Service & Support Animals For discussion of service and support animals.

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Old 11-08-2007, 10:50 PM #11
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Hi everyone Im really enjoying gathering information on emotional support animals. I have one and she is my life. I suffer from depression and anxiety and my lil angel has been great for me, I havent had 1 panic attack since I have had her. My lil angle Missy is so smart that when she hears me say a curse word she puts her paw on me and licks my mouth to calm me down ...she also undertstands when I let out a sigh she comes right up to me and gives me the paw! shes amazing!

From what I understand from what I read under the Federal Fair Housing Act people like myself who are disabled and have the medical proof to back that up are allowed to have a emotional support animal in any housing even places that say no pets allowed. Of course also having the proof that the animal is a huge part of our life and needed to cope.

Now I have 1 little problem involving the HOA where I live. They are scheduled to create new rules for the community and rumor has it will be involving setting a pet limit. We have 3 dogs in our home 1 is my own dog and 2 others belong to a relative. They city in which we live in has no limits on how many animals we can own, some other citys in the county have the same rule and some other citys in the county set limits. Seeing as out city has no limit on the amount of animals someone can have in there home , do you think that would supersede the HOA possible rule??? or am I in for a fight with the HOA involving my condtion and the rules of owning a Emotional Support Animal??

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:05 PM #12
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Arrow Update on my...

...own dog and experiences.....

I am so glad to see this forum growing as it is and people adding links, facts and their own wonderful stories.

I finally found my perfect dog - an adult black Pekingese, who has been with me since last April. If you ask for a bulkhead seat when you go up to the Southwest check-in counter with your letter from your psychiatrist that your animal is a service animal (I, for instance, can often not leave my apartment at all without her calming presence), then it is allowed for your dog to be let out of the carrier and sit at your feet or in your lap. The stewards go ga-ga about her.

I fasten her leash to my seatbelt, just to reassure people that she will not wander off if I drift off to sleep - but she is glued to me until I have to use the washroom when she is frantic to follow me.

Southwest (and all other airlines) should let you board with your dog at the same time as they let unattended children board.

My dog qualifies as a SERVICE ANIMAL as she is necessary for me to live a bit more normally, organize my life, and provides me the courage to go places I need to go. With carrying her papers with me (federal law, definitions & explanations & my doctor's letter), she is allowed into the post office and the grocery store (she rides quietly in the basket). WalMart employees have never had a thing to say and love her. At my pharmacy, she walks on a leash, but knows to pause at each "intersection" to watch for cross-traffic.

She is also allowed into the senior citizen center for meals and into the public library. And into local restaurants (where she usually prefers to be in her opened carrier.

She attends all my medical appointments, tho I left her home the night the ambulance took me in with a possible heart attack as I do have a neighbor here who is very fond of her and her of him.

The local Legion Hall gave me grief, so I simply stopped trying to go there on hamburger Friday fundraisers rather than go in with all my papers. The hall is huge and I would prefer to sit alone, far away from others --- but you have to pick and choose your battles. Unfortunate as the burgers are the BEST ever. Maybe I will tackle them again in a few months.

Since I live in a small town with everything and everywhere within walking distance, I am glad that the States have such generous laws for us. I will soon be taking her more places across the border, and I may have to spend a bit of time explaining her role in my life and will keep her in my older the shoulder carrier for those who are uncomfortable with her presence. A black dog in a black carrier is never detected unless she turns around or changes position and someone sees the bag move.

She will turn 5 this Valentine's Day and I dearly hope she makes it to 15. I got her microchipped (with http://www.24PetWatch.com) for only $10 at a shelter and will begin a health insurance policy on her as soon as my bills go down a bit - they have been high recently. The insurance policy will include a reward and money to help me advertise for her. She wears a red harness at all times with her PetWatch tag (includes the toll-free number & her ID number), rabies tag, city tag, and a large stainless steel tag I had made by one of those great engraving machines at a Super WalMart. Starts with fact that she is an MD Rx'd Service Dog, so people understand she is more than just a pet.

I refuse to make a long-haired dog wear a service vest everytime she goes out like the post office wanted to insist upon or have an "official" tag. Like I pointed out to her, ANYONE can buy such items online -- and my letter from my physician was the best validation of her status.

If you get an adult dog, insist on a 2 week trial period to make sure of a good "fit" if you can't visit a lot beforehand. The first dog I (from a rescue servicde) had been promoted to me as a perfect match to what I was looking for --- but she was a nightmare and ended up eating baseboards and ripping a huge patch from the upholstery from one of my two easy chairs - my living room furniture. She could not tolerate my going to the bathroom by myself or closing the bedroom door when I dressed. She had a mental disorder, attachment anxiety - considered incurable. And she had a skin condition that caused her intense itching that caused her to scratch herself raw.

When we drive, I have set up a home-made elevated basket perch far safer and more secure than anything commerically available and there is a new seat belt attachment that works with any harness and allows more freedom. She has a great deal of freedom of movement, is always within petting distance, and I don't have to worry about her being killed by an air bag or by being thrown around the vehicle in a crash or sudden stop.

Pooh Bear is becoming more and more bonded as the months go by. She was seemingly mistreated or severely disciplined in the past, but I know from the experience of re-parenting abused dogs that you can expect to erase the damage in a year's time of love, acceptance, approval and sensitivity to their triggers.

I encourage everyone to seek for what you need. What makes her a "trained" service animal is that she is incredibly well-behaved, virtually immobile in a shopping cart, never barks or tries to socialize wth others, and stands quietly at my side.

I knew a blind woman once who was on her second highly trained and valuable guidedog for the blind.... but the woman refused to (or was unable to ) adhere to the demands that you keep your dog WORKING when he is out with you on his working hand grip harness. Instead, she used him to socialize with others, encouraging people to pet and hug him, etc. He was already ruined. I doubt that they ever gave her another one.

When people ask if they can pet her, I most usually say no, that she is a working dog -- and it is getting easier and easier to say that without feeling stuffy. If I treat her like "just a pet", it blurs the boundaries of how the public sees service animals.

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Old 03-04-2008, 04:25 AM #13
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Hi, I am new at this and terrible on the pc so bear with me. I saw the title on Therapy dogs. I lost my best friend and Therapy dog 11/10/07. I am looking for a new best friend but cannot afford the adoption prices. I do my own training. Can anyone help? Sally.
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:18 PM #14
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Trig Southwest airlines is NOT Therapy dog friendly!

While trying to fly back home for Christmas, I found out, rather unfortunately, that Southwest Airlines is not therapy dog friendly, regardless of what the law says!
I made it all the way to Oakland California from Burbank with my dog, my letters from my doctor, my military ID, and all his applicable paperwork...but the airlines would not let me continue on to Boise, Idaho! Worse still was that they absolutely refused to let me make other arrangements with Southwest...
So, there I was, at ten at night, with no other flights leaving to Idaho until the next morning. I had to rebook through Delta, find a hotel for the night, and make sure that I was able to get back to the airport the NEXT morning to make my flight!
Southwest, the entire time, claimed that I had never shown them proof of my dogs paperwork and that I had been "Sneaking" him on board and that he was a disruption to passengers (which is bull puckey as he was NEVER out of his carrier while on the flight and had been sedated and was sleeping). OUTRAGEOUS! I had ALL his paperwork, had been CLEARED through Burbank, and had spoken with numerous gate agents along the way, all who assured me I was fine!
JUST AN FYI...Southwest has had a history of unreasonable removals of passengers from their flights...from people with wardrobe the airlines felt was inappropriate all the way to a poor man with Autism who was not only kicked off, but shuttled for 12 hours on various flights around the country while his frantic family tried to track him down!
When we spoke with Southwest representatives concerning this matter they said that it was against their policies to allow any animals on their planes, regardless of the reason. When I quoted the laws as outlined by the Americans With Disabilities Act as well as the medical documentation as supplied by the VFW, the response was "Well, you don't look like you have any disabilities..." Apparently you have to be physically disabled to be allowed by Southwest, and even that is probably a big IF.
I am an Afghanistan/Iraq war veteran with diagnosed bipolar and post traumatic stress syndrome. My dog is an emotional support dog who not only helps me with flying but from reoccuring night terrors and panic attacks. He has, on one very serious occasion, saved my life. This dog is NOT A PET, he is my life line.
Boycot Southwest. Fly Delta.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:31 PM #15
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Originally Posted by 36Monsters View Post
While trying to fly back home for Christmas, I found out, rather unfortunately, that Southwest Airlines is not therapy dog friendly, regardless of what the law says!
I made it all the way to Oakland California from Burbank with my dog, my letters from my doctor, my military ID, and all his applicable paperwork...but the airlines would not let me continue on to Boise, Idaho! Worse still was that they absolutely refused to let me make other arrangements with Southwest...
So, there I was, at ten at night, with no other flights leaving to Idaho until the next morning. I had to rebook through Delta, find a hotel for the night, and make sure that I was able to get back to the airport the NEXT morning to make my flight!
Southwest, the entire time, claimed that I had never shown them proof of my dogs paperwork and that I had been "Sneaking" him on board and that he was a disruption to passengers (which is bull puckey as he was NEVER out of his carrier while on the flight and had been sedated and was sleeping). OUTRAGEOUS! I had ALL his paperwork, had been CLEARED through Burbank, and had spoken with numerous gate agents along the way, all who assured me I was fine!
JUST AN FYI...Southwest has had a history of unreasonable removals of passengers from their flights...from people with wardrobe the airlines felt was inappropriate all the way to a poor man with Autism who was not only kicked off, but shuttled for 12 hours on various flights around the country while his frantic family tried to track him down!
When we spoke with Southwest representatives concerning this matter they said that it was against their policies to allow any animals on their planes, regardless of the reason. When I quoted the laws as outlined by the Americans With Disabilities Act as well as the medical documentation as supplied by the VFW, the response was "Well, you don't look like you have any disabilities..." Apparently you have to be physically disabled to be allowed by Southwest, and even that is probably a big IF.
I am an Afghanistan/Iraq war veteran with diagnosed bipolar and post traumatic stress syndrome. My dog is an emotional support dog who not only helps me with flying but from reoccuring night terrors and panic attacks. He has, on one very serious occasion, saved my life. This dog is NOT A PET, he is my life line.
Boycot Southwest. Fly Delta.
Hi 36Monsters....

As the spouse of a retired Delta pilot, I appreciate your sentiments about Delta. Boycotting Southwest is not the answer. But...there are things you can do to help enlighten them!

Having travelled a lot both with and without pets, I am quite familiar with each airline's policy regarding pets (I also live in Boise!). Southwest has never allowed animals aboard any of their flights regardless of the status. I am surprised you were allowed to bring your dog onboard at all.

I certainly hope you have written letters to Southwest Management regarding the treatment you received. The best way to address the situation with the airline is to state the facts - the dates and times of your flights, the airports you were in and if you have the names of any of the employees you encountered that would greatly help your cause.

If you and your therapy dog were allowed on one flight that should have set the stage for the remaider of your flights. The supervisors should have realized that and not hassled you on the last leg of your flight.

I wish you luck in recuping the costs of your delay in returning home. It's these types of situations that give traveling with therapy/assistance animals a bad name.
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Old 03-30-2008, 05:10 PM #16
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While trying to fly back home for Christmas, I found out, rather unfortunately, that Southwest Airlines is not therapy dog friendly, regardless of what the law says!
There is no law in the U.S. requiring airlines to fly therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Some airlines might choose to fly them, but it is their choice, just as it is their choice whether to permit pets or SAR dogs. Also, the ADA specifically does not apply to airplanes.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, they must permit people with disabilities, with service dogs to fly unless doing so would constitute an undue burden or if the animal is disruptive. For example, if the animal is too large to fit in the foot space allotted to the human traveler, they can require the human to either purchase a second ticket or to have the animal fly in baggage. If the animal barks, urinates, pesters others with jumping up or sniffing, or is otherwise behaving in a disruptive manner, then they may refuse to have the animal in the cabin, but should offer to fly him in baggage. Airlines are permitted to ask the owner of the dog what the dog is trained to do as a condition of allowing them on the plane.

Unfortunately, since there are so many groups issuing fake ID papers so that people can claim their pets as service dogs, real documentation of real service dogs is also becoming meaningless. The best evidence a dog is a service dog is the dog's behavior and the owner's description of what the dog does.

The Air Carrier Access Act is unlike the ADA in that it includes people with disabilities with emotional support animals as a protected class. So even though the ADA does not cover public access rights for people with emotional support animals in public accommodations, the ACAA does cover them for flying in the cabin of planes.

Off hand I can think of only one state that grants special rights to therapy dog owners, and that is only for mental health professionals who use them in their work (which accounts for very few therapy dog owners over all).
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:09 PM #17
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We have a pair of dogs training for different hearing needs for my husband and me, in the past year they have learned so much, and I want to teach them more. My dog will tell me if my husband is sick in the night as he sleeps in his recliner 98% of the time, and I am deaf in one ear and sometimes sleep on my good ear. He alerts to buzzers, timers, knocks at the door and can be protective but not to the extreme. Hubby's dog does a lot of the same things but she is also a good dog to just sit with him and lower his blood pressure.

These dogs go every where with us and have only been turned away by the dr's office and one restaurant....food is lousy there anyhow, no great loss!
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Old 04-13-2008, 12:04 AM #18
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Confused Emotional/Service/Training Gray Areas?

I have a dog I got as emotional support. My therapist is the one who started me down the service dog road because she noticed my mental health was so much improved when he was around. My issues are PTSD, anxiety and depression from chronic and acute illness (fibromyalgia and permanent trauma injury, and cancer). I am training this dog through a local service-dog training facility.

Right now he is in the basics, not trained for any particular task yet, though I have taken him everywhere I could since he was a puppy, to get him used to being in many public situations without concern. I would eventually like to have him (assuming he can be trained this far - so far his prospects are quite promising) stop anxiety attacks and rage attacks by intervening, and lifting my mood by licking or comforting when he notices cues; there is also due to my illness a potential for physical assistance to a limited degree (he is quite small). Honestly, the only thing his trainer sees possibly barring that would be my own lifespan not being long enough, as the cancer has been rather aggressive.

But right now he provides support with things like sitting with me in the hospital in medical treatments that are painful and stressful and lifting my mood by his amazing temperament and innate ability to comfort by doing things such as licking my throat until he notices my change in mood. I take him everywhere, and his presence helps greatly in keeping me steady in places like restaurants, stores, and other places where things may not always go smoothly and where I am inclined to have problems.

I have been referring to him as an emotional support animal, believing this was a variation on a service animal and the proper term, but am now reading here that this does not allow him places where I NEED him. He is not yet a fully trained service animal, but trust me when I tell you he has saved my life and I do not feel "normal" except when in his calming presence. So what do I call him and what is allowed? I do not want to run afoul of the law. He is a perfect gentleman in public, I keep him clean, and he is genuinely helpful. I do my best to give service dogs a good name by training him under a licensed trainer, as I do not want those who come after me to be mistrusted, and not asking more of him than he is trained for. He does get distressed when I am not around; if this is a failing, it is my fault since I am so dependent on his presence to maintain my own calm and presence of mind. It is not just my opinion: my therapist and doctors feel his being right there with me (as opposed to haning out at home while I'm out) is extremely important to my emotional stability.

I should note that we have never found an antidepressant or antianxiety medication that has helped. Either they haven't worked or they have had debilitating and bizarre side effects (one med, for example, caused back spasms and another caused hallucinations without either ameliorating the original problems). So it's pretty much this dog or suicide. So where are the lines, because they look pretty grey to me. One person's relief is another's lifeline. To call both nonessential seems to me a mistake and a potential tragedy. I would appreciate feedback on this.
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:22 AM #19
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Exclamation Re: Emotional/Service/Training Gray Areas?

After posting yesterday, I looked up what I could find on this topic. It would appear that there IS legal precedent for dogs referred to as "emotional support" animals being recognized as service dogs, as referenced in a 2006 article in the New York Times. Since I have fewer than 10 posts, it won't let me post the link, but it's easily googled or searched through the NYTimes website. Keywords "emotional support animal NY Times" will put it at the top of the list.

I also slogged through ADA law (as opposed to the summarized guidelines) and could not find anything against the designation of emotional support animals as service animals. I also don't find anything saying calling an emotional support animal a service dog is against the law, or that Social Security benefits would be affected in any case. Of course, I do not want to get into a whole thing about who is worthy and who is faking, please. But where are people here getting the legal precedent that it is NOT an appropriate designation?
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:39 PM #20
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After posting yesterday, I looked up what I could find on this topic. It would appear that there IS legal precedent for dogs referred to as "emotional support" animals being recognized as service dogs, as referenced in a 2006 article in the New York Times. Since I have fewer than 10 posts, it won't let me post the link, but it's easily googled or searched through the NYTimes website. Keywords "emotional support animal NY Times" will put it at the top of the list.

I also slogged through ADA law (as opposed to the summarized guidelines) and could not find anything against the designation of emotional support animals as service animals. I also don't find anything saying calling an emotional support animal a service dog is against the law, or that Social Security benefits would be affected in any case. Of course, I do not want to get into a whole thing about who is worthy and who is faking, please. But where are people here getting the legal precedent that it is NOT an appropriate designation?
You are right it is quite a gray area as it is not spelled out in simple terms. But then what law is!

From my understanding of the interpetation of the ADA is this:
What is a Service Animal? A service animal under the ADA is any animal that are Individually Trained to Perform Tasks to benefit an individual with a disability. (TitleIII 4.2300)

The term Trained and The Term Perform Tasks is what makes an animal a service animal.

The ADA does not cover the Service animal in training they must be trained to perform tasks in order for them to be covered under the ADA. Though Service animals do not have legal right People with disabilities do.

Under the ACAA and FHA Emotional Support Animals do not have to perform tasks to be called ESA. However under those two laws they are considered a Service Animal.

If you are teaching your dog or ESD various tasks that would benefit you by say teaching him/her to lay head on lap or to lick or even tug on pants leg then that is consider not an Emotional Support Animal but a Service Animal (ie Medical Respond/alert catagory). But if an ESD is just there for comfort as all Service dogs are as well then that under the interpetation of the ADA is Not consider as being a Service Animal for they are not specifically Trained!

That is the difference of ESA vs SD/SA! At least that's how my understanding of the law is. Also that's basically how the Dept. of Justice has worded their business brief in examples. Various Service animals performing tasks that were taught. (not quoted there).

However being you said your in the training stage with your dog then your dog would be in terms "service animal in training" henceforth by the ADA is not cover. So you would have to check with your local and state laws to see if they have additional benefits for dogs in training. Many states do! Again this is my understanding of the laws as I am not a lawyer. Another thing too I can say from my friends that were in court each judge has their own interpertation of the law as well making it even more confusing.
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