In the past week, or more, I have received constant harassment and discrimination due to having a service animal. These are quite intelligent people too, that work for big corporations, so it gives me pause how they address it at their own work place; or do those with disabilities just bend over and take it up the butt from said employers?
I first considered getting a service animal when I was pregnant, due to having a seizure disorder. After the training her and I received we have been a team for the past upcoming 13 years this December. It takes time, dedication, and constant vigilance on the owner’s part to, not only care for the animal, but listen when said animal is communicating to you that something is amiss. Yes, Heidi does do certain visible jobs for me, however most of what she does is unseen by the naked eye unless I am in extreme danger of having a seizure.
Legally there are no specific requirements for any type of equipment that a service animal is required to wear. It is usually to signify to everyone else it is a ‘working dog” so leave the service animal alone. Do not bring your dog over to sniff its’ butt, we do not want your dog and our service animal to be friends, we do not want your child to pet our service animal (get your own), we do not want you to feed our service animal… again leave the service animal alone. To clarify this one-Service Animal are not pets. Let’s not get this one confused, as most I have run into lately seem to be very, very confused about this.
Another thing that is not needed is to remind us of the laws we need to abide by, after poorly done research by who do not know. Do not insult our intelligence. Who are they trying to convince? Or does their need to feel superior just get the best of them? They sound like a bible thumper spouting witchcraft: totally inane.
We know the laws. It was created to protect us from those who would discriminate, directly or indirectly. Which leads me to my next point:
The ADA has a section on filing a complaint on being discriminated against, which goes to the Justice Department and they investigate businesses and those that discriminate.
I am aware that not everyone, or business, discriminates. In my own experience it has been a select group of people and some addicts and alcoholics. It is rather disconcerting that there is such a need by enough of them to harass myself and my service animal, to the point where when I walk into a meeting I am told “Pets are not allowed in here”, knowing full well she is my service animal. She even has a tag so her and I will be left alone-however this seems too simple of a concept for some to grasp. It takes the focus off the message of recovery and puts it on something so inane-their issue. Call your sponsor about your issue with my service animal and dogs/pets; it is not my problem and I do not want to hear about it anymore.
I added this link, for those who do have questions Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA. The ADA.gov site also has a lot informative information on it.