Sunday, October 29, 2017

Owning a service dog is no bed of roses

I have had problems with service dog acceptance issues in surprising places. Epilepsy, diabetes and a head injury, PTSD are diseases and health challenges that people can't see. They often don't notice my leg brace either. People have said some pretty hurtful things to me. One person even told me that I must just want the prestige of owning one. I asked if he meant the prestige of announcing to the world that I have a disability when my dog is with me, or if he was referring to the expense of the training, wellness plan or gear purchases?

There are aspects of ownership that they don't tell you about service dog ownership. Every handler expects to be denied at some point. A hotel cited a no pet policy when denying us once and another tried charging a pet fee. The worst (and most surprising) instance that happened to me was at the Safra Family Lodge at the National Institutes of Health. The complaint I filed with the department of justice about the experience led to the creation of a new service dog policy at the NIH.

What isn't talked about is how to handle it when a service dog team is denied, when a fee is charged or when there is an acceptance issue. Denial of service is widespread. A veteran told local news that he was kicked out of a restaurant in Sevierville and a blind man says that he and his guide dog were booted from a flight.

This Friday's live stream was called "Owning a Service Dog: What they don't tell you". We talked about some of the things that happen. The series was developed on my travel channel because people have access problems across the U.S. The only way to fix a problem is to talk about it. I hope you find the series helpful. Questions are always welcome.

Here's the link to the video. Share your thoughts in the comments below. If  you like the video, please click like on the YouTube page and subscribe. You'll get notification about future videos and it helps me out with the search engines.