Monday, July 27, 2015

Veterans - Know Your Rights


Our brave military veterans fought hard for our Country.  Some return with scars you can see, some return with scars you can’t.

Those that return needing the assistance of a service dog have the right to train them themselves. Some people want to mislead disabled persons by telling them that their dog is not a “real service dog” because it is small or because it is owner-trained?   This is simply not true;  an increasing number of service dogs are small, mix breeds and owner trained.  The right service dogs are the ones that work best for their handler’s needs.

Know the laws, know your rights.  Take the time to read the ADA Requirements so you are informed.

-          It is NOT against the law for your dog to wear a service dog vest if it is owner-trained. 

-          You do NOT need to have your dog professionally trained for your dog to be a “real service dog”.

-          Do NOT pay online for service dog certification and registration, there is no company on the internet that can certify your dog online.  In fact no registration is needed for any dog to be a service dog.

-          Do NOT try to pass your dog off as a service dog if it is not, it is against the law and can result in severe penalties.

You fought for our rights – we want you to know yours.

Thank you for your service to our great Country – thank you for your photos.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Learning the Difference Between Companion Dogs, Service Dogs and More

Dogs have filled various roles for people over the years but the most common is as a companion dog. Companion dogs' primary purpose is to provide companionship, comfort and loyalty to their owners. Unlike service dogs, who are trained to help with specific tasks, companion dogs simply make their person's life better by providing friendship and unconditional love.

Here's a short glossary to help you distinguish between the different kinds of dogs, including companion dogs, service dogs, emotional support dogs and therapy dogs.

Companion Dogs

Most household pets fall under the category of a companion dog. These dogs have not been specifically trained to assist their owners with tasks and they do not receive any special treatment in the public. Companion dogs and their owners must abide by any rules set in place by businesses, such as “No Animals Allowed.”

Service Dogs

Service dogs have been trained to assist their owners with a variety of tasks based on the owner's disability. Examples of this type of dogs include seeing eye dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf and dogs that assist people with autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and seizures. Some of these tasks include pulling a wheelchair, alerting a person to a noise, reminding someone to take their medication or notifying them of an oncoming seizure.

The rights of service dogs and their owners are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. No public establishment may refuse service to a person and their service dog, even if the place regularly prohibits dogs.

Emotional Support Dogs

Dogs that provide comfort as a medical treatment for depression, anxiety and other conditions are considered emotional support dogs. Although these dogs may be prescribed by a doctor, they are not considered to be service animals under the ADA because they have not been trained to learn specific tasks to help with a disability.

People with emotional support dogs may still be able to bring their dogs in public, however. For instance, emotional support dogs are allowed to accompany their owners on flights.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are often used in a clinical setting to help patients improve physically, socially or emotionally. Typically, therapy dogs can be found in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes and schools.

Although occasionally therapy dogs may also be service dogs, most do not qualify as service dogs and are therefore not protected under the ADA. Public places are not required to allow therapy dogs but may choose to allow them at their own discretion.

For details on Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals, you may visit

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Do I Need to Know How to Register A Service Dog?

One of the first questions that will likely cross your mind after getting a service dog is how to register a service dog. Luckily, the answer is easy: you don't have to register a service dog.

Registering a service dog is not required under the Americans with Disabilities Act. All public establishments, including restaurants, stores and airplanes, must allow you and your service dog to enter. According to the ADA, businesses are not allowed to require proof of service dog registration or documentation stating that your service dog has been trained. Businesses may only ask if the animal is required due to a disability and what work the animal is trained to do.

But What If My Dog is a Therapy or Emotional Support Animal?

Therapy and Emotional Support Animals are not considered to be service dogs and are not included in the laws set by the ADA. A note from a doctor declaring an animal to be an emotional support animal does not mean that it is the same as a service dog. However, registration is not required for therapy or emotional support animals either.

If It's Not Required, Why Are There So Many Registration Sites Online?

Many service dog registration websites take advantage of the fact that many people don't know the laws. They try to sound official and convince unsuspecting individuals that registering your service dog is necessary. There is no national registry service for service dogs and none of these websites are affiliated with the government. You do not need to know how to register a service dog at all.

As mentioned earlier, it's not a requirement to register your service dog and you are not breaking any laws by not doing so. There are no legal repercussions that you need to worry about but you may still receive questions from business owners and other people in public.

What If I Get Asked for Proof of My Service Dogs Duties?

Despite the laws set by the ADA, it's not uncommon to have someone, such as a restaurant or store employee, question you about the validity of your service dog.

Thankfully, outfitting your dog in a service dog vest is often an accepted form of service dog identification and helps to quickly resolve any debate over the purpose of your dog in public locations. Service dog vests and identification tags make it easy for the public to see that your dog is a working dog and you shouldn't be asked for any further forms of registration. Again, you do not need to know how to register a service dog at all, regardless of what level of service it is providing – Service, Emotional Support or Therapy related.