Service animals are vital companions to people with disabilities, diligently and selflessly helping them to live their lives with as much freedom as possible, and protecting them from harm. However, some people abuse the system and lie about their dog being a service dog, or get dubious certificates claiming they need ’emotional support’ based on the flimsiest of reasons. Remember the emotional support peacock?
This service dog trainer decided to vent her frustration about the situation, and used her experience and expertise to illustrate the difference between an actual, properly trained service dog and one that has been simply labeled as a service dog for its owner’s selfish convenience. “I have been working around dogs thanks to my family since I was very young,” Lex told Bored Panda. “I became a professional dog trainer almost 3 years ago. I now work for a service dog training organization.” Her own service dog, Faith, performs a variety of tasks which she lists here: “MEDICAL ALERT – Migraine alert – Panic attack alert GUIDE – Follow a person – Find an exit PSYCHIATRIC – Deep pressure therapy – Tactile stimulation – Self harm disruption – Block (front) – Cover me (back) MOBILITY – Retrieve dropped items.”
As you can see, real service dogs really do save lives. Not only is it dishonest, but phenomenon of ‘fake’ service animals is causing real problems to those who actually need them, making already difficult situations even more difficult. What is being done to change this situation? “There is, and as far as I know, a couple bills have been proposed to congress,” Lex told us. “However, it has been deemed that requiring such certification or licencing would be discriminatory and in violation of the ADA. Personally, I believe there needs to be a national certification and registration for LEGITIMATE service dogs trained to assist people with LEGITIMATE disabilities.”
Scroll down below to read Lex’s eloquent explanation below and let us know what you think in the comments. Do you have a service animal? Have you come across anyone with an obviously ‘fake’ one? Join the discussion!