I was casually looking at other blogs tonight of service dog handlers and I happened to come across this one blog post that I wanted to share with you. Keep in mind this individual is not disabled, or doesn’t appear to be by the way she writes and describes things, just a dog lover.
Read this post, then come back to my post after you’ve formed your opinions. Let me know what you think in the comments. Here is the hyperlink: Nicole Marie Richardson’s blog.
Here’s what I said in the comments, but it is still “awaiting moderation.” :
“As a truly disabled individual who has a service dog that was trained for a year and a half to do her job right, people whose dogs don’t perform essential functions and aren’t super well trained hurt the disabled community, especially service dog handlers. I understand that you would like a cheaper way to travel with your beloved dog, but if that dog DOES act out and is labelled a “service dog” that puts a bad taste in many people’s mouths and makes it even harder for the next person who does have a legitimate disability and service dog. I urge you and all of your readers to consider this when thinking about doing this on your next trip. It may not be illegal, but it is seriously unethical. Last, but not least, an Emotional Support Assistance Dog is an assistance animal, not a service animal and does not have the legal rights they do as they are not covered under the ADA. They are not task trained. Thank you for reading this and I sincerely hope you take into consideration what I had to say.”
I generally don’t like to badmouth other people on my blog as I want this to be a very positive and honest atmosphere, but this just really does put a bad taste in my mouth and for her to publish it. Hmm… I have been wanting to post something on fake service dogs as this is a topic that REALLY pushes my buttons but haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. I will try to get one written this week.
As I said in my comment, this really does hurt service dog handlers who do have a disability. Many fake service dogs are not as well trained and will go to the restroom indoors, make a lot of noise, jump on other people, eat food off the floor, etc. They do not have the training nor skills that real service dogs have. Therefore, whether it be on a bus, train, inside a restaurant, wherever, when a fake service dog acts out but others on board identify that dog as being a service dog, that puts a bad taste in their mouth. Then the next time when a real service dog is onboard or in the vicinity, the individual(s) may not be as accommodating or friendly, at no fault to the service dog handler or service dog themselves. It’s a really unfortunate situation.
Now, I want to clarify that I am not putting down Emotional Support Assistance Dogs. I think for individuals with some emotional issues, they are wonderful. And if this individual really did have an anxiety issue, I would have an ENTIRELY different outlook on this, even though Emotional Support Assistance Dogs aren’t covered under the ADA. But the truth is she obviously didn’t and was posting this to all her viewers to read and take advantage of. Look in the comments, there are others who think this is a brilliant idea and are therefore going to take advantage of it, adding several more fake service dogs to the world. Ugh.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you on this.