[nagdu] What you may not know about service animals

Ginger Kutsch Ginger at ky2d.com
Thu Sep 11 12:44:30 UTC 2014

What you may not know about service animals

The Doctors, USA WEEKEND 4:55 p.m. EDT September 10, 2014

Learn how helpful service animals can be for those with disabilities.



Many are golden retrievers and Labradors, but none is considered a pet:
Service dogs are actually working animals that are individually trained to
perform tasks for people with disabilities.


Here's what else you should know:


Job descriptions vary. What service dogs do depends on the person's specific
needs. Tasks can include opening and closing doors, retrieving medications,
assisting people who are blind or deaf, pulling a wheelchair or alerting to
an impending seizure, among other duties.

ID vests are not required. Other than a few exceptions, service dogs are
allowed in places open to the public, according to the Americans with
Disabilities Act. They must have a harness or leash, unless the tether gets
in the way of the animal's tasks. (In those cases, the handler must have
control through voice commands, hand signals or other means, the ADA says.)
The dog does not, however, have to wear an identifying vest or special
badge. If the need for the service animal is not obvious, business owners
are only allowed to ask whether the animal is required because of a
disability and what work has it been trained to perform.


Don't pet without asking. Don't offer the dog any food, and most
importantly, don't interrupt or distract the animal while it is performing
its task.


Service dogs are different from comfort dogs. Emotional-support animals are
prescribed by mental health professionals to provide therapeutic support and
security for people with psychological limitations; therapy animals offer
affection and comfort, typically in facilities such as hospitals and
retirement homes. ople with emotional-support animals don't have the same
public-access rights as those with service dogs.


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