Service dogs in Albany are amazing. They have been extensively trained, live strict but loved lives, and take care of their owners like truly no one else can. The dogs’ abilities to detect seizures, pick up dropped items, and even warn owners of impending stroke or heart attack make these dogs literally life savers.
With all the amazing things these animals can do, it’s no wonder we have learned to accept them in places we usually wouldn’t, like a restaurant or the office. But there is a growing cynicism towards service and support animals in general, and mostly because of misunderstanding, and I’ll admit that I used to be one of these people.
I was not raised in a house with pets, and I never could understand the “emotional support animal“. I could understand a seeing eye dog or a dog that assists with the hearing impaired, but these are obvious needs that a dog could help with. When I would see articles about an emotional support pig or bunny, I would roll my eyes.
The Best Law on service dogs in Albany
If you are in the US, you may have heard of emotional support animal or ESA. An emotional support animal works like a companion animal for people and patients, for offering therapeutic benefits. Usually such animals are either cats or dogs, although a patient can choose other pets. The whole purpose of an ESA is to offer relief and support for disability, psychological symptoms or emotional stress. Check some of the basic facts you need to know before getting an ESA certificate.
To get an emotional support animal, you have to check with your physician to consider the option of proving verifiable disability, as stated by law. Your doctor or medical professional will give a note or a certificate, which will mention the concerned disability and the need for emotional support animal that will offer therapeutic care and healing. However, the animal isn't treated a service animal and therefore, there is no need for any formal training. In fact, all domesticated animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, cats and dogs, can become an ESA.
There are professional companies, which can assist you in evaluating if you qualify for ESA evaluation letters, but these services are just meant for assistance. Ultimately, only licensed medical health professionals can offer you the certificate on their professional paper. Check online and you can find simple forms that will help finding your qualification. Don't miss on asking the rules and regulations with your doctor in detail. As a pet owner, you have to find the benefits of having an ESA, so that you can exercise your rights.
5 Things to Consider Before Getting Your First Dog
How Should You Act Around a Service Dog?
How should you act around a service dog?
A person's natural instinct is to pet and play with dogs.
Unfortunately, we must all respect the vest or cape of the service dog and ignore the dog as much as possible. That means not petting it, touching it, distracting it, talking to it, teasing it, or especially feeding it.
So, how should you act? Really the best way and only recommended way is by totally ignoring the dog the same way you would politely ignore a wheelchair or cane.
A service dog that is not ignored may become "ruined" and unusable by its owner, and given that service dogs are both very hard to find for specific conditions and extremely expensive (typically averaging $15,000 each) this can be devastating for the dog's owner.
By violating this etiquette, you have also just helped contribute to the person's loss of freedom and possibly made it necessary for the owner to give up the dog, which would be heartbreaking, and for the person to require the use of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA)—another person shadowing them all the time—to provide some of the services that the dog used to perform.
Service Dog Basics for the Public
Do you have a hard time working around a service dog?
It's very hard for some people to be around service dogs and service dogs in-training because a person's natural instinct is to pet and play with dogs, especially the healthy well-kept dogs who work as service dogs.
Unfortunately, we must all respect the vest or cape of the service dog and ignore the dog as much as possible rather than petting it, touching it, distracting it, talking to it or teasing it, or even looking at it.
When the cape/vest is on, the dog is working
After all, whenever the cape is on, the dog is working hard, whether it looks like it to you or not.
Among other things, the dog is working very hard to ignore you and the tiny morsel of food on the floor over there that looks tasty.
The dog is also focused on its handler, remaining alert for any commands, scents, or hand signals for action.
It falls asleep all the time. How is that "working"?
Most service dogs are trained to catch a nap whenever possible during the day to give them the energy they need when their work is most actively needed.
Napping at strategic times, such as lunchtime and meetings, is a type of work essential for them to do their service dog work; the dog is not in any way "falling asleep on the job" in a negative sense.
So, how should you act?
Really the best way is by ignoring the dog the same way you would politely ignore a wheelchair or cane.
The service dog and its handler try to minimize the distraction the dog provides to the public, but the public needs to learn and obey manners with respect to the dog and the disabled person (or dog trainer) also.
Remember that it's not polite to stare, point, or talk about people.
One thing you should never do
It's very impolite to ask why someone uses a service dog because their disability is private health information.
Benefits of service dogs
Service dogs can be of great benefit to people with all sorts of disabilities, including invisible disabilities like diabetes, asthma, vertigo, and psychiatric disabilities.
Don't assume that a person who "looks good" and is with a service dog isn't disabled just because the disability isn't obvious to you.
Bonus: Service dogs are also a calming, friendly presence around the office or place or business.
Remember, if a service dog's vest is on they are working.
Service dogs are NOT pets, by law, and interfering with a service dog team is actually a crime in most states.
The same manners that apply to a wheelchair apply to a service dog: that's the easiest way to remember what's right or wrong most of the time.
Please Do Not Make Your Dogs Pretend To Be Service Dogs
"Why use service dogs for invisible disabilities?" you ask.
Why not? A disability is a disability, and dogs are amazingly attuned to their humans' needs and moods. Is someone with epilepsy helped less than someone with hearing or vision loss? Not if that dog is trained to help them in the unique ways in which they need help.
Even the government is starting to promote the use of service animals for veterans returning with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because the dog can provide a grounding or stabilizing force for the person with PTSD. Trained dogs can help compensate and care for the disabled person in ways that a routine doctor's visit or medication can't.
Besides, how many people who are blind actually LOOK blind without their white canes? How many people look deaf?
Service dogs, prescribed by a medical doctor, aren't just for certain disabilities, they can be trained to help with MANY disabilities in ways unique to each individual. Examples of invisible disabilities that may be helped by a service animal:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic pain
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Brain damage/traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Environmentally triggered allergies
- and many more disabilities!
5 Things to Consider Before Getting Your First Dog
Puppies and adult dogs are ideal pets. You must understand that pet ownership requires a great deal of time and effort to ensure the animals receive proper care and attention. In addition, there are certain facts you should consider before you pick a puppy or adult dog up from the Humane Society or other type of pet-adoption center. We provide you with a list below of these facts so you can select a dog in an intelligent manner.
Selecting a Dog That Is Right for Your Lifestyle
A puppy or adult dog should fit into your existing lifestyle in the proper manner for you to enjoy it fully. For example, if you live an inactive lifestyle, you do not need a dog that requires an excessive amount of exercise to keep its energy to a livable level. On the other hand, if you are highly active, you need a dog that can keep up with you. Consult a dog breed selector to assist you in your search for the ideal breed for your lifestyle. By answering a few pertinent questions, the selector is able to provide you the dogs that best fit your lifestyle, including which ones are ideal for children.
Cost of Dog Food and Treats
You should price the cost of dog food and dog treats for the size of the dog that you wish to adopt. Where small dogs only eat a few dollars worth of food and treats a week, a large dog will place a severe dent in your finances weekly as far as food and treats are concerned. In addition, check with a veterinarian to learn which brands of food are the best today. The recommendation changes occasionally. A veterinarian also will advise you on what are healthy dog treats and the treats that may cause your puppy or dog problems.
Learn How to Prevent Fleas
You should learn how to prevent fleas from infesting your puppy or adult dog before you adopt one. Otherwise, the fleas will be a problem quickly. A number of different options are available for flea control from oral medications to topical applications for your puppy or adult dog. Consult a veterinarian as to which is suitable for your age group of dog. In addition, frequent vacuuming of the house and a safe insecticide on the yard also will be helpful to prevent or control the flea problem.
Inquire About Dog Insurance
Since dog owners throughout the United States spend millions, possibly billions of dollars each year on veterinarian bills, you may wish to inquire about dog insurance. Actually, this insurance will cover additional types of pets besides just dogs and commonly is known as pet insurance. It will help reduce the amount of your out-of-pocket expense for medical attention for injuries and other health issues that can occur with your puppy or adult dog.
Dog Ownership Is a Long-Term Responsibility
Along with the other information here, you must consider that dog ownership is a long-term responsibility since the majority of dogs live 12 or more years. For this reason, you must commit to take care of your puppy or adult dog properly for as long as it is alive to ensure that it is healthy. Proper care includes feeding and exercising the dog daily, and grooming it at least once a week if not more often depending on the length of its hair. On top of all this, you should take the dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups and necessary vaccinations along with emergency attention.
Keep all these considerations in mind as you select the perfect puppy or adult dog to adopt for a pet. Dogs are such social creatures that they will appreciate your companionship as much as you enjoy theirs.
The (Common) Sense Pet Professionals