Deminski: Selfish dog owners are ruining lives of disabled people
For years I have seen self-absorbed nitwits who think their dogs are the same as children insist on bringing their canines with them wherever they go. Airports, grocery stores, malls, restaurants, you name it. They get away with it because so many will lie and claim the dog is a 'service animal.' There are entire for profit websites that will sell you fake dog vests and fake credentials to pass your pet off as something it is not. It happens so much that store owners and the public in general has grown confused.
Why is this a bad thing? Because the sheer numbers of people doing this are causing problems for truly disabled people who actually need real service dogs. Store owners and others are getting so overwhelmed at the number of dogs being brought into their stores illegitimately that they are sometimes challenging the legitimate ones.
Today I saw a story about a 16-year-old young man who is on the autism spectrum and prone to panic attacks. He is battling with his school, Cherry Hill High School East, who he says has not allowed him to bring his trained service dog to school. Ben Shore says the law is clear on this and the school is creating barriers that make it hard for people with service dogs to attend school and that they are in violation. When first reading this, I was cynical. My initial suspicion being here was yet another person trying to pass off a pet as a service animal. Then the more I learned, such as how his dog Charlie can sense an anxiety attack coming on, how it will use deep pressure therapy, grounding, and tactical disruption, I realized this sounds legitimate and that I was falling into the same thinking that has led business owners to challenge the wrong people. And why? Because so many are faking it.
The folks who simply want their pets to be at their sides 24/7 and who are making up disorders they don't have and buying phony credentials for a service dog that isn't ought to be completely ashamed of themselves. They are suffering from the Disneyfication of animals where they want to bestow upon them traits they don't actually have and they've decided the whole world must automatically love their dog as much as they do. They should think about suffering every day with something real, like autism. They should think about the gray area they are creating that is confusing the public and making it more difficult for those in real need of a service animal. But they won't. Because these dog addicted slobs are among the most selfish people out there and they don't care who they inconvenience, even if it's a lady who's blind or a boy on the spectrum.
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