|Barked: Thu Jan 24, '08 3:56pm PST |
|This question I've seen debated a lot. Of course the ADA does not specify if a SD should be walking or carried or anything about breeds etc. According to the ADA a service dog is a dog that has been trained to do work or tasks to mitigate their handler's disability and to behave in public. There is no requirement for not being carried, and there is no requirement for three tasks (though many service dogs do three or more things.
So what I am going to say is not based on law, it is based on my personal feelings about how service dogs should behave ideally. I think ideally it is most professional looking when a service dog is walking next to their handler, be they 5 lbs or 150 lbs. I also think that a large portion of purse-sized service dogs can do their jobs from the ground, and if they can do so, that should be where they should be spending most of their time.
However, I do understand that there are times when this is not possible. For example, if you are in a crowded airport where everyone is rushing around with their luggage or whatever you may need to pick your small breed SD up for their own safety. I also know some medical alert dogs who need to smell their handler's breath to tell if they need to alert and this can be difficult to do from the ground. I know of one service dog who assists with temperature regulation for their handler and so needs to be in a chest pouch close to their handler's skin to be able to work. I am sure I am forgetting other tasks that a service dog might need to do that might require them to be held or put into a purse.
So, my take on it is that if your service dog needs to be carried either due to a dangerous situation that prevents them from walking, or if they need to be in a purse to do their task or work to mitigate your disability, that is OK. But I feel that if this is the case, the dog shoudl still be clearly identified as a service dog as in vested. I also feel the purse should be adorned with patches or other markings that make it clear that the dog is a service dog and not a pet in a purse. And I feel that if your dog does not need to be carried either due to danger or due to the nature of their job, tat they should be walking on the ground next to their handler as that looks more professional.
Regardless of the possible situations that might require a SD to be carried, I also feel that a SD should be able to walk nicely on a leash through a restaurant or store or whatever.
Hope that helps, again, the ADA doesnt' say anything about SDs in carriers, so these are just my thoughts on the etiquette of the matter!
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