Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Less Fun Side of Service Dogs

Well, not for me but for Mom as my handler. Access Challenges. An access challenge is when a worker at a place service dogs are allowed to go (there are some places we can't go where itwould make a place unable to operate like sterile parts of a hospital) says that the service dog can't come in.
We have been very lucky that we have had few access challenges in the time I've been a service dog. A couple weeks ago, we went to Mom and Grandmom's favorite store to find some summer clothes for Mom. Mom was ready to try on some clothes and the attendant said first that I couldn't come in, then that we couldn't take all our clothes in, then that we could and then that the handicapped dressing room wasn't useable (Mom needs help from Grandmom to try on clothes and it is hard to fit 2 people and a service dog in my gear in a regular one). Then another worker came up and said I couldn't go in. Both people were very rude to Mom and Grandmom We explained to both of them what I did and that I am allowed by ADA law to be with Mom.
After Mom tried on her clothes (and we found out that the attendant had let a fully-abled woman with much more clothes than Mom in the handicapped room) we went to talk to the Manager. We explained what happened and that he might want to reteach them about the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To help inform people (both friendly and not) Mom has made brochures That talk about me and what I do and service dog laws and etiquette.

It has some pictures of me working and me with Mom. It also gives websites where people can learn more about service dogs, the ADA and me! These brochures really help Mom educate others about me and all service dogs. The more people that know good service dog etiquette and the laws, the easier and better it is for everyone.I am also registered with the stated. This isn't required by law but it is very helpful if a service dog team every has to go to court over an access challenge. I have a tag with my registration number, an ID card and a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services that say I am registered.
Mom had an upsetting encounter with a psychologist last week. For her to get her spinal cord stimulators (implants that block pain signals), the insurance company requires a psychological evaluation (similar to that for transplant patients) before we can proceed. The psychologist was rude and condescending to Mom and told her that how fast she got sick, how many doctors she has seen (because no one could figure her out and kept referring her to other) and having me as a service dog were all bad coping techniques. He didn't want to learn what I do and wouldn't answer Mom's, Grandmom's or Granddad's questions about what he meant. Mom is worried, since if this guy says no, Mom won't get her SCS's. So everyone keep your paws crossed that he says yes!


  1. Sounds like you need to get a second psych opinion - or that the state needs a new psychologist!

  2. oh my, I hope he says yes. Is there no chance for a second opinion?

  3. I think some people just like to make things difficult for other people. :-( Hope the psychologist does right by your mom.