The Big Cheese
|Barked: Thu Dec 12, '13 6:41pm PST |
|Brady is your first service dog, correct? And has been in training for about 6 months or less, right? I'm assuming he's not perfect, and even though you may have educated yourself on the ins and outs of SD etiquette, it still doesn't make you a perfect trainer/handler, and again, still doesn't make his behavior stellar, everywhere you go, 100% of the time.
"Faker" is very equivalent to "fire." I'm not totally convinced that a small or even moderate portion of the "faker" problem is from legitimate handlers with true disabilities undercutting other legitimate handlers and their legitimate service dogs who are either doing something "socially incorrect" or are having an off day, as previously mentioned. If you scream "faker/fire" in the middle of a store with every dog you see committing what you deem to be an infraction, businesses do one of two things, they treat ever dog who enters their business as a faker, or they allow all dogs in regardless of legitimacy simply out of fear of prosecution.
We as a community tend to have elitist views, and I'm not going to say I've not been guilty of harboring such views previously. Of course there are those who ruin it for all, either intentionally or not, through their actions. For instance, you mentioned "purse dogs". Mochi is a legitimate SDIT. She also happens to be dyed green at the moment, wear a sweater to work most days due to her thin coat, and happens to weigh 13 lbs. You could argue that there are some little dogs that can be service dogs. I would argue back that you're being a bit closed minded if you assume that any little dog you see making any infraction is a faker. Etiquette and law are two very different things. Etiquette dictates that a service dog shouldn't sniff merchandise, or pull on the leash. However, there is no where that says that LEGALLY a service dog can be removed solely on the grounds of poor etiquette and/or behavior. Legally, a service dog may be removed from a place of business if it is displaying signs of aggression, is inappropriately toileting, or "...when doing so (allowing entrance to a SD) would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded."
Essentially, the above statement, pulled directly off of the ADA website, would allow a dog to sit quietly on a chair next to the handler, or be allowed to drink from a glass at a restaurant, or something equally heinous in the SD community.
"But it's common sense not to do XYZ!" Common sense goes out the window when dealing with higher degrees of many disabilities. I for one, have a tic disorder that prevents me from fully thinking through many decisions before acting upon them. I have certainly allowed my SD to lay across my lap grounding me into reality in the chair in a store at the mall. It was brief, and it was helpful to me, but to you, if you were to walk by with Brady, in that moment I definitely did look like a able bodied young adult with a tiny green dog laying idly across my lap. Now I know different, but unless you know the full story, you're not one to call faker.
Unless someone actually admits to you that they are not disabled, and are toting around a pet, you have no right to automatically call faker. And unless you expect that your dog will never screw up on duty, or that you will never have a judgement lapse, I highly suggest you reconsider what a "faker" is and whether or not you'd like it if the tables were turned on you.
I apologize for the lengthy novel, but I feel this is an important subject to broach.
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