Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Front Line Employee In the Life of a Service Dog

You can’t have a dog in here.” … “ I can’t have your PET all over the place.” “Why do you need a dog for anyway?”  “ You can’t have a dog here unless you’re blind.—You are not blind, are you?”  “You have to go elsewhere with the dog.” “But.. There’s food here. NO DOGS.”  “We are glad to have your Service dog but there’s a deposit.”
“Mom why are you reviewing all our adventures?” “Oh hello Goodee the Service Dog.” “our friend Sue Kindred sent us some information on Service Dog Access. I was reviewing places we have been and the number of people who have told us Service Dogs are not allowed.”
“Gosh mom there’s lots of people who have told us Service Dogs are not allowed. Which is actually  silly because a Service Dog is just an extension of a person. The dog is a medical device. Employees would never think of telling a person they can’t have their eye glasses, or diabetic needles yet when are faced with a Service dog  they often say “NO DOGS! (and some are less polite than others)”.
Goodee the Service Dog is correct. We often encounter employees who are not familiar with Federal Laws requiring Service Dog Access.-- While the employee would have no problem making a decision when presented with other medical devices “The Dog” causes them hesitation. 
When Team Goodee is out and about we are often told by Managers and Owners that their employees “have been trained on Service Dog access” and “should have known the law.” The corporate attitude is: “Oh deal with it, so you got crappy customer service.” However, Service Dog Access is more than just a component of customer service. Denying Service Dog Access is against Federal Law and carries monetary penalties.
Sue Kindred provides the basics of Service Dog Access:
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal law that allows people with service dogs to go wherever the public is generally allowed to be.  So, while service dogs are allowed in restaurants, they’re not allowed in the kitchen.  And in the grocery store they’re not allowed behind the seafood counter. 
The ADA also provides business owners with a blueprint of their responsibilities toward service dogs and their handlers.  It tells them, for example, that they can ask 1) Is that a service dog?; and 2) what tasks does it perform for you?  They cannot ask, “Hey, why do you need a dog anyway?” or “What’s wrong with you that you need a dog?” And, they certainly cannot say “Hey, no dogs in here.” Nor are they allowed to ask for “papers” for the dog or treat a  person differently than other customers just because they have a Service Dog.
Did you know that the ADA trumps the mandates of food inspectors who tell business owners they are not allowed to have dogs on the premises?  While they may not allow pets …  they MUST allow service dogs.  And, in some states, that includes not just handers, but service dog trainers as well (they have to get trained somehow!!).
So, businesses that serve the public, including restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, airlines, sports and concert arenas, must always allow you and your service dog to enter, purchase goods and services at the same price as others and generally not be discriminated against.
Service Dog discrimination should be reported to the local police or the Department of Justice ADA Information line at 800-514-0301. 
DD & Service Dog Goodee wish to welcome Sue Kindred and thank her for helping us with our blog.  
Sue Kindred is President and Chief Navigator for Service Dog 411.  Formerly the Executive Director of an international service dog organization, Sue Kindred understands service dog placement and training from both the perspective of the family as well as that of the provider. She is a writer, educator, and speaker. She is also an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities that are not readily apparent to others as well as improving the public’s understanding about how a service dog can increase independence and enhance quality of lives. 

Service Dog 411
Service Dog information for persons looking for a Service Dog and resources for Service Dog owners.
U.S. Department of Justice ADA Hotline
800 - 514 - 0301 (voice) or 800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY)
Service Dog Access
The life-changing effects of a Service Dog
“Until Tuesday “: a Wounded Warrior & the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him
A New York Times Best Seller by Former Capt.
Luis Carlos Montalván. with Bret Witter
Allergy Alert- “peanut dog”
Autism Service Dog
Service Dogs  & Invisible Disabilities
Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities
Mitigation of mental impairments through the use of a Service Dog
Things people say to Service Dog Handlers

We list these resources to educate.  We welcome feedback by email. When you see us out and about we often must say, “Not Now We Are Working!”
GoodeeWorks Productions
DD & GOODEE the Service Dog wish to remind everyone our friend Teddy (age 9) suffers from life-threatening tree nut allergies. Lucy the labradoodle is currently in training to keep Teddy away from harm and carry his needed medical supplies.
Service Dog training is expensive. Your support is appreciated:
Donations can be made directly to Angel Service Dogs:
Mark your payment “Training for Lucy”__________________________
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For the love of Lucy/ Teddy’s Service Dog