A word of advice from a fellow Service Dog owner

by Sue on July 18, 2016

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Recently I viewed a video of a man with a service dog who was arrested by police. I am not going to go into great detail about it but in short it was not because the man was falsifying a service dog or anything like that, it was because he was swearing at the Cops. They approached him about his service dog, he explained the ADA rules to them and then went on to swear at them because they did not know the laws.

I may upset a few people here by saying this, but I do not feel this was proper behavior for this Service Dog owner. By swearing at the Cops they had every right to immediately deem him as a threat.

This video I watched is not the first video depicting Service Dog owners acting this way. I have seen many many videos depicting Service Dog owners slinging fowl mouthed words at people who confront them about their Service Dogs. Is this a good representation of all Service Dog owners? No it is not.

Service Dog owners are getting more and more of a bad rap due to the fact that there are getting to be more and more fake service dogs out there. We people who have honest to goodness Service Dogs need to represent ourselves as responsible upstanding individuals. I am not saying not to stand up for your rights as a service dog owner. What I am suggesting is that you don’t look like a jackass while doing so.

YouTube is very large and the videos are viral. It’s on YouTube that I see these videos. And people that post them are posting them to make a statement. But it happens to be the wrong statement. For those of us that have had confrontations while out with our service dogs, these videos are of frustrations that we understand. However the rest of the public may very well view it differently. And I am afraid they will view it as that people with Service Dogs are trouble makers and the public should be leery of them.

Please do your best to conduct yourself, the best you can, in a professional manner, when confronted by someone about your Service Dog.  Remember…when you are in the public’s eye, your actions represent every Service Dog owner out there.

 

Thank you,

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sue Compton 07.25.16 at 7:22 am

Amen! This is a very important thing for all who have service dogs…behave! Your attitude and actions affect all of us !
Earlier this year, I had my first negative experience with my service dog-after a long days drive, my friend and I arrived at the motel at which Id booked a room. I had informed them on my online booking that Id have my service dog with me. The motel allows small dogs at no charge, but I felt it was important to have them know that my dog is a service dog. When I went inside to sign in, the manager was grumpy and unwelcoming even before I gave my info. When I mentioned my service dog, he started insisting thst I produce “registration papers” or a “license” as “proof” of my dogs authenticity. I tried to explain nicely about what is required and what is not- he refused to believe me, I went online to show him ADAs info-he still insisted on a written certification. I finslly lost my cool, told him he was something I cant repeat here, and stormed out. We found another place nearby and rest of trip was great- but that incident shook me. I didnt handle it as well as I could have. Luckily the grumpy manager did not charge me for csncellation which I wouldve had to fight- but I didnt score any points for service dogs at that business. The next service dog owner will face the same battle, and I hope (s)he handles that better than I did!
We who depend on a service dog also depend on our fellow service dog owners – we all must do our best to portray ourselves and our dogs in a positive light. The law may be on our side- but it is our job to keep the community on our side as well! When you have your service dog accompany you- into a business, on a bus or plane, wherever- think of it as m a privilege , not just a federal right. Because really- it is both !

2 Patricia Calpin 07.28.16 at 12:03 am

As of July 1, 2016 the State of Virginia has made it a misdemeanor criminal offense to have a dog identified as a service dog when it is not truly a service dog. I’m disturbed by this new law as I am handicapped with bone cancer in my right tibia and left shoulder and trained my own service dog that I fly and travel with and purchased proper identifications etc but worry that authorities wil question it. What advice do you have for others that may be in a similar situation? How do we protect our rights?

3 Sue 08.03.16 at 11:29 am

A letter from a Doctor is all you need. You see, a service animal is classified as medical equipment. Like a cane, wheelchair, prosthetic, etc. By having a note from your Doctor stating that you need the dog to help you with your disabilities will protect you. Because denying Doctor’s orders is against the law.

4 Molly 08.09.16 at 9:45 pm

Your dog is a Service Dog. It is really difficult to get a trained Service Dog from the companies that train them. The need is greater than the supply. I trained my dog to be my Service Dog, I read all the requirements for him qualifying. There is no National SD certification. I tried to get a couple of agencies to come and test my dog and they were way to busy. I had my doctor write a letter explaining the need for a SD. I also had my vet write a letter certifying that my dog was healthy and well trained to do the jobs I needed him to help with. I am not sure why some people have difficulties making their dog’s purpose visible. I have NEVER been questioned about my dog’s right to be somewhere. I think that people that have fake SD’s should be ashamed because they are the problem that makes people question your dog’s authenticity.

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