Everyone Gets A Service Dog!
Seemingly overnight service animals have exponentially grown in number. What once was a nuance to see is now commonplace with seemingly every person with a sort of problem in life, has a service animal. We’re not about bashing the legitimate need for service animals among people with an actual need for them. It’s hard to judge disability, some people you see, you’d never know the trauma or pain they suffer through on a daily basis. They are why we’re writing this piece though, because now if you have a persistent cough, it seems that you can get a service animal to calm your distress about it.
Maria Lamb, whose article we’re referencing, is vacation property owner. When she and her husband decided to disallow pets in their rental homes, there seemed to be a drastic increase in people who claimed their pets were service animals. She goes on to say that “EVERYONE who owned a dog suddenly wanted to stay at our properties. And when we told potential guests that we no longer allowed animals, that pet instantly became an emotional support animal.” Big surprise there right? We love our pets. Many of us at American Grit are combat veterans, we think service animals are a great idea. But when the system is abused, it makes everyone look bad.
You’re not taken seriously anymore. What used to serve a legitimate need is now almost a joke among many. You and you alone know if you truly need the animal. While it might sound confusing, the ADA makes it pretty clear what a service animal is and isn’t.
“A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.”
If you need the service animal, you need it, and you’ve probably been educated and paid out the wazoo for said animal. Slapping a trendy vest on your dog and telling everyone it’s a service animal because it provides comfort and emotional support, all because you want to take Sparky everywhere is a disservice to the people that actually need them. Nobody takes their animal or their need seriously anymore. If you need an example of how the prolific “This is my emotional support animal, I can take him anywhere,” mantra is hurting people, you need to look no further than the story of a blind woman who has been kicked off a flight because they didn’t recognize the legitimacy of her seeing-eye dog. Re-read that. They saw the dog as a danger. We can guess why. They probably had issues with someone else’s “service” dog and found that their animal wasn’t a legitimate service animal. Now that’s just here say, but things are done for a reason.
The definition goes on to state that an emotional support animal is not a service animal. Doctor’s notes don’t even turn the animal into a service animal. In fact, it’s a lengthy and expensive process. Training service dogs can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000. We’re not sure about you, but we don’t just have seven grand just chilling in our bank accounts to use when someone tells us we can’t bring our pet somewhere.
A service dog performs a specific task. Emotional support dogs do not. Stop trying to pass your emotional support dog as a service dog. It’s only hurting people that really need the help. You can visit the ADA to get more information on service dogs and what makes them such.
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