There are two types of people in this world. And by world I mean country, because I am only well-versed on the service dog laws in the United States. Saying world just sounds more intense, and for an intense topic it felt like the way to go. However, I digress.
There are two types of people in this world. The people who know about service dogs, what they do, and the laws regarding them, and those who think they know, but actually have no idea.
Sometimes you get asked a question once, clear up the misconception, and move on with your life. Sometimes that question comes up a few more times, and you happily educate the asker. Eventually an assumption is made so frequently that it seems to be common knowledge, though it is false. This is when I realize that it is a myth, and I have decided to do some service dog myth busting.
Here are three service dog myths, busted:
- Emotional Support is a service. Oh my goodness, if I had a dime for every person who thought this was a thing and said something to me about it, I would be able to pay for university and all of my medical bills myself. Emotional support is not a service. Comfort is not a service. These are not tasks and therefore are not in the job description of a service dog. If someone says that their service dog’s function is to provide emotional support, that is not a service dog. That is an emotional support dog, which does not have the same rights or roles as a service dog. Bringing a pet (an Emotional Support Animal is a pet) to a non-pet friendly location is illegal, and saying that they are a service dog to provide emotional support is illegal. Service dogs are medical equipment – not pets!
- There is a service dog registry. There is no such thing as a service dog registry in the United States of America. Anything claiming to be such is a scam. Shocked? Don’t believe me? Check the ADA. There are tests out there for public access that you can take, to show that you’re a team in good standing. However, they are not part of a registry and you don’t receive an “ID” card from it.
- Service dogs are only for veterans and blind people. Hi there. I have perfect vision, and cannot serve my country -nor am I old enough to – but I am disabled. Medical alert dogs are amazing, and can be used for Type One Diabetes, Epilepsy, and so many other conditions which require constant monitoring. These dogs keep their handlers safe! And perform potentially life saving tasks. Just because I am not a veteran or blind doesn’t mean that my service dog is not a service dog, or that I am training her for someone else. At the same time, just because someone has one of these conditions does not mean that they could benefit from having a service dog!
Service dogs can be helpful for all sorts of disabilities, registering your dog online as a “service dog” gives it no legal standing, and emotional support is not a service! I hope you were able to learn something from this post. If you ever had any of these misconceptions, I hope I’ve cleared things up for you! I am always happy to share and educate about service dogs, as doing so makes my life so much easier!
If you want to read more of my service dog posts click here.
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