard 04.09.10 at 8:55 am

US DOT 14 CFR Part 382 Rule in effect beginning May 13, 2009

A Personal Note: If you have an inadvisable disability, be prepared to be discriminated against. If you think the only law is the ADA, check this out. They may require documentation (that is against the ADA Rules) I have heard that they will not accept documentation from any other person other then a licensed mental health professional NOT a General Practitioner or a Family Dr. I have also heard that documentation must be recent as in within the last physical year from the date you plan to travel. I think this is Discrimination on the basis of Disability for those with inviable disabilities. Please go here and make your voice heard.

The following website led me to this PDF file


The following quotes came from this PDF Document found here

Page 50
“The Department believes that there can be some circumstances in which a passenger may legitimately travel with an emotional support animal. However, we have added safeguards to reduce the likelihood of abuse. The final rule limits use of emotional support animals to persons with a diagnosed mental or emotional disorder, and the rule permits carriers to insist on recent documentation from a licensed mental health professional to support the passenger’s desire to travel with such an animal. In order to permit the assessment of the passenger’s documentation, the rule permits carriers to require 48 hours’ advance notice of a passenger’s wish to travel with an emotional support animal. Of course, like any service animal that a passenger wishes to bring into the cabin, an emotional support animal must be trained to behave properly in a public setting.”

Page 79
“We also note that, under section 382.117(e), airlines can require passengers traveling with emotional support or psychiatric service animals to provide certain documentation. This information is not a medical certificate in the sense articulated in section 382.23, but airlines are entitled to obtain this documentation as a condition of permitting the emotional support or psychiatric service animal to travel in the cabin with the passenger.”

Page 104
“Qualified Individuals with Disabilities6
How do I know if a passenger is a qualified individual with a disability who is entitled to bring a service animal in the cabin of the aircraft if the disability is not readily apparent?
• Ask the passenger about his or her disability as it relates to the need for a service animal. Once the passenger identifies the animal as a service animal, you may ask, “How does your animal assist you with your disability?” Avoid the question “What is your disability?” as this implies you are asking for a medical label or the cause of the disability, which is intrusive and inconsistent with the intent of the ACAA. Remember, Part 382 is intended to facilitate travel by people with disabilities by requiring airlines to accommodate them on an individual basis.
• Ask the passenger whether he or she has documentation as a means of verifying the medical necessity of the passenger traveling with the animal. Keep in mind that you can ask but cannot require documentation as proof of service animal status UNLESS (1) a passenger’s verbal assurance is not credible and the airline personnel cannot in good faith determine whether the animal is a service animal without documentation, or (2) a passenger indicates that the animal is to be used as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal.
• Using the questions and other factors above, you must decide whether it is reasonable to believe that the passenger is a qualified individual with a disability, and the animal is a service animal.”

Page 110
“Advice for Passengers with Service Animals
• Ask about the airline’s policy on advance seat assignments for people with disabilities. For instance: (1) should a passenger request preboarding at the gate? or (2) should a passenger request an advance seat assignment (a priority seat such as a (bulkhead seat or aisle seat)) up to 24 hours before departure? or (3) should a passenger request an advance seat assignment at the gate on the day of departure?
• Although airlines are not permitted to automatically require documentation for service animals other than emotional support or psychiatric service animals, if you think it would help you explain the need for a service animal, you may want to carry documentation from your physician or other licensed professional confirming your need for the service animal. Passengers with unusual service animals also may want to carry documentation confirming that their animal has been trained to perform a function or task for them.
• If you are traveling with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you may be required by the airline to provide 48 hours’ advance notice.
• If you need a specific seat assignment for yourself and your service animal, make your reservation as far in advance as you can, and identify your need at that time.”

256 Richard 04.09.10 at 9:03 am

Oops I meant an INVISIBLE disability not inadvisable or inviable.

257 Lifebunny 04.15.10 at 11:09 am

It’s been a long while since I last posted, and thought I’d stop by and say “Hi”. Plus, this blog has been entirely too quiet for entirely too long.

I had a monster migraine yesterday (woke up with it – it showed up as though a light switch had been flipped on) that wouldn’t respond to food (sometimes this can help a little) or medication. It was downright blinding and any little noise was unbearable. I still did what work I could around the house (we’ve had a bunch of comings and goings from delivery and repair folks lately), but to say it was difficult to function is a vast understatement.

My dog barked, danced around and kept worrying at me until I finally laid down again. She just won’t give up until I do. Some twelve hours later, yesterday’s migraine finally began to fade to a manageable level and my dog decided it was okay for me to get up.

I don’t need a big dog to remind me that I need to take care of myself. My 6 pound Chihuahua manages that just fine all on her own. We use puppy pads in the bathroom to deal with any potential accidents (she picked up on using those just about instantly), and since she’s a small dog, she doesn’t need a huge area in which to run around to keep in shape (we’re in an 1100 square foot downtown loft apartment).

258 Erin 05.15.10 at 12:50 pm

I think the law is a good idea, animals for comfort are pet’s not service animals, its normal for people to feel comforted by the unconditional love of an animal but it doesn’t make that animal a service animal.

259 Cathy 05.25.10 at 2:02 pm

We need to get a new law pass for puppies in training that are going to be a service dog. they should be able to go out just like a service dog for their training how else are they going to learn to be a service dog out in public. The law should state that the puppy in training must have a uniform on. even if they are self-training a service dog. The United State need to get on the ball with laws like this.
Can you help out buy emailing your local sentor and Governer and legislative,Representatives so they can pass this law but all puppies in training must be 16 weeks old before going out in public. they must know these thing. Lay, Come, Tuck Tail, Stay, wait, sit, and watch me, and shake body when wet from the rain outside, They should never shake in side a public place! Also know heel.

260 barbara 06.26.10 at 1:00 pm

people who have abused, and lied about there dog being a serve dog. My service dog is small and does the same services as a big dog would, he also takes up less room than a big dog. Down the road i may need a bigger dog, but not yet. this new ada law they are looking at is going to discriminate my disablilities. i need my dog for several things. my blood surger can drop and my dog can feel that and fuss to get my attention. plus my dog senses my anxiety attacts, and stress levels and fusses to get my attention. by fussing he stands up and begs to be picked up, that allerts me that something is wrong. he dosen’t bark , he just fusses. if it werent for my service dog, i would never be able tho leave my home. i get very stressed when i am away from home. most places don’t even ask if he is a service dog, with the exception being wal-mart, they ask every time i go into the store. i can’t believe how rude some people are about him being a service dog, yeah right, huph, service dog, and many more. people step on my dog, because of that i take a coat, small blanket, or if i forget those i use papers like the echo for him to set on. that works better for me and the service he provides. putting him in the cart also protects him from being steped on. i have ran into so many rude people sence i became disabled, iam amased at how many rude people there are out there. my little dog is so well trained that he won’t even touch a steak, thats right buy him,he was an exceptionally easy dog to train. this new law from the ada is discriminating against people, with mental problems, and all the other things listed, all the the phobias, etc……… the dogs are providing a service by helping people to stay calm, and able to go out in public with out having an attack, and making a sean in the store etc….. most people don’t even know i have a dog in my cart, he is so quiet, he just lays there until he sences my need for him. buy the time i notice one of my disabilities is kicking my butt its, to late to be able to calm my self . i eather make a sean or leave the store with out spending any money there. I would think the store would want me to stay calm and spend my money in thier store. i can’t believe that the ada would discriminate against the diabled person who needs the dog for mental disabilities. we need to get something together making it known that people are being discriminated against in the new law they are planing to make. i for one can’t believe they are going to try to discriminate against us and our service dogs. monkeys are sometimes uses as service animals and this new law would discriminate against them. actually i noticed that they left only dogs as guide/service dogs.

261 Bonnie Haglund 06.30.10 at 6:57 pm

My psychologist recommended me to get small companion dog. I have already paid a $500. rental deposit. The renters require another $500. deposit to have any dog. Does anyone know if this is legal. I have been disabled for 9 yrs and had a service dog up to 2 yrs ago.

262 Anonymous 07.01.10 at 12:09 pm

If it is an Emotion Support animal, they are allowed in NO PET housing. ESA’s are NOT the same as a Service Dog, but they are allowed in No Pet housing and most airlines are allowing ESA’s to fly as well.

263 Bonnie Haglund 07.01.10 at 1:58 pm

Dogs are allowed in the building. Regular pets have to pay the additional $500. deposit. I need to know if my new service dog would have to pay the additional fee. It’s really hard for one that’s on SSI to find $500 plus all the pet supplies.

264 Bonnie Haglund 07.01.10 at 2:13 pm

The new law stinks. Does the gov. enjoy paying for a week or so in the hospital. My phsyic dr. recommended a companion dog for phsyic reasons. What is gained by this change of law? Who can I write to?

265 Sue Dunay 07.04.10 at 9:55 am

To me as a trainer and AKC evaluator cgc …I think for calming a person down or keeping a person from not being upset from is opening the door of a big box of trouble. People will abuse the situation. I seen it done yesterday, I watch a woman who I knew her dog was fine and she was too my eyes last year. This year the 9 year old yorkie is suddenly a service dog because she loves to hold it and it keeps her calm>? Come on there was no name she could give me as a trainer she just said it was tained at Ohio state. A miracle dog? A service dog trained in less then one year and is 9 years old. She jnust wanted to carry it around so her Dr. wrote a note the dog is a service to her because it calms her. The vet wrote a note the dog calms her. She goes to a printer and has a dog tag printed out of metal reading service dog. In the mean time I’m there in my wheelchair with a true trained 8 year old service dog that was written up in newspapers and trained for a long time not by me way before mytime . She walks away the cop is giving me and the business owned by the community is puplic is giving me a hard time and my dog has its vest on and so many know my dog as a service dog. They ask me when she is Not with me is she okay>! These are types of therapy dogs end of story.

266 Lisa 07.08.10 at 10:37 pm

Dear Friends,

I sought out this sight to find a means to have my daughters ferret certified as her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Working animal.

You see, two years ago she was raped. She was seven years old, not even 40 pounds. Nevermind the horrible details, let me explain to you (and the unenlightened Chris with much to learn and a heart yet to understand the complex physical complications related to emotional and mental traumas) the difference this critter she calls scampers has made in her life.

After the horrible and unexcuseable night in which I speak, my daughter reverted in many ways. Never before had she been a bed wetter, but became one. Never before had she sucked her thumb, but began sucking on two fingers, she began baby talking, would not leave my side, couldn’t bathe alone, sleep alone and became afraid of all people, most especially men. she was hypervigilant, had night terrors, flashbacks, to name just a few of her symptoms.

My daughter is normally a very active, curious, boysterous and extreemly joyful, albight strong willed child. She became shy, solem and obstanent. For those who don’t know, this is common. A travesty like this takes a life time to heal. It takes a life time.

This would be enough handle for any adult, but for a child it destroys so much more. Her innocense is murdered right along with her virginity. My daughter had much to overcome at this point, but this was not the end of our situation. We of course pressed charges and fled. Her attacker pursued us with the intent of murder. He felt if he could rid himself of us, he could escape trial, so after fleeing, re-establishing ourselves he found us again. We were given one hour to pack one bag each to flee from our new environment where we established ties with the church, counseling for our family and financial stability.

We went from millionars to dirt poor in one night, then lost everything again as we moved into a shelter for domestic violence. We lived there the next year as we went through the trial process where, even with DNA evidence her rapist was let go free of charges. during trial, my daughter began pulling out all of her eyelashes. This is a condition known as tricitellimainia. It is unconcious, she does it when she is nervous, stressed or upset. We must still hide. She did not get the closure she needed, and so this adds yet another dimention to her healing process.

When we were able to establish a place of our own again, I got my daughter a ferret. Since then, she has been able to sleep in her own bed. I will not say there are times she doesn’t still come to me, but it has given her the strength to try to sleep alone. She bathes (showers) with the ferret in the tub. He plays at her feet while she cleans herself. Until she had her ferret, she would beg and cry not to bathe, she would sit in the bathroom and cry until I bathed with her. We tried many theraputic techniques, but until she had her ferret nothing worked. she is still not the same with other people, but for those who do not know her, you would never know she (or I for that matter) have any mental and emotional needs that a service animal has the unique ability to address.

You see after two years of therapy at a sexual assualt healing center, we have still seen more improvement from her in relationship with her ferret, just as my Cat Sparrow gives to me when I disassociate or have flashbacks of my own. Animals can read a person. They can feel the anxiety we exude before we are lost to it. The know when we are upset, when we need love and attention and when we truely know our animal, they have the ability to relate to us and keep us from harm.

I need to get her ferret registered so she can carry him to school with her. This is when she pulls out her eyelashes most. Her teachers agree this may be of benefit, but law requires certification. In this environment we have no choice. We take him everywere else and I dare anyone to stand against it! I am an advocate for her needs like a lion is to her cubs in danger! I will not alow shallow minded, ignorant people with hardened and uneducated hearts take from the needs of my daughter because they do not have the capacity to understand. futhermore, who has the right to make her recount her pain to justify her need to have her ferret with her? Could you at age 9 say I need my ferret because I was raped and I get scared if I don’t have him? Would you demand that of her? How do you think that effects her when I have to justify her need?
If anything we look “normal”. What is normal anyway? To be honest, I am damn hot. I would much prefer to be thought of for my intelegence, skills and talents. I can’t spell worth a damn, but I am a nationaly and internationally published poet, writer and artist. I am a war vet with a medical background. I have won awards in voice and other fields of artistry. I am a domestic violence and sexual assualt outreach coordinatior, but this is not what people see…

When others look at me they see a 5’3″, 100 lbs, size zero, strawberry blonde with hair down to her backside. My eyes are striking. I consider them my best feature. My daughter is my carbon copy. She looks just like me, only in a smaller package. We are both strong willed, vocal and eager to educate others. we appear to be “normal”.

So in respose, how do I get my daugher the assistance she needs for her ferret, and secondly what does it take to teach those like Chris that sometimes those who need help aren’t always obvious or sterotypical? who do we alert -Our congressmen? the Senate? do we need to do a phyibuster will a petition gain respect or understanding? There are soooooo many facets of this complex situation I would love to address, but it is already well past midnight.

267 anaxagoras 07.12.10 at 2:33 pm

The proposed definition is terrible.
1. Whether or not my disability can be mitigated by the assistance of a service dog is between me and my doctor.
2. Whether my dog is suitable for service dog work is between me and my vet.
3. Whether my dog is adequately trained to provide the mitigating assistance recommended by my doctor is up to me.
The proposed definition will come down much harder on people like me with “invisible” disabilities. And it will also unnecessarily muddy the water for people with psychiatric and mental disorders. If a dog is specifically trained to provide necessary assistance to someone with PTSD or a phobia, conditions inextricably entwined with emotion, enabling that person to go places or do things that they otherwise would be unable to do, is that dog “doing work” or is it “providing emotional support”? Did anybody involved in the wording of the definition consider how it could be misapplied by ignorant assholes looking for an excuse to deny access?
It seems to me the motivation for creating a revised definition is to reduce the incidence of non-disabled people gaming the system. If so, then the existing law is sufficient. Asking the two permissible questions “Do you have a disability?” and “What service does your dog provide?” are all that are necessary for most people to differentiate between legitimate cases and people who just want to take their pet along. If anything, we need better public education about the existing law, so that the proprietors know they can ask those two questions.
I see this post originated a long time ago–I hope the proposed change was dropped?

268 cathycancer 07.24.10 at 10:04 am

I am a cancer patient. I watch as people call me a faker, or scammer due to having an unseen disability. Rather, I have gotten good at hiding it. I have a cat that is for emotional support. I am responsible for if any damage in rental situations. My animal is spayed, it does not go the grocery store, or inappropriate places. The gets a bath, and is not allowed to roam at all. I have to care about it. Sometimes, I am so depressed about the cancer and it is so hard to keep going. I feel like there is this living death. My cat will come and curl up with me make me laugh in the middle of tears and hopeless days. She is 12 years old. I am in the mist of a second cancer . To be disabled sometimes is a living death, the isolation, the stereotypes, the hatred of others, the employment constraints, the attitudes, especially the Isolation one suffer’s is beyond compare. A pet in a world of many disabled people is so important, versus the world where we are shunned and void of human contact, and now there is a question as to all contact not just human but even our animal. In virginia we were sterilized, forced into institutions, is it coming back due to stereotypes associated with the disabilities. Is American again into the perfection of its people and all others to condemned to a life without rights. I believe the same perfection of the nations people were practiced in Germany. The idea of taking from those unable to fight is not honorable. But it is not the question of honor but physical perfection. No physical perfection means no rights to any comforts or pursuit of happiness, but total Isolation, which in itself is death. But erosion of any Rights is a legal way to kill psychologically, and physically. my Cancer killed Justice Rhenquist, now the justice wants to kill me by stripping rights to work, to have choice, isolation, take away my only possession … one old cat So, I can sit alone day after day, hating the air I breathe.

269 emotionally defunct 07.28.10 at 9:53 pm

I have a service dog, and I can not believe the prejudices that I am reading. First of all, thinking we should have to prove our disability. How would you like someone to ask you to drop your pants to prove your sexual orientation. To me it would have the same effect.
I have bi-polar, agoraphobia, borderline personality, and anxiety disorder. My dog is used to ensure I don’t have a major panic attack in a restaurant or store, and to give me a level of protection. Let me make this clear. While she is assisting me, she is saving you. If I did not have her and you approched me in any way (even to stand behind me in line) particularly if you are male, there would be a violent altercation that I would not be able to control. Some one would get hurt, and I would be back in a mental institution again. So I ask those of you who question the need for a service dog for people with psychiatric disabilites, would you really want me in front of you with your kids knowing I could snap at any time? Sasha keeps this from happening.

270 Richard 08.03.10 at 6:29 pm

Here is the new final rule definition of a Service Animal by the ADA Only Dogs and Miniature Horses are defined as Service Animals now.

No more Monkeys, Cats, Sugar Gliders, Ferrets, Parrots etc…

“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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

“(i) Miniature horses. (A) A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.”

Remember tho for example if State Laws provide greater protection for you then what the ADA defines then the ADA will enforce the Laws which benefit the individual with a disability the best. So for example in NC an “Assistance animal.–An animal that is trained and may be used to assist a “person with a disability” as defined in G.S. 168A-3. The term “assistance animal” is not limited to a dog and includes any animal trained to assist a person with a disability as provided in Article 1 of Chapter 168 of the General Statutes.” so if you use another type of animal in that State you are covered but not necessarily in other States.

Also if you have filled out the form in NC for a Service Animal Tag as required under NC State Law then you had your Civil ADA Rights Violated Twice 1) they ask you about the “Nature of your Disability” 2) they require Proof of Training even under the new law it is still a ADA violation for them to do that.

Inquiries about service animals. The NPRM proposed language at § 35.136(f) setting forth parameters about how a public entity may determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. The proposed section stated that a public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what task or work the animal has been trained to do but may not require proof of service animal certification or licensing. Such inquiries are limited to eliciting the information necessary to make a decision without requiring disclosure of confidential disability-related information that a State or local government entity does not need. This language is consistent with the policy guidance outlined in two Department publications, Commonly Asked Questions about Service Animals in Places of Business (1996), available at, and ADA Guide for Small Businesses, (1999), available at

“(f) Inquiries. A public entity shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person´s disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public entity may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person´s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).”

Here is where you will find the violations.

So if you live in NC and have one of their State issued Tags, I honestly believe someone should start a class action law suit. The State of NC has a record of every Tag issued and each Tag issued violated 2 ADA laws.

271 Richard 08.13.10 at 12:47 am

Richard 08.03.10 at 6:29 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Here is the new final rule definition of a Service Animal by the ADA Only Dogs and Miniature Horses are defined as Service Animals now.

No more Monkeys, Cats, Sugar Gliders, Ferrets, Parrots etc…

272 Richard 08.13.10 at 12:49 am

“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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

273 Leave your "Pets" at home 08.23.10 at 8:34 pm

I can give you a long list of issues I have from a crappy life but relying on a animal for emotional fulfillment/ support is not healthy, that should be left to your own species. Too many people are bringing their pet into places where I eat and shop without any consideration to those who have allergies, sanitary reasons, or just do not want to eat where dogs lay. It is my choice to have a dinner without being grossed out by a flee bitten, no account dog in the next booth. I am all for a service dog in the full sense, such as for the blind or persons in a wheel chair, but when I see people bringing their dogs for “comfort” it encroaches on my right to have a meal without looking at your family pet licking its crotch, or my right to shop in a cart that your dogs ass hasn’t been all over. Stop turning to your animals to fulfill your needs, look towards people, and if you cannot do that, than get professional help, but by God, leave those damn things at home.

274 Robin B 08.24.10 at 2:39 pm

Yes people who bring their PET with them and use that excuss and the dog has no training etc.. should leave the dog at home.
HOWEVER not all people with a disability are blind or use a wheelchair. MANY have bloodsugar, heart, seizure, food allergy issues some have balance and moblie issues like RSD, CP,MS and other medical conditions also PTSD. Service Dogs are trained to alert to these medical conditions so the person can be safe. Service Dogs are a GREAT help to people, SD are also kept very clean, just as you would wash your hair and keep it clean. My SD does not lick her crotch nor does she shake in public she is trained not to do that. And yes if someone puts their SD in a cart they should put something between the dog and the cart. The point of having a Service Dog is to be more independent to try to keep some type of normal life and NOT to depend on other people–sometimes they just isn’t someone to help you 24-7 . The ability to have compassion and understanding for another person’s quality of life is a great gift to share with the world. You seem to be a very angry person who does not like dogs and are assuming that people that are not blind or in a wheelchair are using their PET for emotional fulfillment–that is just not correct.

275 Jackie M. 09.13.10 at 4:17 pm

BIG support for the new law. I’m a trainer and too often I see dogs (family pets) being passed off as Service Dogs to get into public places free of charge. I also believe the dogs should have to be certified with a documented facility, and that trainers need to be certified to train these dogs because it’s not an everyday task. I personally do not believe in emotional support animals at all. Most of the time I find that these animals are untrained family pets that people take with them for comfort. Great; but restrict your comfort zone to places where dogs are allowed. I believe in medication.

Sure, I’m probably alone in this opinion, reading the comments, but I find that service animals are for a service; siezure alert, guide dog, signal dog, mobility assistance…when you start getting into emotional support it’s a touchy area. But I don’t think it’s valid. Would love to see this law put into place immediately.

276 katie 09.15.10 at 1:06 pm

Yes this will definately affect me. I have abnormal migraines, and anxiety disorder. my husband is deployed and overseas. my sharpei is trained to watch for cues when an attack or migraine start so that I can get to a safe place and take my meds before anything bad happens. If I do not take my meds early enough my migraines can have stroke like effects. this new definition may take her away from me when I need her the most.

277 AspergerKids 09.19.10 at 12:10 am

To Kris and others who may have the same concern about your companion dogs being kicked out of your apartments.
Check the HUD laws. They are permitted under those laws as of right now with written documentation from a doctor, psychologist, social worker stating that one is needed for a member of the household.

278 Lifebunny 09.21.10 at 1:59 am

The very good thing about the amended Americans with Disabilities Act is that it now covers those conditions such as migraine and epilepsy that are periodic and which may or may not be controllable with medication. It is also good to note that it may NOT be considered whether or not you take medication to mitigate the disability.

Before the Amendment, conditions that would be controllable with medication weren’t covered.

@katie, I can definitely understand about migraine, as I get them. Fortunately my Chihuahua picks up on them BEFORE they happen.

279 Lifebunny 09.21.10 at 2:02 am

@Jackie M., the Law as it currently stands allows for owner trained dogs, and I’m very glad that it does.

As you are a trainer, I can see where certification requirements would be a financial boon to you, but not all of us have the money to pay for a professionally trained service dog.

However, I and others who have trained their own service animals are not your money making opportunity.

280 Marty 09.23.10 at 9:10 am

Are you kidding me.Unless my dog leads me around or gets my mail she is not a service dog! i used to plan where I would shoot myself so it wouldn’t be to messy when some one found me. I also have panic attacks and got off medication for that within a couple of months because my dog helps stop the attacks. I understand that some people take advantage of this by just wanting their dog with them and they are not well trained but if your doctor knows your dog is well trained and believes there is a medical or psychological reason that you need a service dog that should be enough!
On the other hand if your dog wants to greet everybody or pees on the floor than you should get clue and realize that your pet shouldn’t
going into public places with you.
People should also realize that no matter how well your dog is trained that dogs are sometimes dogs and as long as they are not aggressive and the owner deals instantly with any poor behavior like making any noise or not staying out of the way that that it’s not the end of the world. Without her I would almost never leave be able to leave my house.Wonder what I would with the gun then

281 Lifebunny 09.24.10 at 5:08 pm

I’m glad to hear that your dog is such a great help for you.

A lot of “professional” trainers seem to be pushing to make it mandatory to have service dogs trained by a “certified” individual. Those who wrote the ADA and it’s amended form realized that not everyone can afford to pay for a professionally trained dog.

That’s not cool.

282 renae a armstrong 10.24.10 at 2:13 pm

i think all service animals can be helpful to people with any disability. if it’s a dog, cat, rat, snake, rabbit, lizard, etc., etc., why should some service animals be excluded and some allowed? please write your congressman, congresswoman and/or senator and ask for a letter back.
discrimation to any, hurts justice for all ! thank you, renae & “hairy” (my service animal, 125 lb. ape)…..!?# just kidding…hairy is a service dog i do not mark in any way, until the ada requires it and WE DON’T WANT THAT, right? LEFT? oooops, correct i should say…e-mail me.

283 Marc 11.01.10 at 1:34 pm

Just reading this thread I am utterly flumoxed! So many here people are handycap SNOBS, the message that keeps comming up here is that many of you believe that folks who aren’t as bad off or just plain different from you don’t have a real disability…not enough that so many “normal” people out there treat us like sh*t and second class citizens, we’re doing it to our selfs! Do you people at all read what you’ve posted a day or two after you reacted to some post that pushed your buttons? When it comes to what people need to be able to have a complete life isn’t something that any of us has a right to judge based on a couple of posts. If you are able to make bold proclamations about others then you are a wiser person that I (or conversly you are afflicted with a bad case of narcisitic personality disorder…I wonder if a psy-service cat trained to ignore you would help?) As far as the legitamacy of service dogs (read animals) in public places how about we put the following in place: 1-animals may be either self or professionnally trained but… 2-therapy animals must pass standardized behavioral testing before being labeled as such, 3-No more home-made patches and I.D.s, you can only obtain a cape with standardized logo and photo service-animal license endorced by either government body or licensing body when you provide a)-proof that your animal has completed the necessary testing to be a service animal b)- you have documentation from a doctor of medicine that the animal is question contributes significantly to your quality of life and/or personal safety. Just a note, when I am asked for documentation that confirms that my dog is a legitimate service animal I don’t feel insulted, I’m proud of the work I have done with my dog and what he and I have acheived together..not to mention that it gives me a chance to do a little education.

284 Alonso 11.08.10 at 2:30 pm

I’ve read a lot of these posts and for every argument on why the law is not fair to service animals and their owners, there are as many or more equally valid arguments as to why the law is more than fair.
What about people in public places who are scared to death of animals? What if seeing your animal cause somone to freak out, injure themselves, have a heart attack, etc. Sound extreme? Well, so do some of these posts I have read about service animals and the reasons why they should go everywhere.
There is a very simple solution:
- there should be a way to get a permit, license or something for you service animal. Sorry, but that is the only way to protect you from the the freaks who abuse the law.
- when entering a public place with your service animal, it is your job to alert the owner or workers that you have a service animal and show your credentials. Otherwise, they will assume you are abusing the law like so many before you have.

I own a restaurant and let me tell you, I have seen so many obvious non-service dogs enter my store that i cannot even count them. We have had many issues and complaints from other customers b/c we let the dog in. So, what I am supposed to do? Cater to the 1% of my customers who want to bring their pets in and go out of business or cater to the 99% who don’t want to bring their pets and stay in business?
The only way to fix this is the same way as handicapp parking permits are handled. Plain and simple. End of story.

You can’t have any rule or law that is subjective and up to interpretation each and every time. People are selfish and will violate the rule or law if it is not 100% objective.


285 Alicia Hodges 11.18.10 at 5:06 pm

I am beginning to agree about getting a doctors script and having a special tag. I get tired of questions about my dog. I get tired of the rudeness.

286 Sue Kincheloe 11.18.10 at 6:46 pm

Hi Alicia… I have a letter from the doctor that I carry. Guess what? It still did not help. Hotel in Ritzville, WA turned my husband and I away, and a restraunt in Bandon, OR… Talk about RUDE!!!! I was grilled in the restraunt by the manager in front of all the people. Even after I showed the letter. She had her vest on, she had her i.d. tag and I also, was carring in my wallet an i.d. tag.
I’m sorry, that I’m not blind, I’m sorry that I’m not deaf, but I do have a disability where my dog (toy aussie) alerts me to up coming seizures. What a blessing she is to me, as I can prepare myself if I can’t get to my meds. She is truly my little angle.
I wish people could understand that diabilites comes in different forms and that these amazing animals come in different breeds, colors and size.
I too am tired of all the rudeness, it’s no ones business what my medical condition is.

287 corey 11.20.10 at 8:17 pm

Hi the final draft is out . I am highly pissed.

I use a service cat to alert me to my atypical panic, which aggravates other health problems. the new service animal definition is discriminatory against those who can not use dogs for various reasons.

I have been using my service cat since the age of 2 weeks old he is now 6.
his name is Nighty.

I do not have the funds to keep him as a pet only and also get a dog which IS TOTALLY WRONG for me For various and numerous reasons.

the new definition is a sham in that they are using penicillin to fix all problems so to speak.
I have been bitten by 5 dogs, 1 dog nearly killed me. Do you think that getting a dog to perform the task is right for me? is it going to give me an equal footing as the next person when i am constantly afraid of being bitten or killed??
This is the same thing as giving me penicillin for my infection when I am allergic to it.

My only means of transportation is a bicycle. I live in Minnesota. where it gets real cold in winter and I can go up to 10 miles to get to an appointment. it would be cruelty to the dog to force it to run everywhere in these conditions.
Nighty, I place in a pouch on my chest, where he can best alert me and be out of the way, in the winter he is inside my coat sharing my body heat.

I am also medication sensitive, so giving up nighty under new rule is going to be extra devastating.

I don’t want to go back to the way it was for me before finding nighty and training him myself. I was in the ER often , some stretches every other night. Where I would have things happen such as turning pale blue, or loosing my sight. The medical expenses were horrendous, which the tax payers wound up paying. Since nighty became my service animal he has been able to alert me before hand that i am about to have an episode. if he was on my shoulder he would lick my nose and gently bite it as a way of telling me.
He will hiss, if its going to be a severe one. This also lets people around me know something is wrong and when they hear nighty hiss they also take 2 steps back giving me vital breathing room to calm down and put an end to any arguments.
I am dreading being confined to my apartment, as of march 15 2011. when the new definition goes into effect.

Using a dog in place of my cat, I have had for 6 years is not an option for me.
thanks a lot to those who pushed so hard to have it that only dogs can be service animals , you are responsible for all future medical expenses related to not having my service cat with me. it averaged about 100,000$ a year before nighty came along.

I just want to be able to function , and get through the day with the assistance of my service cat, which is most appropriate for me in regards to alerting me of atypical panic attacks which are severely debilitating to me . I am sick of being in the ER with symptoms that mimic life threatening conditions such as turning blue.

Is that really being self centered, selfish?

Nighty is trained, I can easily control him, he performs alerting for my condition, he helps eliminate almost all hospital visits, he is able to function in place of medication ( due to medication sensitivity) , when he rides in a pouch on my front he goes almost unnoticed. I use a small red heart, engraved with service animal on it. I have been severely harassed by bullies due to my disabilities growing up, I don’t want big signs on me say hey disabled here. He has his shots and I carry his health tags in my pocket.

I am also known around my city as “The man with the black cat” Nighty and I have been an advocate for the last 6 years, educating people about service animals. The different tasks that the different animals could perform. And the access right people are permitted.

Cats are highly trainable with persistence and patients . Only trouble with cats is they need to be trained by the person who is going to use them as alert animals for conditions such as PTSD, Atypical Panic Attacks, Panic attacks. they also need to start young with them as well for the fact cat’s main bonding period is 4 weeks old to 4 months. Nighty was 2 weeks old, when I started training him. He came from a orphan litter. I rolled each of the litter on their back to determine the complacency of each kitten, nighty was the only kitten to stay on his back even while hungry.

This new definition to dictate that only dogs are service animals has ruined my life.

My view regarding that only dogs can be used, truly benefits only 2 groups at the expense of those who actually need service animals to help. they are big business who have been fighting tooth and nail to get all animals banned regardless of how animals help and the organizations that train service dogs to gain in excess of 20,000$ or more per dog.

I agree that an animal for emotional support is not legit in that there is no task that animal is actively performing for the particular disability that person has.

The current new definition of service animal under the final draft 2010 ADA title II” can only be a dog” is a definite discrimination against those who can not use dogs for various reasons. I protest with every fiber of my being, I am tired of getting walked on by others, who think they know whats best for the person these service animals are meant to assist by performing tasks directly related to the disability the person is trying to cope with.

The Guy with the Black Cat

288 corey 11.20.10 at 8:51 pm

P.S. I do have a letter from my doctor and a expired S.A.R.A Certified Service animal card. Which I have not renewed for cost reasons.

Nighty has also saved my life multiple times, couple of times he jumped on my chest while I was sleeping, (before I got my CPAP). I had stopped breathing and he jump-started my breathing when he jumped on my chest, couple other times he brought me back from the brink of suicide. Hell I was making a pros and cons list of why I should stay alive or not, He kept getting in my face literally. When I am in my worse state of gloom he will come find me and keep an eye on me, even when he is sleeping he will wake up come find me.

We are a truly bonded team that works well together.
Does anyone know of a group that is going to fight the definition that only dogs qualify under the protection of the ADA?

My perfered list of capable(task performing) animals is dogs, cats, potbelly pigs, goats, parrots, monkeys, miniature horses and ponies.
Excluding snakes, ferrets, mice, and rats reason i excluded the last 4 is because what actual trainable task regarding a disability can they actually perform??

The Guy with the Black Cat

289 Jenn 11.23.10 at 5:18 am

I’m mainly concerned about the non-visible and visible disabilities “war”. I am one of many people who solely rely on the companionship of my Service Dog for severe depression. I was recomended to get a dog and grow plants in my home for positive healthy activities. I have never been much of an animal lover, due to the fact that I grew up in a Military family and moving often didn’t allow for us to have family pets. The day I adopted my first dog, Duchess, was one of the most memorable days of my life! I never expected to live through my last deep dark era. I gave up on life and myself due to what I thought was one excessive flop at success after another. Duchess knows when I’m feeling blue and is always by my side to cheer me up. She has saved my life many, countless, times. So, please explain to me why the mentally healthy woman, who sits in a wheelchair, due to old age and hip replacement, is entitled to have a “Service Dog” assist her to live every day is more entitled than I to be given constant attention by her “Service Dog”? Fair? Hardly! Fight for the Mentally Ill to be entitled the same disability asssistance treatment as the Physically Ill. Don’t discriminate based on the way people look and how you think they “feel”, you will find yourself too often time, than not,……..wrong. Everyone deserves a “Service Dog.”

290 Jim Bob 11.24.10 at 12:19 am

We need to change the ADA law on service dogs if a doctor says you need a service animal, and you have a doctor note and it lamunated ans small enough to fit in purse or pocket. The Goverment should not be able to say no you don’t need a service dog. But the ADA should be able to state that all service dog have to know 6 tasks and also be potty trained before going out in public this would make sure that the dog is a true SD not a pet!
If your to afraid to show a doctor note then you must just have taking your pet with you!
60% of people that see you already know you must have a handicap our you would not need a SD.

291 corey 11.26.10 at 6:47 pm

jenn – the main reason someone with depression is not allowed to have a therapy animal which is (emotional support is not considered a task ) compared to picking things up, or alerting people to life threatening situations.

Now if the Animal alerted you to the fact that you are in a deep funk (that could lead to suicide), so that you could take action to get help or remind you to take meds then it is a task performed for your disability.

problem is, its difficult to distinguish whether the dog is just emotionally supporting you vs alerting you to the fact that you are in a deep funk. They decided to favor the public and big business and exclude the animal altogether.

Under the ADA the key factor is “performing a task specifically” for the disability

Jim bob- having the ada require 6 task regardless is a penicillin fixes everything approach which wouldn’t work for the following reason:

if every animal was required to perform 6 task specifically for the disabled person then most people who could benefit from the service animal would be disqualified. the people who need fewer tasks performed such as those being alerted to epilepsy or diabetes would not be allowed to use a service Animal, is that the only tasks they would only be performing, is alerting to their condition and maybe getting the medication bag. which is only 2 tasks.

Another note- instead of excluding all animals but dogs, which only protects the business and non-disabled people in public.

ADA should have made a list of all animals that can actually perform tasks such as mini- horses, cats, dogs, parrots (that speak words Quakers, African grays), monkeys, pot bellied pigs. By limiting it to just dogs is discrimination against those who would benefit more from the task that other animals can perform , more that they benefit from dogs. After all the ADA was meant to protect the disabled person’s civil rights NOT business or public interest.

they should have spent more time of focusing on clarifying who has responsibility for what when a disabled person with a service animal enters or a person who does not have a service animal that claims it is.

example putting in a clause that if a person comes in and claims its a service animal and that animal injures or damages the property then the disabled person is responsible for all expenses related, not the property owner. this protect the property owner while protecting the disabled persons right to use a service animal.

Another example is: If a person enters a property and claim its a service animal that is in actuality a pet, or therapy animal, and later is found to be a pet that person is fined or sent to jail for false fraud, because that person would be in violation of health code. The verbal acknowledgment would be legal binding and let the property off the hook for any health violation committed by the person bringing the pet in on false pretense.
Again this protects the disabled, and business by weeding out those that brings pets in due to fear of fines or possible jail time for those who are bringing in pets.

Property owners don’t like animals on their property, because they are under impression that ,they are the ones responsible if someone gets hurt etc.

The guy with the black cat

292 Richard 11.28.10 at 3:15 pm

Service Animal Access Denial Discrimination and BULLYING!!!!!!! Federal Case….. North Carolina CLT Area.
Anyone who will try to defend against me now will be violating NC State Laws and I will name them as a Defendant……..WARNING!!!!!!!!!!I AM SERIOUS I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR BULLYING!!!!!!!

Paragraph (c) makes clear that Congress did not intend to displace any of the rights or remedies provided by other Federal laws or other State or local laws (including State common law) that provide greater or equal protection to individuals with disabilities. A plaintiff may choose to pursue claims under a State law that does not confer greater substantive rights, or even confers fewer substantive rights, if the alleged violation is protected under the alternative law and the remedies are greater. For example, assume that a person with a physical disability seeks damages under a State law that allows compensatory and punitive damages for discrimination on the basis of physical disability, but does not allow them on the basis of mental disability. In that situation, the State law would provide narrower coverage, by excluding mental disabilities, but broader remedies, and an individual covered by both laws could choose to bring an action under both laws. Moreover, State tort claims confer greater remedies and are not preempted by the ADA. A plaintiff may join a State tort claim to a case brought under the ADA. In such a case, the plaintiff must, of course, prove all the elements of the State tort claim in order to prevail under that cause of action.

I have preached here before years ago to others…. “If you do not like the laws then Challenge and Change Them. I practice what I am preaching.

293 Elizabeth 11.28.10 at 6:05 pm

I posted above about my concern for people with rheumatoid arthritis, but I would just like to add that I care about the rights of all disabled people including all different types of disability. I think DOJ is wrong to limit service animals to dogs. I use a cat. I’ve met someone who uses rats, and someone who uses sugar gliders. For every disabled person who finds an animal that can perform a useful service to make the disability less debilitating, I am willing to come together with you to stand up for our rights.

294 Richard 11.28.10 at 9:48 pm

Thus Far I am the only person following in “Edward Lawson’s” Footsteps here…… “Hummmmm Haaaaaahhhh Yeah someone should do something.” Okay, I am………

295 Richard 11.28.10 at 9:51 pm

Oh, I forgot Elizabeth you have been most helpful to me on my case. Thank you for your personal ear and opinions……. Any help I can get is appreciated…….

296 Richard 11.28.10 at 10:06 pm

Just click on my name to go read all about it……. It is on my MySpace Blog.

297 Barbs 12.06.10 at 2:01 pm

I have a retriever. I ALWAYS have people who think She is such a ‘cute puppy’! Once when I passed out in the store, one lady took her and my SD was unable to get away from the lady. BFF happened to see her 3 aisles away from me being held back! 98% of my time is teaching kids and adults of SD. Somes times I just want to scream, leave my SD alone! I am diabetic, and Precious tells me my pain level No one listens , what else can I do? She is well marked and at present wears a large red vest.

298 Jim Bob 12.08.10 at 10:41 pm

I read all post and some people thought Edith was talking about service dog knowing all these 5 tasks and they said they read ADA law and could not find that SD need to know 5 tasks. She was talking about Emotional Support dogs in the first place. Please read Edith Post again. The new law would not bother me one bit. I do think only dogs should be service dogs. Pit bulls should NEVER be a service dog. Not a safe breed!

299 anita 01.18.11 at 1:41 pm

I have a question that I would like someone to answer. If you want to move into a condo community and there is a “one dog only” rule in the bylaws , does the service dog remain as a “dog” or can the person who has 2 dogs claim that the service dog does not exist and that the other dog is their pet , so therefore they can have the 2 dogs? When is the dog not a dog, if they say it is a service dog , is it still not a dog?

could some please send me and answer!!!!!!

300 Lifebunny 01.19.11 at 4:59 am

As I understand it, your service dog would not be considered a “pet”, which is what something like a “one dog” rule would likely cover.

I would, however, contact the folks who oversee the ADA rules and ask them, were I you.

301 anita 01.19.11 at 5:58 pm

thanks for the answer lifebunny, but what I really need to know is if you have the service dog , can you have another dog? the people in question are saying that the service dog is invisable so they say they can have 2 dogs , when we have a 1 dog rule in place. that is why I asked when is a dog a dog?

302 anita 01.21.11 at 4:21 pm

To take this one step further, can a homeowner’s assn. make a rule that if you have a service dog in a one pet only park, that the service dog owner can’t have another pet? I figure that this would have to be grandfathered in.

303 Pami 01.25.11 at 12:48 pm


304 Wendy 02.11.11 at 12:08 pm

I had an inident about two weeks ago in a KFC. I have an Med. Alert Service Dog that goes with me everywhere. I had her with me and had just gotten in to sit down and wait for my husband to come back so I could get to eat. Some guy had went into a fit about her beiing there. I have ID for her on me. He would not listen to why she was there and had stated to my 5 1/2yr. old grandson that he was calling the police and that she should be shot. Needless to say I was on edge and my grandson ended up getting sick from it.
She alerts to my low blood sugar and will let me know in different ways. I did not have her trained to do this. She started on her own to alert me.

The manager came over to the table and I showed her ID to him and answered anything he asked me. I guess some people can just – - – - you off.

305 Robin B 02.11.11 at 5:06 pm

Sounds like the guy at KFC that gave you a hard time was a wack job. I have ran into one of those types at my local library. I am glad you had your info for the manager.

306 Maria Christina 02.17.11 at 11:43 pm

How horrible you and your little grandson had to suffer at the hands of an ignoramus who had no right to accost you. But next time…LET them call the police! For the police will read the interloper his rights before arresting him–not you! For it is a crime to interfere with the duties of a service dog, and as far as “shooting the dog” –how heinous!–depending on the state you live in, it would be a felony or at least “manslaughter” with prison time.

Anyway, sinfully unkind ideas come to my mind…like…the one who traumatizes a small child with his grandmother is the one who deserves to be shot….

The law is on YOUR side. Just remember that. Best of luck,


307 Lifebunny 02.23.11 at 3:52 am


There was no reason that you should have had to show anyone “ID” for your dog. It’s not Federally mandated that you show it, and in fact, the ADA states that such identification may not be required or demanded from you.

I think, were I you, that I would pay a visit to that KFC again with a contact number for the folks who handle Disability Discrimination claims and ask them if they want you to file a complaint about them…

But hey…that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.

My point here is that this is a learning opportunity for the goons at that KFC. Would they rather you got them fined several thousand dollars, instead? I’m sure the franchise holder would be less than pleased about that.

308 Lifebunny 02.23.11 at 3:54 am


For your convenience, Wendy…

309 angela 02.23.11 at 8:09 pm

I just wanted some information. I have a dog I have been using for a mobility dog, cattle dog/ shepard mix. I use him to get up when I fall down, I lean on him when I am light headed and or dizzy, he helps me up stairs and gets items for me when I drop them or can’t reach them due to a fall or being dizzy. I trained him myself, I have used him for about 6 months now, he has a mobility harness and I.D tag. Do I need to buy paperwork for him now. He is also registered with Us Service Dog Regesty. I just want to make sure I have it all right, I can continue to use him right, I do not need him to be proffesionaly trained and I don’t need to have expensive id information do I?
Please let me know please don’t contact me if you are going to be rude or anything.

310 Lifebunny 02.24.11 at 1:33 am

Federal Law says that service dogs do not need to be professionally trained or registered.

In fact, “registries” are only lining their own pockets, as far as I can tell. You don’t have to show identification if someone demands it. All you need to is to inform them politely but firmly that your dog is a service animal, and keep going.

Please take a look at the look I posted a couple posts above. It’s for the ADA website and has all manner of information for you.

The US Service Dog Registry did little more than take your money. I’m sorry. Their “registry” is worthless, unless you got it for some kind of self-gratification. (not trying to be mean here)

311 angela 02.24.11 at 11:17 am

thank god it was free then. Thanks for the info. I just wanted a badge because it looks more professional I guess. I was using my chihuahua for an alert dog and I went to a pharmacy with him one day and he had the badge and the woman at the counter said wow a real service dog has a badge, most dogs that come here aren’t real. So I just thought it would make it easier for me. I went to a resturant about a year ago with a dog I had been trying to train. She was well behaved but the people there were crapy. First I had to say no when they tried to put me in a back room away from everyone, I had to keep an eye on my son. They told me “people may not like dogs’
Then when I went to the buffet with her they came up to me and asked me to leave her at the table when I went. I was using her for moblity and was dizzy that day.
When I tried to talk to the manager I was told they didn’t have one on shift on the weekends.
So I called Monday and explained to her the laws and told her the problems I had had. I was trying to be polite and tell her so they don’t have someone call the cops, and I was mad
I was told no dogs, I said she is a service dog you must by law admit her. she said no dogs again, pissed I said what if someone comes in with a seeing eye dog, again no more dogs, leave it in the car.
Now I know this was illigal and I tried to place a clain with ada and filled out all the paperwork, they never got back to me.
Has anyone else had this problem? What do you do about it?

312 angela 02.24.11 at 11:24 am

Also I live in Atizona and can go anywhere legaly with my service dog, my sister in Tennesse said she wasn’t sure if they were legal to go everywhere there. Isn’t it a federal law, meaning any service dog especially mobility ones can go in everywhere no matter what state? I want to go visit but I need my dog.
I was going to go by plane but they said you have to have a drs. note, I have one but I thought people could not ask for that.

313 Lifebunny 02.24.11 at 1:36 pm

As it offers more protections, Federal laws trumps State law, where service dogs are concerned.

Now, not all States allow a service dog IN TRAINING to go into businesses, so you may wish to check AZ’s laws on that subject.

And I would request that the next time that you hit that pharmacy, you may wish to quietly tell that person with whom you had the discussion about service dogs that “real” service dogs do not have to wear anything identifying them as such, nor does the owner have to carry anything to identify them as needing a service animal or identifying Fluffy there as a service animal.

Not everyone has a “visible” disability, and you are not legally required to explain WHY you have one to any Tom, Dick or Mary who is overly officious in your face.

You may email me at lifebunny1(at) if you wish to discuss this further. :) I check that email more often than I come by here.

Anyhow, here’s a little something from the Federal government’s ADA website that you may wish to copy/paste into something convenient to carry around as reading material for those idiots in the restaurant:

Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability.

People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be charged extra fees, isolated from other patrons, or treated less favorably than other patrons. However, if a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly during a movie) or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

In these cases, the business should give the person with the disability the option to obtain goods and services without having the animal on the premises.

Businesses that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.

A business is not required to provide care or food for a service animal or provide a special location for it to relieve itself.

Allergies and fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals.

Violators of the ADA can be required to pay money damages and penalties.

And, finally…

If you are handy with a printer and a pair of scissors, I would heartily recommend this:

314 angela 02.24.11 at 9:17 pm

I emailed lifebunny and just wanted to get your opinions on the same thing. What do you do when the poeple who have the most problems with are your family? They know all my health issues but don’t think I need a service dog. They think I can walk fine, even though I fall on average 3 or 4 times a week. They know I have issues with going up and down stairs and that I am dizzy or light headed alot of the time. But they still don’t think I need a service dog. They know I have trained him to help me up when I fall, he helps me up and down stairs by slowly going up one at a time with me holding him. I am training him to carry things for me, pick things and give them to me.
Those are secondary tasks, I get dizzy when I lean down. He already helps with my mobility and he very well behaved in public.
As I said before my parents and grandma don’t think I need a service dog. We share cars when we go out to save gas and they don’t want him in the car saying he will make it dirty even after a bath. If I meet them somewhere in my own car especialy resturants, they tell me to leave him in the car, and get mad when I don’t. No matter how well behaves.
They were planning a trip to the zoo in phx a 2 hour drive, they said I couldn’t take him. Service dogs are allowed in the zoo, they just didn’t want to deal with a dog I don’t need. Even though I would be taking care of him, so I didn’t go, they took my son alone. That pissed me off.
I want to take him to the renisance festival and was going to go alone with him and my service dog, then mom said she was going and again said no to me taking Bear so they are taking him without me. I can’t go places with out him very easily. I am afraid I will fall I sprained my ankel and scratched up pretty bad in a fall and he was in the trailer and couldn’t get to me, we were both upset.
So what DO you do when your family won’t accept that you need a service dog? Any ideas will be helpfull. you can post here get me personaly at
I have only had one problem outside of the house at a resturant but it is a constant battle at home with the family. I want them to under stand that i do need him.

315 Bev 04.10.11 at 9:17 pm

Iam a military vet. and I have what you are calling a therapeutic dog.
I have P.T.S and panic attacks without my dog I would not be able to go any where. He helps me keep from going into a P.T.S attack that cripples me and it is not good for me to be in an attack in my car. He is able to let me know ahead of time so that I can get off the road and keep it from going into a full blown attack. He is my life safer so that I can be indepented. Which as a humanbeing

316 Bev 04.10.11 at 9:26 pm

I am a military veteran who has P.T.S. If it was not for my dog, who you are saying is not a service dog, but a therapeutic dog, you will be causing me not to being able to have my right of independtence. My dog keeps me from having a full blow attack and gets me off the road when in my car. With out him being able to go every with me to help me from having the attacks I would have to have a person with me at all times. Which is not what I want.

317 Linda 04.17.11 at 1:22 pm

Mine is a balance issue since a small stroke 5 years ago. While I can go without my dog, I have to really focus and be careful or I end up on the floor. The floor seems to be getting farther down and harder with age, even those 5 years.

My dog is an “anchor” in that I don’t go over backwards when I start to fall if he is with me.

This change in the law won’t affect me since my dog is for mobility.

He is large, an unusual breed for a service dog, but his weight is what saves me from the floor.

318 Lolita Orozco 04.27.11 at 11:25 am

NOT ALL WOUNDS ARE VISIBLE!!! Many vets and others suffer from mental illnesses like PTSD and need their companion animal to prevent panic attacks., or sense when the human is about to have a seizure. If someone has a documented illness and a doctor recognizes the importance of a companion animal for their needs, then that’s all that should matter! I’m so sick of people and their judgemental attitudes; that “overweight slightly damaged” person you are reffering to could very well be a vet who got damaged protecting our freedoms!

319 Robin 05.01.11 at 6:48 am

“Normies” are teh most ignorant and uneducated people I’ve ever known. They have their own disabilities in that they are blind to the needs of those who ARE in need of a Service dog for emotional and psychiatric support, etc. They are crippled in that they are unable to extend ANY type of understanding or “human” Compassion. They are Deaf becasue they refuse to hear what we are saying. They are dumb because they refuse to speak up for what is right and instead, they buckle to treat others very poorly and with a rule of thumb that is OVER demanding. And worst of all, they cause people like me, to not trust, nor want to be around people like them. If I had the money, I would leave this country for some other country with less morons in the land. Every progress I have made is being undone and started in July 2009 by ignorant people in law enforcement ; (a neighbor and cousin to a corrupt deputy who violated my constitutional rights when the assumed a false hood against me and imvolved his cousin and other neighbors to lie about me). I have anxiety issues and chronic depression recurrent. Im tired of ignorant people violating my rights and prying into my medical problems because they actually believe they have a right to do so. I’d like to pry into their problems and see how they’d like it. There are uneducated and ignorant people every where and such people…(if I can even call them that) love to hurt whom ever they can. They are usually extremely unhappy and abusive people as well as type A (for Asshole) types of people. Unfortunately, some of them also exist in government.

320 Alicia 05.02.11 at 7:53 am

I do beleave that animal vests and other disability items for animals should not be sold to just “anyone”. These items can be sold to anyone who wants them. I beleave that a script from a physician should be used to weed out the people who abuse the system.

I have been a very blessed person. I have a dog who was gifted to me. He is a Medical Alert dog for seizures. This dog has saved my life more than 3 times and is more aware of my condtion at times than I am. I have two brain tumors. So you cannot “see” my condition. I know that he is with me at all times though. If you did not look down you would not know he is there! That is the way a service dog is supposed to be! And he weighs 83 pounds!

I just wish someone would control who sells the vests and patches and to whom! It is a federal law not to but these if your dog is not a service dog. But, people purchase them anyway…

321 Sarah 05.26.11 at 2:59 pm

I get panic attacks on airplanes and in crowded areas without my dog. With this rule i wouldn’t be able to fly or go anywhere busy.

322 JT 05.26.11 at 8:59 pm

Animals that are ushered into any reputable food establishment or grocery marts by its owner or service mate immediately present a dangerous public health predicament that violates every health code imaginable. True service dogs are tolerated within such establishments primarily because their obedient training is superb and immediately apparent. Those individuals who without legal handicap qualifications insist on strapping themselves to any animal while entering any public food domain where numerous bacterial hazards will effect a healthy society are guilty of fraudulence and should be prosecuted. The latest popular claim of ” It’s a therapy dog” or animal is selfishly decreed by a vast new wave of mini breed orifice licking, french kissing unfit animal lovers that borderlines bestiality. .

323 Suzanne Peters 05.30.11 at 6:30 am

It is and always will be a difficult situation. I get terrible panic attacks when I am in a crowd opf almost any kind and my well trained 18 pd
service pekingese senses it immediately so I can leave or take medication which prevents a scence where I break down, cry or shake terribly. People laugh at him most of the time because even with identification he looks more like a lap dog. Still he is my savior and allows me so much more freedom. There will always be those who take advantage but it can’t deter those that need our service dogs with us.

324 nina 06.03.11 at 3:30 am

i think that an ESA should be considered a “working dog”i need my dog to do most day to day errands.i have extreme disconfort in public situations and if i couldnt take my ESA with me i would never be able to function normally.they also take the same amount of training that other working dogs require.

325 more dogs 06.03.11 at 3:45 am

I have BPD(borderline personality disorder)and i have uncontrollable emotional fits to rage,depression,etc.My ESA has been trained to sense when im going to have a “meltdown”and calm me.i feel that if he was no longer considered a working dog i would probably be in the pysch ward for “flipping out”on someone.i travel also i hitchike and ride frieght trains and because of my outward appearence im having alot of hassles with transit authorities about my ESA.i have an identification card that i use to make things easy,but some places will not accept an ESA as an ADA approved service dog.I think thats a load of bullshit because my ESA required to be trained just like any other service dog and he DOES provide a service to me.i have also had a caltrain in san jose california deny me to ride the train saying i needed a certificate by the ADA that it was a service animal reguardless of my prescription and identification card.if the law changes i wouldnt be able to do anything nor handle my life without being heavily medicated and i dont see living like that in any way pleasent or happy.

326 Cerisse 06.07.11 at 12:17 am

Two years ago, my ex-husband shot and killed my parents in front of me. I have PTSD, depression, and suicidal tendencies from that horrible experience that make it difficult to cope with daily life. My SD, Hacker, allows me to go out into situations that I find stressful without having panic attacks. Some of the most random things, like police sirens, people yelling at each other, and sudden loud noises, car backfires and other things that sound similar to gunshots especially, can bring on severe panic attacks without warning. I wasn’t very well informed before reading this page and it has been a huge help! I have a well-trained, calm Chihuahua-mix who instinctively alerts and purposefully distracts me when I get stressed out. Since I’ve gotten him I haven’t had a single bad panic attack. He helps me so much! I’ve had negative reactions to every single kind of medication my psych has attempted to put me on, so Hacker is my life-line. I would probably be dead without my wonderful husband of six months and my dog.
My problem is that I need to find something ‘useful’ for Hacker to do. Since I can’t take medicine he can’t fetch meds for me. Apparently merely alerting and monopolizing my attention, something he does very purposefully whenever I begin to stress, isn’t enough to cover him legally as an SD. I previously thought it did. My psychologist was happy to write me a script that allows me a PSD since animal companionship is pretty much the only thing that keeps me sane. If I can’t have him out with me I’m apt to break into tears in a second at a minimum. I need to know something to train him to do that will make him legally recognizable as a PSD, but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone give me some ideas? Presently, I carry the doctor’s note with me and show it whenever asked while Hacker is with me. I haven’t had any problems from businesses and Hacker has always behaved professionally in every situation. He’s an amazing dog!
Any input would be much appreciated! Thank you!

327 Cerisse 06.07.11 at 12:32 am

I should probably be more specific about how Hacker distracts me when I’m having problems. He usually jumps up at my face to lick me or runs around the room until I play with him when we’re at home. When we’re out, he puts his paws up on my leg until I pick him up so that I pet him and he can lick me. Did I mention that I HATE to be licked, lol? In the process of attempting to prevent his kisses I always wind up laughing my head off. He’s a persistent little bugger. :)

328 Jan, a Paps mom 06.09.11 at 7:00 pm

I don’t pretend to understand how this happens but it seems as though there are dogs (and other favored critters?) who are predisposed to helping their owners. I have a Papillon who gets in my face and is pretty insistent with me when my sugar level falls very low. How does she know? I don’t know but I now trust her when she is being a pest like that as she isn’t at any other time. I would love to find a trainer who could help me amplify this apparent natural ability.

I used to have a lab-retriever mix who would get his feelings hurt if I didn’t let him help carry in the groceries. I didn’t need his help and he was not a service dog but probably should have been. He simply wanted to help.

There must be a ga-zillion happy dog owners out there who have such help-mates.

If Americans were more inclined to allow well-behaved family pets in public establishments like the Europeans do we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

To “Chris”: You’re a jerk and your own favorite fan. When you die I hope you go over the Rainbow Bridge since you apparently hate dogs AND their owners (particularly female).

329 Denise 06.11.11 at 11:56 pm

I dont like the new law it realy stinks. I have Asama so bad some times
I end up having panic attacks from it. I have passes out a few times and the last time I ended up having a heart attack from it. My dog helps me to keep calm during an attack and if i need her to she can get my inhaler for me. Befor I got her I Never EVER went out of my house. Since I got her I have lost over 20lbs and am losing more. Its not right for the gov to tell us what. My Doc sugested I get this dog and my life has Verry muched improved. The pedople who are making this law dont have a disablitey dont understand what it is like to go thro life with one and I hope and pray they wont have to but if for some reason they would need a dog or some such animal for what ever reason then I would hope they can see what it would mean for them to have a dog.

330 John 06.13.11 at 6:23 am

This modification of the law attempts to address some abuses which is good but fails to define psychiatric assistance vs. emotional support. Lawyers and law makers aren’t psychologists and most are not disabled so their effort to micromanage or define these distinctions falls short. If people do not respect a law or others over-zealously attempt to enforce their inaccurate definition of the law, the entire situation breaks down. Most people who (incorrectly) attempt to enforce the more simplified original law don’t even understand it.

331 Pami 06.15.11 at 1:20 pm

This is for the person that has migrate (headache) yes you can take the dog out as a service dog. It is doing a tasks to help you out. Also the dog reminds you to take your medication when this happens.
But first the dog must have all basic down first before teaching a tasks.
In my opion it is best to have a service dog vest and patches on then people will more likely leave you alone. Go online to Pup’ She has more different types of service dog patches. I would get the patch that says Access requird by law on top of the vest along with two hand know text and put the other two patches one on each side of the other patch this should help you out 99% of the time And I would also get the brightes color patch that says service dog and a orange or neon pink vest. also they will so the patches on first one free. Let me know how it goes with the vest and patches on! Good Luck!!

332 DIANA 06.23.11 at 10:03 pm

look chris you are one of the most irritable person here obviously you hate animals you are cruel and very opinionated person you know nothing about how a heavy person with mental disease needs a service animal I have a goat name is Helen that she has been to Florida she saved my life more than once I have ban using goats for 13 years they are well behaved and smart you have no right to judge anybody but yourself you just don’t understand mental illness not going outside for years it’s because of people like you that we are turning to animals don’t judge us they love us so what if we’re a little heavy this new law is crap all people have to do is have a doctors permit and a note saying that you’re disabled with the service animal should have to be certified this would solve everything some people don’t like dogs and don’t want a horse in my house but some people might it’s not for me to choose their service animal if people would only love one another and world believe in Jesus wouldn’t the world be a better place to live whatever happened to love your neighbor *Congress goes for whoever voted on this crap they probably never had a disability or even worry about what an animal can do people have different likes I like goats some people like horses some people have rats and so on now you think it’s silly you think we can just get over mental problems but we can’t it’s a real illness I wish I didn’t have it but I do and deal with it I need I service animal to try to have a heart there’s all different kinds of people in the world and we all don’t want dogs: although long horses and some don’t want goats and some don’t want rats that’s what it should be up to what Dr. and a therapist not you Chris think about it sincerely every disabled person out there I hope you have a wonderful service animal and the right to have whatever’ service animal you want and love nobody’s perfect nobody think about it

333 Gina 06.25.11 at 4:12 am

I totally agree with the use of service “animals” but I do think they need to be animals who provide a clear service for their owners. Not animals who belong to someone other than the disabled person and not animals who are pets. I recognize the need of emotional support animals but I think any animal called a “service animal” needs to be registered/licensed as such. A doctors note clearly defines the need, I just think registration through a reputable agency is warranted to weed out the abusers. If your animal is a service animal, then I would think you would have no issue in providing such legal application. The reason being that clarification is a necessity. While one may have a fear of public or other particular circumstances, there are many in this world who equally fear your animal for many reasons and they, too, have rights to not be held in fear without justification and verification that your service animal is safe and does in fact provide service. It has to be equal on both sides. There are lots of people who have been attacked by animals, especially dogs, and they are afraid. Big dogs are a fear, but even little dogs cause great fear in some. Any animal someone feels gives them comfort and support could be a service animal, and a simple doctors note for registration purposes would be easy enough it seems. But I just think you have to consider both sides. No ONE has more rights than the other. I am the mother of a disabled child.. I live this life. I want no discrimination, but I believe in fairness, accountability, responsibility, respect, and safety. My son is frightened by animals. He doesn’t understand that an animal won’t necessarily hurt him. I can’t reason that out of him. I am very concerned about his behavior when he faces animals but I wouldn’t stop you from having one in public. I would hope you would respect his fear and give him the right to feel safe. I would try hard to keep him away from you and your animal. I would hope you might try to keep clear for his sake. Respect. It really isn’t that hard.

334 Peg Meerkatz 06.27.11 at 6:41 am

It is all well & good implenting new laws or updating old ones but there really needs to be a greater effort placed on EDUCATING BUSINESS OWNERS, MANAGERS and SUCH to these laws. I have a small Diabetic Alert Service Dog who also does some “mobility” tasks. I have MS and Insulin Dependent Diabetes. I am REPEATEDLY QUESTIONED about my dogs status what I find is that while many people are familiar with Guide Dogs for the Blind very few people are aware of Service Dogs. I had a hospital security guard get very irate with me because I was not “blind” yet I had a dog with me. The bext day when I returned to the hospital to visit my mom the Security Guard DID NOT try to stop me but as I walked passed her another employee said something to her about the dog. She replied quite loudly “Yeah we are supposed to believe that she is blind & that is her guide dog – what does she think – we are stupid?”. There are still MANY post offices in New York that at the entrance have signs reading “No Dogs Allowed EXCEPT Guide Dogs for the Blind” and I was THROWN OUT (refused service by 2 post offices for REFUSING to leave my dog outside). I am in the process of starting a corporation that among other things will seek to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC about Service Dogs PARTICUALRLY SMALL SERVICE DOGS.

335 Tonya 07.08.11 at 9:17 am

I think bunnies should be added I am ok with the rest of it as a person who has a comfort animal I know what it means not to be around said comfort animal…..He brings me joy and comfort when I am not feeling my best keesp me from sinking into deep depression and helps me deal with the world on a daily basis…when no 2 legged comfort is around my baby polarbear is always around….I have anxiety and depression issues so I would be lost without him he keeps me from being overwhelmed and feeling lost…More needs to be gotten to the public about these wonderful creatures that do more than all the medications in the world.

336 Megan 07.10.11 at 2:55 am


Learn correct usage of the English language, particularly: their vs. there

337 Ken 07.12.11 at 7:33 am

Was the proposed definition as stated above from back in 2008 ever adopted? If so where do I look for it?

338 dave 07.28.11 at 1:17 pm

Well, yeah, it would effect me. My girlfriend has extreme panic attacks in crowds, fast paced environments, loud places. I wouldn’t be able to take her to dinner, or a movie, or go shopping like normal people without the emotional support of the dog. That’s not fair. She needs the dog and why should she have to stay home or wait outside places, or not eat out, or not see movies, or go Christmas shopping. America needs to quit being a deusch bag.

339 Nancy 08.04.11 at 3:23 pm

It is wrong!!!!!!!! I have a dog right now and she is only a Therapy animal because they have no medical proof of seizure. So what am I to do when my apartment complex makes me get rid of my dog. Or even when I drop something she will get it for me or she helps me out of my chair… Where is the fairness in all of this….?

340 Loran 08.28.11 at 11:43 pm

Well I have a goldenretriver/ lab mix that is med alert as well
as therapy, I havea number of health issues and she ither will
try to get me home or to hospital. What with sleep ap as well.
The big bug with me was when local food bank was reuesting
Dr.s orders and copys of my script for her as well as my disabilty
and her papers for “there records” I was told that I could not bring
her into the building with out that. Party that made the request
was let go for “cause “. However I have filed a complaint against
them before I had heared that she was gone
and after her rants infront of other folks I am not going to let them
off the hook.

341 Vicki 09.01.11 at 7:23 pm

This is to Chris…….I have to agree that too many are trying to get family pets of all types across as service animals illegally. Sometimes those pets are service animals legally, like my dog. She started out as my pet until I realized she had a very special gift. She could sense my seizures up to two hours before they happened. That is something that has to be a gift to a dog and that they cannot be trained. I was lucky to be given my precious angel. If you were to see me on the plane you were talking about or in that lineup, I hate to say that I would be that one you would pick out. I am that middle aged woman that is ,what society considers overweight. I don’t have much money so I would be considered very homely or common looking to the world’s standards, and with my seizure disorder and short term memory loss I guess you can say I am semi brain damaged. So as one disabled to another, think before you start stereotyping others.

342 gina lo 10.17.11 at 11:35 pm

What about those folks who have a fear of dogs or are allergic to them? I think it is a shame that people abuse the servie dog laws in order to take their purse pooch everywhere they feel like. These animals are not trained, certified or often unleashed. What a joke? Truely professional dogs such as police or seeing guide dogs are easily recognizable and beautifully trained. I was in a library where a “Service” dog pooped in the lobby and they would not clean it up and a child stepped in it. That is terrible.

343 Jeff Benson 10.23.11 at 7:45 pm

Politely, we all need to refer to working animals as the ADA has titled them “Guide” nolonger is specific to “Dog” and now includes “Horse” while not every “Guide Horse” assists a visually impaired or blind handler.

I appear to have no sense of humor in here, while I reamin within the boundary of this Message-Board-Room subject.

344 mandy 10.24.11 at 10:08 pm

My husband’s service dog is a Yorkie, which makes everyone look at us funny. We were actually looking into a special program for service dogs for disabled vets, but decided to get a family pet while we waited. Amazingly, the puppy we got showed incredible intelligence and was automatically helping my husband without training. The dog is amazing. My husband suffered from a severe brain injury in Iraq, as well as some physical injuries. The dog basically manages my husbands schedule during the day…when to wake up, take meds, go get kids from school. But he also reminds him to turn things off (like the tv, or the stove.) When outside, he stops my husband from crossing streets without looking, and helps him find his way as he frequently gets lost. At home the dog is able to locate many items as my husband frequently loses things around the house. (He also helps our children in this capacity, as well as the street crossing when they are around.) One day he suprised me by coming over and pawing at my mouth repeatidly. At the time I didn’t know what he was doing, but since I have learned that he is able to identify when I’m going to have a diabetic episode. He has been such a blessing to our family. We are affectionate with him, because we love him, but he is still a full time working dog. So people might look at my husband is a slightly over-weight, middle aged man who totes a fru-fru dog with him everywhere, but I know he is a man that gave his everything in service to his country and now he has a wonderful dog who is serving him.

345 Debbie 10.27.11 at 4:34 am

Although I do have siezures, they are well controlled with medication so I do not require a service dog. The reason I am writing is because there was a discussion at my son’s work today about girls coming to the bar with a chihuahua and saying it’s a service dog. They were wondering what the laws were. I thought that all service dogs were required to be licenseed and wear a vest. After looking that up I see that’s not the case. I don’t think the definition is what should make the difference. No matter service they provide to that person they should all be licensed, with I.D. card and required to wear a vest. It’s just wrong that people can get away with bringing a dog into a business just by claiming it’s a service dog.

346 Just Me 10.27.11 at 1:03 pm


The sad fact is that you don’t pay attention unless a law, or law change, affects yourself or someone you know. I’ve known for years that I would have to have a Service & Support animal. Until this year, I did not have the ability to care for such an animal.
I am diagnosed with: diabetes, RA, sleep apnea & that is just the majoir physical problems. I also have bi-polar, clinical depression, PTSD & major panic attacks. I have a kitten, Mela, who is worth my weight in gold. In the —— weeks she has lived with me she has woken me six times when my blood sugar dropped below the 40′s. Mela has since taught herself to alert me during the day when my sugar is bottoming out. I have a documentted record of blood sugars dropping into the 30′s with no warning or cause. I can’t count the number of times she has fussed at me to eat during the day.
I was on oxygen at night until the test results of the testing for sleep apnea came back. Mela would wake me when I pushed the oxygen off. When I got me VPAP machine, I would actually take it off in my sleep. Again Mela woke me. She has never been a cuddling kitten, but she does come to me before a panic attack & is loving & cuddles with me. This has boken the stress before a panic attack gets out of control.
Mela is self taught, she is alert to my needs & has been a WORKING Medical Alert Animal from the time she came into my life. You would think that these statements would be enough, and they are for most airlines & hotels. The “Greyhound” (this includes all the smaller bus companies that work in conjuntion with Greyhound Bus Lines) that services the area I live in refused to allow Mela to accompany me on a recent trip. I will never again use “Greyhound”. I survived the trip, but the stress of not having Mela there if a problem occured during the night is not worth ever doing so again.
There are several points in the new law (ADA 3/2011) that are just so wrong it needs to be changed. Who says ONLY dogs are trainable to be service animals? What about those of us who need Service Animals, that are alleergic to dogs? Take allergy medicine? I don’t think so. I am on so many drugs now that it is not funny. Every new drug added has to be carefully studied for interactions, allergic reactions & wether or not they will work with my system.
I am lucky that I live in a small town, where most everyone knows that I have disabilities (yes, I am 100% diabled) that I don’t have problems taking Mela everywhere I go. We are both training each other, some days I am slow to understand what Mela is telling me. She does get very loud at those times, until I catch on.
We need this law changed, it is badly written, there are no controls (trained & certified …but it is voluntary to register your Service Dog). It discriminates against people with allregies & totally diccounts any other animal that has been a Service Animal, until the law said they weren’t.
The way to change this law is political; call & write your state & federal officials. Don’t stop with one call or letter, keep it up. Also we need to band together as a group & use exisiting groups to help us.
I don’t have to have “DISABLED” written on my forehead, I don’t have to prove one thing to the public. The reason I want this law changed is to protect all Service Animals, mine included.

347 Pami 11.07.11 at 7:06 pm

People need to read the ADA law again. Lots of people say their service dog only needs to know one task, but Under ADA Laws it say taskS what does (S) stand for more then one. So if your dog only knows one task it can’t be out in public as a service dog yet Please read ADA law before saying something you don’t know. You may be getting someone in trouble under the fedral law.

348 James 11.07.11 at 7:19 pm

I was on the City bus in Bremerton, Wa with my service dog and this other lady that was with her service dog was asking me if I owner-trained (self-trained) I told her yes I owner-trained and she said yes too.
She told me in six month the new law will be where people can’t self-train their own dog to be a service dog anymore. I ask her why? She said to many people are faking having a service dog, so they can just take their pet dog with them.

I looked online and could not find this as a new law I’m I looking in the right place. Please let me know what website this new law is on.

349 Pami 11.23.11 at 2:45 pm

Ths is for SILVERSTAR 98121 yes a (Agoraphobia) is a service dog by law. It is called a Psychiatry Service dog or Psychiatry Assistant if you do have this type of of SD You can go online and get one of these type of patches if you don’t see the type you like go online to Pup’ and ask Lisa to make the design you like it to be for a patch. Also let her know she can use this on her website so other people can buy it. Ask her dose it cost more for a new design patch. Or you can just get the Bar patch that says SD on it and put one on each side of the pocket and on top the ACCESS REQUIRD BY LAW patch on top of vest I would have her sew them on.
Let me and other know how it goes when out in public with these patches on. I know by ADA law you don’t need any thing on a SD but it help 95% of the time. And people know its a true SD.

350 Blair 11.23.11 at 2:59 pm

People that have Absant Seizure can still have a SD out in public it alerting them that ones coming on. And to find a safe place to sit down. This SD are Medical Alert Dogs. If you don’t know what you are talking about don’t write in the blog, learn first what type of work a service dog does. I have one and I have these patches on both side of my orange vest and on top I have Absant Seizure working dog patch on. And same color leash and collar. Please look on all the service dog webite to find the best patches out there. There are lots of SD websites that would make a design for you that they don’t have it just cost more.

351 1pegleg 12.01.11 at 5:46 pm

First of all, does anyone know where I can find Fed Regs on the subject of whether Service Dogs are required to be leashed?
I am a Below Knee Amputee , I have a defective spine and am Hearing Impaired. I have a 12 y.o. Long-Haired Chihuahua, “Bandit” who has served as a Hearing Dog for 11.5 years, who is not leash trained and has not been on a leash in nearly 12 years.
When he was a pup, I tried to leash train him with the help of a Cert. Dog Trainer; twice. First attempt I was on one leg and crutches and he got wrapped around a crutch and pulled it out from under me and I went down face first…broke a tooth. Second attempt I was wearing my prosthesis, but he got wrapped around it, I couldn’t feel it (of course) and down I went. So I said to hell with this and we trained him to not require a leash. Obedience comes strictly by using verbal and hand controls. He never strays from my side, so he’s not had a leash used on him in all these years with nary a problem. In fact, I don’t even own a leash!
Yesterday while at the VA hospital in West Haven CT, I was aggressively confronted by a Campus Cop for not having Bandit on a leash and I was threatened with arrest because of it (that and my “bad attitude”. I was forced to pick Bandit up and in doing so, I re-injured my spine.
These wanna-be VA cops keep telling me “it’s the law”, but nobody has ever shown it to me or even told me where to find it….which I find curiously odd….like having smoke blown up your ass.

SO….does anyone have any knowledge or ideas on where to find this “law”? (besides Google)
Thanx to all. Power to the Gimps!!

352 Lillybeth 12.05.11 at 8:10 am

To Chris,

It simply amazes me that you harshly judge these women. It’s absolutely horrible of you to believe that your opinion of their situation is true. I cannot change the way you view people, but maybe your heart can be a little softer.

Through college I supported myself as a firefighter. I surprised my team and trainers in passing the course in spite of being thin and gangly. In 1998 I was injured off duty. I could no longer bear heavy loads, and went back to my home state of TX. Back home I spent as much time with family and friends as I could. Out with a gaggle of friends one day, I was approached by a scout for a modleing agency. I laughed it off, took the woman’s card, and continued the day. I told a friends mom about the encounter, thinking she’d get a giggle out of it. She told me the woman was on the level. I needed money and took the job.

One night when I was actualy home, a friends child was hospitalized and she called a bunch of us to be with her for prayer and support. I stayed late. I shouldn’t have. I walked out of the hospital to the parking garage and felt this sharp crack on the back of my head. I came to inside the hospital. My face, my chest, my legs, my hair hurt! I was attacked by a stalker. Later the police would tell me that he had intentions of doing unspeakable acts to me, then killing me. If the security guard at the building next door had not seen me walk to the garage followed by that monster I would be dead. He managed to brutally beat me, but I’m alive! I am still here to see the sun shine.

The blows to my head resulted in brain injury. I now have epilepsy. The encounter with that man had left me with post traumatic stress dissorder. I’m not beautiful any more. My gracefull walk has been replaced by a limp. I am heavier. But I’m happy I’m me. My service dog provides siezure alert as well as comfort. I don’t know what I’d do without her! When she was given to me, my world changed. I was able to live independently without fear of having a siezure and not having aid. I was also with a buddy. A constant companion. Granted, she’s no lap dog. She’s my 90lb black lab of love and support.

Please Chris, don’t judge so harshly. Some of us have legitimate reasons for clinging to our dogs. My dog doesn’t turn her face away from my scars. My dog doesn’t make fun of my limp. You would look at me and just see a fat brainless ugly hag. But she looks at me and sees her best friend. I thank heaven for her every day.

353 Ann 12.14.11 at 3:19 am

I just wanted to ask for some advice: What do you do when a false complaint is made about your service dog? I go to the movies every weekend with my service dog. She’s exceptionally well trained. She’s also a small cute little dog which people always want to pet, ignoring the fact there are two huge STOP – DON’T PET signs on either side of her vest. I’ve finally got to the point of putting my purse in the seat next to her so no one can sit next to her in the movies and mess with her. If you’re wondering, I get a child’s booster seat, put a towel over it (that I bring) and place it in the seat next to me, then my purse and jacket in the seat next to her to ensure no one sits next to her if seating permits, or I place her between my friends and I if seating is limited. She sits on the seat because in the dark people can’t see her on the ground and have stepped on her before. Anyway, one weekend a woman saw my dog and completely flipped out, wanting to pet her. I politely told her she couldn’t because she was working. The woman wasn’t thrilled but then decided that she wanted me to move my purse so she could sit next to her. I asked her to please pick one of the other numerous unoccupied seats, that I had placed my things in the seat. She was less than happy and walked away. I went back to talking with my friends and my Service Dog continued to sleep (as she usually does during the movies). Well, I don’t know for sure but 10 minutes later a manager came into the theater, walked up to me and loudly started to proclaim that someone had complained that my service dog was barking and being disruptive. I turned to look where she was still sleeping and told him she had went straight to sleep when we got there, that she hadn’t barked. My friends backed me up. That should have been the end of it, but it wasn’t. He stood there and lectured me for 20 minutes, actually holding up the start of the movie. I’m sure he was hoping he could harass me into leaving, but I didn’t. He finally gave up and left. He did this in front of all of the other theater patrons and loud enough for everyone to hear. I was mortified and near tears. I didn’t go back for 5 weeks. I wrote a letter to the district manager but never got a response. What do I do if this happens again? How can I prove that she didn’t do what someone accused her of doing? People take such offense when I tell them they cannot pet her, although I try to explain and say so as politely as possible. I’m just a little shaken up by the whole thing.

354 COMMON WORKER 12.15.11 at 7:21 am

I think anyone who needs a service animal should be free to use one that works for them. I work for Wal -Mart and all we are allowed to ask is “Is that a service animal?” If you say yes, whether it’s true or not you’re in the store. And it is abused every day. I applaud anyone who overcomes disabilities. I abhor people who take advantage, they are the ones making it harder for us all. The law should not be about types of animals, but how to close the loophole for the abusers.

355 Lucina 12.17.11 at 12:40 am

I have a service dog, she is a Lhasa Apso / Maltese mix. She is a petite dog (13lbs) and she is adorable which is why people and children want to pet her. My dog is trained to stay focus on me; when people ask to pet her I cannot find it in my heart to say no, especially when they are children but I let them know she is trained to be aloof (which she is) and make the visit brief; this is pleasing enough for both sides.

Very often I’ve had people ask me what my disability is. I am astonished by the blunt question but have no problem letting them know I am asthmatic and she is able to detect an attack before I experience the warning signals. Further, she’ll fetch my inhaler and in a serious situation she’ll bark continually until help arrives. Otherwise she does not bark.

On a non-stop trip to Europe she sat under my feet the entire time without moving unless told–by me. When I am sick, she will not leave my side. She won’t eat and my husband has to carry her out to do her business–I don’t know how she does it but she holds it in. Everything I eat or put on my skin she smells. If she detects an ingredient I am allergic to, she pushes it out of the way; if she approves she leeks my hand or my face.

Generally speaking I never have a problem taking her everywhere I go but there has been the occasional restaurant that politely oppose her presence not because they have a problem but because there are people that complain and believe the only service dog allowed should be one for the blind.

It would be good for these people to know that my dog is probably cleaner than many humans. She will not pick up anything off the floor including food from her plate she might have accidentally spilled. She cannot be bribed, either. She will not go to the bathroom unless it is grass or indoor emergency grass. She does not leek herself–perhaps because she is cleaned daily like a toddler. She even gets her teeth brushed every night before bedtime!

It is unfortunate that there are impostors that make it difficult for the rest of us. I can’t blame the place of business entirely i.e.., restaurants, airlines, etc. and for this reason I think it is necessary to impose some type of regulation in which certification of training is necessary.

If the owner trains the the dog which should be allowed for those that cannot afford a professional there most be a way to prove the dog is properly trained. I am of the idea to register your service dog but the cost should be affordable. This should not be a venture to get the government or individuals rich off of the disable, the idea should be ONLY to regulate the abuse.

Those of us that have a real service dog will suffer greatly if not allowed to take our dog with us everywhere we go. As someone mentioned on this blog, it will prevent us to freely go about our business because we depend on our service dog. In some cases it is a matter of life or death. There were times when I’d end up in a emergency room after a nice restaurant dinner, although I was specific defining what I could not have. I am not blaming the restaurant, this is just a fact I’ve had to deal with most of my adult life.

And, YES! There shoul be a law against businesses on the internet selling certification for $250.00.

356 PuPPyLoVeNs 12.20.11 at 3:25 pm

I have a High anxiety, panic attacks, and drepression when i’m around people and even in my own home… but when I have my best friend (my little Chihuahua) with me where ever I go I feel a lot less stressed, and a lot more confidence out side my home and with people in strange places!!!!

357 Diane 12.28.11 at 2:33 am

This is ludicris, I have a Pig Tailed Macaque monkey that is my companion for high anxiety and panic attacks. I live in Jakarta Indonesia and in less than 25 days wil be relocating back to Texas. I have been told by Center for Disease Control that under these circumstances I cannot bring my Monkey with me. I rescued this Monkey at 1 week age and hand raised it as a companion, has all vaccines and has been cleared for any contagious disease. To make things worse I have written permission from the Indonesian government to take the monkey with me to Texas. I am so stressed over what to do, I may be placed back on medications that have a serious suicide side affect. I guess the USA would rather we all be drug addicts than have a companion animal other than a dog or cat.

358 dog harnesses 12.29.11 at 9:07 pm

When you’re contemplating a choke chain collar there are a number of collars to choose from.

359 Connie 01.18.12 at 11:55 am

My question is, as a librarian, how do I know if this animal is really a service dog? I have no problem with service animals, in fact I know they are a genuine asset to those who need it. But what about the boy who says his dog is a therapy dog, but he has a different dog every time he comes in? Last time it was a puppy so young it could not have been potty trained let alone service trained. Yet he insists it is a therapy dog. Then there is the elderly man who says, “Of course it’s a service dog. He’s my best friend and I don’t go anywhere without him.” Does that qualify as a service or therapy animal? How do we ask a disabled person without offending? It would certainly help us if service animals wore a vest or tag of some sort. We have two small children, who frequent the library, who are extremely afraid of dogs. What about them? Don’t they have rights as well? HELP.

360 C-A 01.31.12 at 10:25 am

I have an ESD / Service dog who is a Recued Chihuahua. He is well behaved, potty trained (will go on command before entering any building or home) Goes to the YMCA with me and makes sure I do not overdo anything. You see, I have SEVERAL medical issues going on, my dog was never trained by any professional, and the only ting I trained him to do is to sit and potty on command. He has continualy alerted me to whenever I am about to have a TIA, or if I am about to have an axienty attack from having too many people around me, when my breathing changes and I need to use my Inhaler, when someone is coming up on my left side ( I am blind and deaf on that side) Or even if my blood sugar is getting too low. I say again, he was never trained to do any of these, but he has picked them up just by watching my retired service dog ( a 2 pound chihuahua, going blind, so retired but will live wth me for the rest of his natural life!!)
My phyciatrist and doctor both agree I need an esd / serivce dog due to my medical issues., So, with everything my 6 pound rescued chihuahua does for me, is he not a esd/service dog? I believe he is as he has saved my life many times. He even sleeps on the bed with me, wakes me up when my breathing stops and brings me my inhaler if I need it. So what kind of dog is he? Pet, ESD, Service, what is he?
Pissed off that most people think that only labs can be of service to help people!!! I can’t have a big dog due to other issues I won’t divulge, so a small dog is my only option, and may be other’s option as well. So why critize people for big, medium or small dogs. Not all service animals are labs!

361 Robin B 02.03.12 at 3:02 pm

To Connie,
A therapy dog does not have the same access rights under the ADA law as a service dog. If the boy is there for a program that the library has using therapy dogs then that is fine..they use therapy dogs to visit sick people in hospitals and for reading programs at schools and library. They are not service dogs. However if he is just bringing the dog in with no reason then, no he can not.
As for the person saying that he never leaves his dog at home…well as of March 2011 comfort animals and emotional support animals are no longer covered under the law…due to the fact that people would bring all types of animals with them, pets are pets. This was causing problems with biting and pooping etc…so the law was redefined only dogs are used for service work with the exception of miniature horses used as guides for the blind..which I don’t think you would see to many of those
you have the right under the law to remove any dog that is not a Service dog and by law you have the right to ask what task the dog does for the disabled owner but you cannot ask what their disability is. A person with a real service dog should know the rules/law and be fine with those questions…I am….hope this helps, you can get more info from the ADA

362 Robin B 02.03.12 at 3:07 pm

To Connie
And I forgot to tell you there may be times when a person will bring in a puppy in training for a guide dog or service dog some states allow service dogs in training access just like service dogs.. others only allow service dogs in training from a program, check out the laws in your state..California allows service dogs in training for owner trainers and well has programs. if the pup makes a mistake and goes to the bathroom the trainer should have the cleaning supplies with them and clean up, this could happen with a pup..sometimes..:)

363 Dave 02.03.12 at 3:14 pm

the problem is those who ABUSE the system ! I bet for every one who is legit. there are 24 abusers. I had a women on my bus with 2 dobies. “These are my service animals” yeah right ! Unfortunatly the ABUSERS make it hard on the rest of the world…….. the rules as far as I can see are very vague………..

364 Robin B 02.03.12 at 8:27 pm

yeah, I only know of one person that has is her guide dog..the other is her small medical alert dog. Two dobies…she’s a faker, you can have her removed under the law…I find it very hard to believe a faker will sue, because they will have to prove that both dogs are service dogs and that is not an easy thing for a faker to do.

365 william frail 02.12.12 at 8:59 pm

I’m tired of everybody carrying pets into stores and expecting everybody to put up with their foolishness. There is a difference between a service animal, comfort animal and a pet. Service animals provide a service! Please don’t whine about how you need FiFi the wonder mutt in your arms because you’re an emotional cripple and have Fibromyalgia.

366 ANNOYED! 02.13.12 at 12:26 am

I am a Front End Manager in a very large and very busy grocery store. The store policy does not allow for animals in the building unless they are service animals. A woman came in today with a puppy on a hot-pink leash. I approached and politely let her know that company policy did not allow for animals to be in the store. This woman snapped at me that the pup was a SDIT. When I asked if she had any papers or credentials she very rudely informed me that no, she did not. She said that she didn’t have to have any identification for herself or the dog and said that I could only ask her 2 questions. I asked if she answered to anyone or had a supervisor that I could speak with. She said no. She was very aggressive and beligerant and starting rattling off all this stuff about her rights and how I basically had none. She finally asked me if I was telling her to leave. I said no, but I did need to call the store manager. When I went to call, she left the building. Where can I get solid, legal documentation regarding dogs in training and identification? Obviously there are no regulations stating that these people can be rude. Seems these people should have some identification as well as accountability for their behavior.

367 Robin B 02.15.12 at 5:33 pm

You can look up the laws/rules for service dogs in your state…some states allow service dogs in training..(how else would the dog be exposed to all the social situations it needs to get accustomed too, makes sense)
However not all states allow service dogs in “training” to enter all stores, if the dogs are not from a program that trains service dogs or guide dog.
And the person was correct there is no..Papers, credentials, registered, or certified service dogs or guide dogs, not in the United States it is NOT required under the law.
However some service dogs that came from or went through a program will have an ID, but this is just for back up, again NOT required by law. Not a lot of owner trained service dogs will have this ID and by law don’t need one. They are also not required to wear a vest, but most do to cut down on access issus..makes sense. And a service dog can have any color leash, that does not matter, a person likes pink they use pink. If someone is training a puppy and the pup has an potty accident, the trainer should clean it up right away (just some added info)
You can look up the ADA laws for service dogs to learn more at
You can ask the person if their dog is a service dog and what tasks the dogs do for them, But you can not ask them what their disability is. Now, even if the dog is a service dog, IF and only IF it is out of control barking, trying to bite etc.. then under the law they can be removed…but this would be VERY unlikely with a real service dog.

And as of March 2011 under the ADA law only dogs are recognized as serviced animals. And comfort and emotional support dogs/animals are not covered under the ADA law. The exception being miniature horses as guides for the blind, which are rare. Disabled people are just like anyone else, some are OK with questions and some are not.

Check out your state laws and the ADA web site. Hope this helps :)

368 Robin B 02.15.12 at 5:49 pm

Fibromyalgia does not make a person an emotional is in fact a VERY real and painful medical condition just like MS or RSD. and this medical condition can and does qualify a person as disabled and use of a service dog in many cases. Comfort and emotional support dogs are no longer covered under the ADA law. Yes some people abuse the system, and people with real service dogs don’t like it either, but a person with an invisible disability (not in a wheel chair or blind) should not be treated with any less understanding or hateful remakes.
There are many many types of invisible disabilities…heart conditions, RSD, MS, Fibromyalgia, Brain injury, and a lot more. Service dogs help change a person’s life for the better and that is a good thing

369 Tamara engel 02.24.12 at 11:19 am

What about people who have asthma or a fear of animals? Where do their rights factor in? This whole companion animal issues is being abused beyond belief.

370 Lucy 02.24.12 at 4:22 pm

My daughter and I are both “different abled”. We each have a service cat. I am hypoglycemic but cannot take insulin. My cat alerts me when my sugar is too low before I get light headed and in trouble. My daughter is special need and her cat “pulls her back” when she starts to “space out”. Especially important in dangerous situations. (hot drink, etc.) We paid an online agency over $170.00 for paperwork and lousy ID. But photo IDs nonetheless with service animal badges and even bought small harnesses for them. We are still harrassed constantly about them. “Oh I don’t know how cats can help you.” And then they insist on knowing our medical history to PROVE to them we need a service animal. IT BITES !!!! And I am getting tired of explaining that service animals are NOT pets. Even though we love them as family.

371 Sharlene 03.13.12 at 10:49 am

We have a service dog for my two autistic sons. She is a 45lb non-shedding Labradoodle that we had to get because my older son is allergic to pet dander. We got her from a service dog organization in CT and she has been a huge help for the past 5 years that we have had her. She has been almost everywhere with us and I haven’t had any trouble with access for her until this week. We will be going to a bed and breakfast here in WA and I emailed and explained the situation to the manager/owner. She wrote back saying that our dog Maggie sounds like a wonderful companion animal but they don’t allow pets on the property. This after I explained to her in my previous email that Maggie is a service dog and not a pet. Very frustrating! This is the first time I’ve run into this problem and I’m not sure how to remedy this. I could point her to the ADA site but I’m unsure if the SD law applies in this situation. She is the owner of the property and they live there also. She has barn animals as well as 3 dogs of her own that live on the property. I’m tempted just to forget the whole thing and find another place. She recommended another hotel that accepts dogs but we are in a unique situation as my son cannot be in a room that has had shedding dogs before. His allergies go haywire. Would love some advice on this. As far as the service that Maggie provides, my younger son is a bolter. He can take off running when we are out in public and doesn’t understand dangers such as running in front of cars which he has done before or taking off in a crowded area. He has sensory issues and does not like having his hand held. We have a special leash with a harness that my son wears and the other end is attached to Maggie (I have another leash that I hold that is also attached to Maggie). She is trained to walk beside him and to stop if he tries to bolt. She is also trained to walk in front of him and block his path if we are near moving cars. She has probably saved his life more than once. We are also working on teaching her to track in case my younger son gets lost in a crowd or manages to get out of the house which hasn’t happened (and hopefully never will!) As far as my older son, he has anxiety issues related to his autism and night terrors. She helps calm him just by her presence. I’m nervous because my husband is in the Navy and we will be transferred to San Diego soon. We need to rent a home this time and many places don’t accept pets. Yes, Maggie is not a pet but will we be hassled anyway ? I’m hoping that won’t be the case.

372 Jennifer 03.13.12 at 9:01 pm

I am planning on training my own service dog just as soon as I find a dog with the right temperament. I have Fibromyalgia which makes me very stiff and I am constantly in pain. My muscles are really weak so its hard for me to pull laundry out of the washer and pick things up if I drop them (which happens a lot since my hands get weak.). I also have extreme anxiety when going out alone. My fiance currently goes EVERYWHERE with me and I’ve skipped class more often than I probably should because I panic which, aside from making driving to campus a bad idea, triples the amount of pain that I’m already in. I use to be active. I rode horses, worked at a barn, and swam 2 miles a day! I miss being able to go out and enjoy myself without dragging my poor fiance with me. I am a little confused as to how I should “document” this, like, a doctor’s note. Do I need one from my rheumatologist AND a psychologist? I guess I’ll figure it out at my next appointment. Anyhow, it bothers me how some people accuse people with emotional disabilities of being “fake.” I know there are some people who try and pass their ornery little pomeranians who growl and bark at people at the airport as service dogs or “emotional support dogs” but that doesn’t mean that everyone who doesn’t “look disabled” is doing that! I don’t “look disabled.” My disability and my pain is invisible to everyday people. Only the people closest to me can tell. I try to cope but I need help and I can’t wait until my service dog is here to help me.

373 Bunny 03.27.12 at 9:36 pm

I am BiPolar and live in the State of Washington…I do not work…does anyone know of any financial assistance that would help me in getting a service dog…I can afford to maintain one..just not the cost of training one. Your help would be appreciated…thank you..

374 Concerned 04.03.12 at 9:47 am

I personnally know someone who is trying to get his pitbull “service” certified as a PTSD dog. This dog is a danger and the thought that he could take it anywhere is scary. Shouldn’t there be limits on types of dogs… especially if some types have been outlawed due to their violent tendencies?

375 Erica 04.26.12 at 6:09 am

Thanks to the govnt regulations and me having to have a service animal my service animal having to be a “DOG” has limited my ability to cop with my PTSD. Not only did my service dog kill my pet chickens, I get the joy of walking around with my prescription on my forehead. No, she doesn’t have to wear a vest BUT if she doesn’t I get the whole “You can’t bring that dog in here…” Before this new law I had a rat that would alert me to a person being too close for my PTSD by hiding in my shirt, she would come out of hiding if someone got close. Here is the deal, she was #1 inexpensive… maybe $20 in bedding and food every 3 months…. a dog $75-$100 several lessons at $80 each to get her “task trained correctly” not to mention liability if something goes wrong, higher home insurance for having a dog, dog licensing a year, vaccines, and paying for vet checkups and the $300 to get her spayed/microchipped. Yes its tax deductible but now I even have to drive home on my lunches from where I am able to work to let her out to go potty so that also costs me a lot of gas money, not to mention time. I used to have some places I was able to handle going by myself like my grandfathers or my religious activities… now I HAVE to go home get my dog and bring her and her kennel because she can’t be kenneled all day at home as I have NO other family to help take care of her. I put her outside so I could have a few hours of alone time… she killed my backyard friends. I have to get up 2hrs earlier because she is up at the crack of dawn when I am up all night with nightmares, I don’t understand what was wrong with having a trained rat….thanks govnt for making my PTSD even MORE of a burden, I have to have a service animal Its like forcing me to have a kid when I don’t want one. The only benefit is being allowed to go to crowded places and grocery shopping “alone” but oh wait… my rat did that with me just fine…

376 A dog trainer 06.08.12 at 9:19 am

some of you people are extremely stupid as is the bottom of this law. horses have been a known service animal for quite a while. they need to allow equines

377 A dog trainer 06.08.12 at 9:19 am

some of you people are extremely stupid as is the bottom of this law. horses have been a known service animal for quite a while. they need to allow equines

378 Amanda-Beth 06.10.12 at 3:07 pm

I just don’t get why goverment is trying to be so limmited in this. I can’t do trainedl licensed service dog cause quite frankly my height would require me to use 100 lb dog snd I’m terrified of big dogs I’m ok around some collis and labs but inly some asvive been repeasetly exposed to then that am allowed to sort of feel comfortable around them parg of me still screamz in terror wheb they aproach fast but now I can remind self these are friends but yeah a service dog never work for me. I’ve had many cats help me out no never tooksm to public places as felt they’d never been properally soclized but they did help me out sence I’ve been disabled whole life. One cat woke me frl
Om black out after faloing ofc adult tfike and giving self a mild cuncussion at agd 10 thi same cat when I was in wheel chair from many leg breaks he’d make me get out if wheel chair and strech out on floor so I didn’t get lazy and back didn’t get stiff. Another cat at home he altertwd me hy non claw pawing when he knew I was toinv to have seizure soon. I curently don’t have service animal and af moment don’t feel need one however I know as much as I hate it am slowly goinv blind I know its been happening fir long time ad really don’t know what I will do when I am completly blind. As I said dog is not for me and as much as cats are smart they are small and make poor guide animals and goverment has decided that minture hirses are no longe allowed as service/guide animals d I feel screwed yes am I going to freak no case that wont do any good. I know this mag seem juts but why not have siwebght were ytheir is test if you pass test your animal is lincesned and service animal and they send you cirtifficate in ths mail if test not passed animal is nit certified ad just show cirtifficate if ppl doubt animal is service animal. That’s just my take. I repeat I couldnr handle 100lb dog rheyd require me to use I’ve done reasearch.

379 Pami 08.14.12 at 1:38 pm

Is it ture no more self-training a service dog. You have to get it from a service dog school!

380 orthodontic treatment 08.28.12 at 10:47 am

What’re Orthodontists and What do they Do?

orthodontic treatment

381 Elizabeth 09.17.12 at 8:31 pm

@Rick in Waco…………..My name is Elizabeth. I too have a Rottie for DAD. My last one passed at 12 and it wasn’t until close to the end that I realized she was alerting. I was a diabetic for about 10 years before I started receiving medical care due to finances. She would block me until I sat down, and constantly nudged me. After I began testing we kept a log and realized she was right in line with my hyperglycemia. Because I was untreated for so many years, I have no real symptoms of “coma” levels until I sit down and within minutes pass completely out w/o being about to be woke. She passed away and then I got another puppy. This one however has been training since I got her. She too seems to have that natural ability. She is only 3 and has not alerted a few times, but usually when its been running high for days at a time. I worked with a trainer from the beginning. I trained her in home. After her 3rd birthday she was finally ready to be certified. After being evaluated by my trainer I contacted the NC vocational rehabilitation. We did the application and went through the review and was awarded out state SD service dog tags and my wallet ID (team card). It was not expensive at all, and very easy to do. Yes it took years, but I wanted her to be certified. I am also hard of hearing and have vertigo. She is learning new tasks all the time. Like most pet owners we have our own language. I can read her and she can read me. She is still young and I’m sure over time some things will be fine tuned. My mother died and I inherited her dog which has made training of my SD dog a bit difficult at times (distraction). I have a condition that is slowly crushing the nerve sack that protects my spine, so my SD dog has a long list of things still to learn. My point being….they make wonderful SD dogs and can be very versatile. Some people say the have an SD and they may be, but for me and the breed of SD I have, I wanted to have her state certified to avoid access problems. Do you have access problems? I know we don’t have to, but I have no hesitation showing our ID if it makes it so I can be on my way w/o being made a spectacle in public. How long did you sent train for and did you do it yourself? The trainer I worked with does personal, basic, drug, bomb and search and rescue. He was a blessing, his techniques are unbelievable as are his results. Good Luck to you and please continue to put the word out about Rottweilers and their wonderful ability as service dogs.

382 Bill Jones 09.18.12 at 9:50 pm

popeyes denies access to service dogs in cobb county georgia cobb ciunty police backs popeyes please help in getiin the word out to organize a mass to popeyes in cobb county

383 Jenn n Savannah 10.09.12 at 6:12 pm

well, thanks to the well-meaning ignorant people who wanted to “fix things” with the ADA & Service Dog law, things are SO MUCH WORSE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE! My Savannah has been in training nearly ALL HER LIFE, except for the first 5-1/2 months before we became a partnership, thanks to a kind, late best-friend who “bought” her for me. My FIRST service dog, Ikey, passed away due to a third bout with cancer. Two days later, Savannah was born in Georgia.
Savannah was 5-1/2 months old when our lives came together, and we have been 100% together ever since. She had about 2 days of rest to get adjusted and to get to know her other “housemates” (4 cats, and later a 5th). Savannah is now 6-1/2 years old, and we, at this point, have spent 61,868 HOURS in training, as every time we go out, we are doing new things as well as brushing up on the things to which we are accustomed.
Savannah knows her commands in five (yes 5!) languages, innumerable hand signals; vocal, but non verbal communications, communicates back to me; and responds appropriately. SAVANNAH IS NOT A “TOY”! SHE IS A REAL WORKING DOG, DOING HER BEST TO TAKE CARE OF ME, A JOB SHE UNDERSTANDS AND DOES WILLINGLY AND WELL. No human could do it, that’s for sure!
I know the federal and California laws re disabilities and service dogs backwards and forwards, and probably could recite them in my sleep. (I had a truly wonderful mentor who has now crossed over) I know how we fit in there, and I will accept no fake or half-measures. And nobody is going to con me into letting them separate me and Savannah, with but very few, reasonable reasons/circumstances. We LIVE for each other and would gladly die for each other!
When somebody “disses” HER, they also are dissing me. Me, I can take; but not towared her. I know just how hard she has had to work to satisfy ME, so that WE can satisfy the law.
Only a short time ago today, some people found out just how fiercely I will defend her status as a “true” service dog! What a putdown anyway: “true” service dog! worse is when somebody really blows it and calls her a “companion dog.” NO, SHE IS NOT A “COMPANION DOG” although I love her to death and she loves me back. WE ARE A TEAM, AND SHE REALLY IS A “TRUE” SERVICE DOG!
Other people have already discovered what it means to diss a Service Dog to her handler!
Once I had filed ONE, US/DOJ complaint about being denied access BECAUSE of Savannah, it became easier and easier, with each time I had to file another one. This type of complaint can also be filed with the California Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Disability section.
Under California law, criminal penalties can also be filed against those who would separate a Service Dog from its handler, and a violation of the ADA law, also can constitute a violation of California law. It’s all there; all you have to do is find it and read it.
Anyone who is denied access because of their Service Dog ought to look up the actual wording of the Americans wtih Disabilities Act, and should look up Californa’s very expansive, specific disability law (or the law for their own state). You can do it on your own computer or go to the library.
Some folks have tried to get me to “compromise” and/or “just sweep it under the rug.” However, every time we do that, just to maintain “peace” we give away the wonderful law of the ADA and California’s UNRUH law, for which so many fought so hard before we ever came onto the scene.
It was the beloved Doctor Martin Luther King who stated: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
I am sure your Service Dog means to you as much as mine means to me. Our Service Dogs MATTER! Don’t give away pieces of your Service Dog to “keep the peace.” The PEACE comes as a result of everyone knowing our country and our laws, living within them, and insisting that others “permit” us what is ours–not keeping our mouths shut when they honestly should be open wide with loud words coming out of them!
BTW, I detest those “capes” and “vests” that “Show they are a service dog”! THOSE disgusting things are what people use (and can get for exorbitant prices) to smuggle non-Service Dog dogs into places they could not otherwise get them! You don’t have to “vest” your dog or put any contraption on it just to “prove” it’s a Service Dog. People just want some easy way out so they don’t have to (1) obey the law, and (2) other people don’t have to think or make a decision: the “vest” does it for them–but it ruins those of us who have real disabilities, real needs for a Service Dog, and we are in compliance with the law of the land as it exists.

384 Alisa 10.16.12 at 9:06 pm

This is for All people that have a Thearpy Dog! I read one blog the gal said her dog helps her get up from a chair. Then this is a Moblity Assistiant Dog. Not A Thearpy Dog. Go online and look up what a true Thearpy Dog does! To many people just want to take their pet out with them. Go online to Pup’ and have her make you the Moblity Assistiant Dog Patch! Go0od Luck!

385 what to do in a panic attack 10.17.12 at 5:12 am

Tοuсhe. Solid агgumеnts.
Keeр up the amazing work.

386 Anonymous 10.30.12 at 7:12 pm

chris has a small penis

387 Helena 10.31.12 at 5:26 pm

OMG the lies!! My first service dog was service animal #198 with service animal registry of america. Even back that far it was printed on the back of the SARA documentation that registration was not required to inform the public of that fact. These people who say otherwise have never even seen a SARA card i bet.
Calling SARA a “Scam” is saying my service animals are scams and I do not like that one bit. I’ve seen people who paid $25000 for a dog from one of these nonprofit “schools” now that’s a scam! God lord, a police dog does not cost that much. Those are the people taking advantage of the disabled. SARA will register animals that are rescued and they helped me find a trainer who didn’t charge me anything. If I want to shave card to lessen the hassel with stupid businesses, that’s my business. It does not make SARA a scam nor my service dog. Just a bunch of nagging bitter people putting others down so they seem important in their own head is all I see going on here. Mind your own business and stop putting others down and trying to make us sound like idiots. Get a life!

388 Kathy Bright 11.05.12 at 5:05 pm

@C-A, I want to help you realize the type of Service dog that your dog does is what we refer too as Medical Alert, not ESD. Because your chi alerts to your TIA’s and your low sugar episodes, that is legitament medical issues that your dog has learned to sense. So you can now be rest assured you have a Service Dog.
I have trained my own Service Dogs for the past 13 years, and like you, my dogs as well alert to my Hypoglycemia as well. As well to PTSD episodes. I hope this was very helpful to you.

389 cstan 12.09.12 at 11:14 am

Based on my recent conversation with Ms. Lewis at the ADA, it honestly doesn’t matter how this definition is changed. The ADA gives each individual STATE the right to “define” a service dog. While they must meet the minimum requrements of a definition of a service dog given by the ADA, the states can use Broader definitions. For example,
the ADA does not consider “emotional” issue or “comfort” as reasons to have a service dog, but individual states can include service dogs to be allowed for these types of issues.
The state also have the right to require tagging and proving training if they so desire.
The reason why I’ve got this info is because of a horrific and unbeleiveable problem in my area. I have a service dog, Sam who is trained as a diabetes alert dog. Problem is, I CAN”T use him!!! It has nothing to do with the state, it is because there’s a guy out there who puts on a vest (isn’t tagged for service as the State of California requires) and lets the dog RUN LOOSE in the stores — EVEN IN THE COURTHOUSE. To make matters worse, Animal Control will do NOTHING to stop him. Even subpoenaed to supply tag# for a court hearing, they refused.
The best I have been able to do is to get him charged and convicted for dog “running at large” THREE DAYS later, there he is with his dog in the parking lot still wearing the fake vest and letting the dog run free.
If that’s not bad enough, this dog has ATTACKED (no serious injuries)
NINE dogs (including 2 pet assisted therapy dogs). So, for Sam’s safety, we had to go home. I can’t chance having Sam attacked.
Unfortunately, it’s situations like this that hurt the disabled. While our dogs perform profound services to us, those who take advantage of the situation and abuse the system make it so much more difficult for those of us who truly need our dogs.

390 Carol 02.01.13 at 7:28 am

I needed to join this conversation. On June 9, 2011, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, underwent emergency brain surgery to install a clip on the artery. It has been told to me tat before the ambulance arrived, I suffered 3 seizures (I had never ad any seizures until that day). I do not recall anything of the morning of June 9, 2011, or the following 2 weeks. Spent 5 weeks in hospital recovering. Then I was sent home with a walker and had 1 visit from a physical therapist and 1 visit from an occupational therapist. Since I was so completely recovered, no more services. 6 months after brain surgery, I went back into surgery to have 1/5 of my skull reinstalled, 2 weeks later I suffered my first post-surgery seizure while on seizure medication. Since brain surgery and the seizure, I have been dealing with severe anxiety and my neurosurgeon believes I am suffering from a form of PTSD since I did not know about the aneurysm until it ruptured. I suffered another seizure on July 15, 2012, and am terrified I will have another one.
I now have permanent brain damage in the right front temporal area of my brain, the area that controls my emotions. My neurologist says it is very common for people with my type of brain damage to have a lot of emotional problems. I look very normal from the outside, but my brain is messed up and no one can tell me if it will ever heal. I take offense to some of Chris’s statements about these people who you can pinpoint as they are “Mid aged, way overweight, very homely, semi brain damaged, women.” I take offense in this statement because I AM a Mid-aged woman (brain aneurysm occurred when I was 45. They tend to strike more women then men, and usually occur between age 40 and 60). I am a little overweight, my husband does not find me homely, and yes, I do have Permanent Acquired Brain Damage. You should really do some research before you judge.
Some of the jobs I want my Service Dog trained for include leading me out of a crowded/chaotic area when I get disoriented, helping me locate a family member should I get separated from them, calm me when my PTSD overtakes me, and also be able to roll me onto my side incase I suffer another seizure, so I won’t choke on anything that may come up.
I am currently trying to find a dog I can have trained as a Psychiatric Service Dog for me. Both my Neurologist and Psychiatrist think a Service Dog will be good for me. Most organizations that offer Psychiatric Service Dogs charge between $6,000 and $7,000 for a fully trained dog. If you can come up with the $6,000 – $7,000, you can sign a contract with these organizations. They will then put you on a waiting list of between 2-3 years.
I am trying to go about this legally by using a certified trainer with a puppy from a breeder, but this still may end up costing me around $6,000. I may try going the “Rescued Dog” route to be retrained as a Service Dog, but won’t know until after I adopt it if it is trainable.
I do agree that there are issues with people using their own pets and trying to pass them off as Service Dogs. Therapy Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs are not protected under the ADA laws as Service Dogs are.
Educate yourself to see how Psychatric Service Dogs can help people.

391 Pami 03.25.13 at 6:26 pm

Last Thursday i was at Kitsap mental Health KHM in Washington State. One of the ladies that work their told me i could not bring my service dog rainbow that a Labardoodle in to the KMH cafe I told her she was breaking the American with Disablity Act law. And she said cafe rule law are no dog even SD are not aloud in cafe she said so take him out please. So I did. You think a place like this would know the new service dog laws. They should keep up on laws before opening their mouth.

392 Amy 07.22.13 at 4:09 am

this would not effect me greatly, but i do not think that service animals should be limited to dogs because there are people. that truly benefit from say small monkey, a pony or a cat. I think that people who take advantage of service dog laws by bring pets in to stores or restaurants and they let there dogs eat off there plate or sniff food and then put it back should be confronted. when my service dog became leash reactive and started scaring other dogs in public i stop using him in public i am now training another dog. people need to be responsible. it really angers me when people that do not need them fake it.

393 Jeff 09.08.13 at 3:34 am

This is for Carol. You should absolutely go the rescued route. Dogs from shelters have been trained to be police dogs and search and rescue dogs. I have even seen at my shelter a trained military service dog that some sob dumped. Use adopt a to find a shelter near you and contact them to explain your situation. They’ll know what animals they have up for adoption that could be trained for your needs.
Also this guy Chris who has posted twice at least here is seriously disturbed and displays a frightening level of intolerance.

394 Teresa 11.11.13 at 1:24 pm

I have a service dog because I needed one due to the fact that I have repiratory problems. When I got her, I was told that she would have to be trained to do a minimum of three things for me and be tested to be certified. Mine retrieves objects for me that I drop or I can “send” her to bring it back. She also alerts when my alarms go off on my machines and when I stop breathing when I am asleep. She does a lot more for me too, but won’t go into it here. For Chris’s sake yes I am overweight, but not because of over eating. I had 4 life threatening surgeries in the span of three months and spent over a year and a half bed bound because I couldn’t walk. The Doc says my metabalism is so messed up that it may never work again. I am now in my 50′s. I live in a complex that I had to show proof my dog was trained to assist me, but also know of many people in the complex that state they have a service dog, that are lying because they just don’t want to pay pet rent. I think the answer might be for a testing agency that would have you fill out a medical form and you have to state what the animal does for you (That would fit in the guidelines of the ADA) then the dog should be tested by two way mirror and its handler to make sure the do such things as claimed. If they do then they get certified. But these fly by night “agencies” that you can go online and pay money for the certificiation should be seen as the scams they are. When I got my dog trained in the minimum tasks (plus 2 for good measure) allowed I took her to a well respected dog trainer and had her test me and my dog. She said I would be amazed how many people came to her and offered her money just to say their dog was trained and that she hadn’t seen a dog trained to the point mine was in a long time. I still use the “in training” patch because I am constantly teaching her new things to help me further. But like Chris, I wish there was a way to weed out people that are just using this law to have a pet at no cost.

395 Michelle 01.19.14 at 11:12 pm

This is an extremely difficult topic to discuss as it touches so many nerves of people. I do not have a disability as the definition of disability explained. However my son is severely disabled with multiple complex neurological issues. I cannot work due to the care my son needs and the states inability to provide adequate care for him. My son is 13 now and I have taken care of him myself for 13 years. Needless to say I am not able to get out of the house very often, have really no social life, love life-what i that? I am not trying to say that my issues are worse or better than anyone else’s. But I have a dog that would be labeled as a therapy dog. She does more for me emotionally than any anti depressant or other drug could do. I think without her here I would be swallowed up by the care for my son. I feel that I would go down hill fast without my dog. I am not lazy or overweight and I am certainly not one of those to take advantage of therapy dog to get out of paying a pet deposit. My dog really helps me not to get further depressed. She makes me laugh, she cuddles with me, she warms my heart not to mention that taking her outside gets me up and moving. As so many of you have stated in our responses, no one knows what each of us is going through. Sure there are those that take advantage of the system and make it harder for those that actually need the animal. But don’t judge the person next to you unless you have lived in their shoes. It has been proven that animals help to relieve stress, blood pressure, emotional health and many other ailments. In my opinion animals should be allowed to go anywhere with their owners.

396 Sussie Due 01.21.14 at 4:19 pm

Keep in mind that Therapy dogs do not have any special privileges over regular dogs. Those special privileges are reserved for Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals only.

397 corey 03.30.14 at 8:38 pm

to Sussie Due: actually “1 therapy animal” are protected under HUD rights for vulnerable residents to have 1 animal in their apartment or home for their health stability.
under HUD they simply class them as pets to simplify things, but by definition they are therapy animals for the disabled and seniors. Because of what the animal does for the resident.

Quote from other source” The duties of therapy dog are not limited to working with people with disabilities and are not legally defined. A therapy dog is allowed into locations, such as hospitals and nursing facilities, by invitation only, perhaps as part of a treatment plan. Some national and local organizations may certify therapy animals; however, even with certification, a therapy animal does not qualify for the access protection given to service animals under the ADA.”

The part “by invitation” to be permitted on premises, is more protection than companion animal/dog.

This would not be allowed with “companion dog”
Personally I “USED” a “service cat” to alert for atypical panic attacks prior to the attacks happening. the task was he become agitated himself, climb out of his pouch, onto my right shoulder and bite my nose gently and lick it hard with his rough tongue, this would often times short circuit the panic attack. (most of my attacks happen out of the blue, most times with no thoughts triggering it. sound , motion, spontaneous laughing are triggers besides thought.)

He would Also alerted other people, by hissing, which instructed people to give me space, when I am about to have major attack so people would not crowd me, which is a really bad thing to do to someone in the process of having a bad attack. When he hisses EVERYONE gives me space. telling people to give me space NEVER worked, if anything they get closer and try to restrain me, making things worse.

So the changes to the definition had dire consequences to me. The loss of my SERVICE CAT has caused me to reduce public appearances by more than 80% . when I have to go out, I do not linger because I do not know when I will have an ATYPICAL panic attack. That was “nighty’s job to tell me.

I can not use a dog as a service animal. Been attacked by 5 dogs. 3 of them were other people pets. 1 was my “rescued dog”, the 5th dog that nearly killed me, when I was a boy, was a guard dog, that store clerk forgot to put away at the pet store.

What they should of done with the ADA was clarify who is responsible for the animal for any damages resulting from the behavior of said animal.

There is NO amount of certifications that is going to stop pet owners from doing what they are doing. think criminals and guns certifications and background checks does not stop criminals, it only really causes problems for the people who follow the law .

Maybe add clause in the ADA that if a pet owner that falsifies the status of their animal as service animal and is not and that animal then injures or causes damages, then the owner can be charged with a several crimes that gives steep punishment fines for violating the ADA and health codes.
This is more deterrent to people who should not be taking their pets into places they should not be.

And then restore the ADA definition to the previous form with limitations restrictions against say snakes because for all accounts and purposes they can not be trained to perform tasks for a disability. KEY words “Task for the disability”

parrots, monkeys, dogs, cats, horses, pot bellied pigs, these ones I have either personally witnessed in action or have seen video of them in action. So I know for fact these animals function as service animals by “preforming task for the disability”

Not everyone that needs a service animal can use dogs and there are tasks that can NOT be performed by dogs that can be preformed by other species. Monkeys being the most notable, because of their “hands”.

398 corey 03.30.14 at 9:21 pm


I know for fact the cafe was wrong. The reason the cafe said what they said is because the state health department told them that. The state health department is wrong as well.

I went through this issue with my service cat, before they changed the definition.

the state health department was telling the businesses “no animals or violating health codes”. They did not know that the ADA trumps health codes, so long as the animal does not go near other people food like the salad bar or the bar at the all you can eat joint.

I became both famous and notorious indirectly at the health department because I would never back down when it came to my civil rights to use a service animals.

I was also the final ice breaker to get MAYO clinic to allow service animals. only a few places in the hospital you can not have animals like the children section and severe allergy floor where your animal could kill someone who is deathly allergic who is being treated as well.

I have had my service cat in ambulances, ER, in patient care, physicians office, specialty centers, restaurants, businesses etc.

there was even a local news cast on me as well, which occurred after the law changed.

All I can say is don’t relent. go as far as getting the business to call the police, then get a report from said police. This is proof that will stand up in court on discrimination.

But be sure to have a letter in your file that says your doctor either tells you or agrees with you that the service animal is a necessity for your disability. You want this prior to your police report request because it needs to be documented to “stand up clearly” in court.

you have the civil rights to participate in society, but only you at the end of the day will uphold those rights. Its not easy even after 20+ years of the ADA. There are many who still do not know it exists. And there are many who want to see the ADA gone, like the Koch brothers.

399 Sussie Due 03.31.14 at 9:18 am

They are using the word Therapy in the wrong context. They should change that to Emotional Support Animal. Originally that is what Emotional Support Animals were called.

400 Sussie Due 03.31.14 at 10:11 am

Cats CANNOT be service animals.

Straight from the ADA…

“Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized
as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.”

401 Judy 04.23.14 at 1:58 pm

Chris, I am a senior, overweight female who takes offense to your description of people you find fault with. Many of us have invisible medical conditions which affords us the use of a service dog that does not look like the “typical” service animal. I have a Bichon Frise that alerts to my medical condition about 15 minutes before it comes on. I cannot drive without her (per instructions from physician and the local police) and have difficulty in some businesses who tell me she isn’t a GSD or lab so is not a service dog. I take her in businesses so that she will let me know not to go to the car if an episode is coming on. I don’t take her with me just to be “cute” because I find it quite bothersome at times to have a service animal who has to be with you. Because she is a fluffy white dog, she has to be bathed at least once a week and groomed every 3 weeks. That is between a 1-3 hour process as I do it myself to save money. There are the bathroom visits and keeping on eye out for her so she doesn’t get stepped on. Of course, I have to tell people she cannot be petted. I found a patch that says, “I’m cute. I’m working. Do not pet” which has helped me a lot. I get tired of people judging me because they don’t think I look like I need a service animal. Eventually, I will need a mobility dog but not yet and as long as I can still get around with my cane or walker, I will.

402 Shelly 06.29.14 at 3:55 am


1pegleg 12.01.11 at 5:46 pm
First of all, does anyone know where I can find Fed Regs on the subject of whether Service Dogs are required to be leashed?

pegleg ~~ Here’s what I found….maybe a day late and a dollar short, as the saying goes, but none the less….

For info regarding the Title II Laws (State & Local Government Services)

The first page has the Table on Contents on it. Scroll down to “Subpart B — General Requirements” and then click on:
§ 35.136 Service animals

It reads as follows:
§ 35.136 Service animals
(then scroll down to letter “d” which says):
(d) Animal under handler’s control. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of
work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

For info regarding the Title III Laws (Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities)

The first page has the Table on Contents on it. Scroll down to “Subpart C — Specific Requirements” and then click on:
36.302 Modifications in policies, practices, or procedures.

It reads as follows:
§ 36.302 Modifications in policies, practices, or procedures.
(then scroll down to letter “(c) Service animals.” and a little further below there is subpart “(4)”which says):
(4) Animal under handler´s control. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal´s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler´s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

I know that’s a LOT of steps, but I think they make this as intentionally confusing as they can. I tried to make it as simple as I could without losing anybody that was interested in finding it for themselves, if they needed to.

I know the original poster asking this question may never see it as it was SEVERAL years ago that he posted the question. But, just in the off chance he might see it I thought I’d post it. And you never know…someone else may see it that needs it as well! Now wouldn’t that just be AWESOME!

Shelly Cole

403 Ann 01.12.15 at 9:19 pm

I was hit head on in a car accident and was badly injured. I have my to to keep me walking so my leg won’t shrivel. She stays right near me, keeps me going. Also my only reason to get up in the morning, to do anything.
I would give up without her. Don’t pass this please.

404 Janice Taylor 02.23.15 at 8:30 am

I feel most of the new ruling would not change anything for me. I have seizures and disability as for walking – I have a power chair I am in mostly for distance but my SD helps me to walk with stability for short amounts of time. He helps me opening doors and picking things up for me. The dog also alerts me to seizure coming on.

The part I don’t think is right is: “Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals. ” many people need help with emotional well-being.”

405 Sue 02.25.15 at 4:01 pm

The reason for that is because Emotional Support Animals do not have to be trained, but Service Animals do. If the government was to allow untrained ESA’s into public places then we are going to be dealing with allot of problems.

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