Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maeve Dares to Go Bare

Maeve at the Mercedes-Benz of Henderson cafe
There is no question that service dogs do not need to be labelled in any way. I've always had Maeve wear a simple, home-made sign that says "service dog" on her saddlebags when we go into any place that serves foods and also in most businesses, but I was under no obligation to do this. I did it for my own convenience.

A couple of weeks ago I had a 10-day period of bad luck, bad health, and high stress. One of the stressful events was the loss/theft of Maeve's saddlebags with the service dog sign. I had backup saddlebags, but no sign. I was sick, had no address to which an order could be shipped,
and didn't have what I needed to make another sign. I decided to leave the saddlebags unmarked. I still used them so people would get the idea that she's not just an ordinary dog in a place of business that deals with food, but there's no longer anything on her that actually says she's a service dog.

The effect has been less than I excepted and it's turning out to be a good thing in the balance. I may be getting a little bit more of a challenge here and there, but often the fact that she's not marked is starting productive conversations with staff and customers of businesses about the laws concerning service dogs. That gives me even more opportunities to get the word out about the rights of people with disabilities to psychiatric service dogs and emotional support animals.

There's something else it's accomplishing. When people try to pet her (which I allow and then warn them that most other service dogs are not pettable) or ask about her lack of signage, I get to say to them, "Whenever you see a dog where dogs are usually not seen or are not allowed, assume they are a service dog and ignore them." Maybe this will hasten, just a little bit, the coming of the day when a person with a calm, focused dog can walk into a business with no more notice than a black person who boards a bus and sits in the front seat.

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human

call us using "call Maeve and Joanne" at http://www.servicepoodle.com/contact-us

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human We would LOVE to speak to your group free of charge

Joanne and Maeve (her psychiatric service poodle) help people with psychiatric disabilities discover their rights to emotional support animals in no-pets housing without pet deposits or pet fees and their rights to service dogs

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