Letter: Stop pretending pets are service animals

Oct 04, 2017

Nothing upsets me more than seeing fake service animals. I wish all the fakers would leave their pets at home.

A service animal is an aide, most of the time in place of walkers, visual aids and medications. I have a serious medical problem that requires me to have my service animal with me at all times. I have a prescription for my service animal, just like you would for your next dose of antibiotics.

It would be so much easier if I didn’t have to worry about poop bags, where the service animal relief area is and where I can go to give him a break. It’s not all fun and games.

Then people want to talk to your service animal. Would you talk to someone’s wheelchair? No, you wouldn’t. So don’t talk, look at or touch my aide.

I would love to shop in a store and not be stopped and told how cute or adorable my service animal is. I already know that, and he does, too.

Emotional support animals are not protected by the ADA, therefore they have no access to restaurants, businesses or other venues unless “dogs are allowed.” I believe the mental health help is pivotal in recovery. But they are not held to the same strict standards. They are considered pets. Please do not confuse emotional support animals with PTSD animals. PTSD service animals are protected.

You will see more service dogs for veterans than what has been seen in the past. In order for us to really come home mentally, we need service animals by our sides.

I served 10 years for this great nation. I was hurt in the Persian Gulf. I have since been medically retired. It almost cost me my life. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to leave my house or be independent anymore. The military was all I knew.

Then I was introduced to my service dog, Sergeant. He was my light at the end of the tunnel and gave me courage to get out and live again. He’s why I am still alive today.

I could have easily been another veteran that took their life. Every day I wake up and get out of bed because he depends on me, and I depend on him. So now you see it’s not cool to have a fake service animal.

 

Leah Rosetti
Mill Creek
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