From Lisa: Service Animals & the Media
I love dogs. In fact, I would like to pet my two dogs all day long everyday (see photo—aren’t they adorable?). Yet, despite their utter charm, I know that I can’t bring my dogs to work or into places of business because my dogs are not trained service animals. How many of you have heard a story in the news lately about someone trying to say that their pet is a service animal when it isn’t? What may be misunderstood is that this action is harmful to those whose lives are greatly benefited from a service animal, which is far more often the case.
Service animals are trained to provide a specific task or tasks for a person with a disability. That animal may allow the person access to education, to a job, or to a more full and inclusive life. But you don’t hear that in the news. The news rarely covers when a person who is blind is able to work because they have a dog to guide them, or a veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is able to live independently because of their service animal, or a child with severe diabetes can go to school because of their alert dog. But, you’ll probably see a news headline when someone tries to bring a peacock on an airplane.
It is important to remember that service animals are a form of support, no different than a wheelchair or a hearing aid, that should never be denied. Today you will read ten facts about service animals. Whether you have a disability, know someone with a disability, or just wonder about how this works; I urge you to read this article. And next time you read the headlines, please remember the harmful message being spread for people who use service animals.