Service dogs in Kansas City 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 Service Animal Laws in Kansas City
There is controversy surrounding the roles of animals in the lives of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Many of us have seen the posts online about registering your animal as an emotional support animal with a small fee, and being able to keep your animal in a no pets allowed setting. This has led people to question the legitimacy of all service animals and their roles. A feeling of distrust among people who do not understand the difference between these animals, and the rights that accompany them, has been emerging as more people utilize these services.
Service Dogs are the most protected and trained of the 3 types of dogs. While many people refer to all 3 types as "service animals", the official names for this type is Service Dog. These dogs are legally considered medical equipment and have a price tag to match, ranging from $10,000- $50,000. They are intensively trained for 1.5-2.5 years, having to pass a variety of tests to be serviceable including, but not limited to, opening cupboards, retrieving dropped objects, staying calm in public, etc.
The last type we are discussing are Emotional Support Animals. This one is the most vague and open-ended. An Emotional Support Animal does not have to have any special training and most of the time is registered by its owner because it brings comfort. Also, an Emotional Support Animal does not have to be a dog. These animals are not protected under the ADA and cannot accompany their owners in establishments where there are no animals allowed. Owners with a registered support animals can keep them in housing that otherwise does not allow pets according to the Fair Housing Act.
The Difference Between Therapy Dogs And Companion Dogs
What's the difference between a service animal and a therapy animal?
A service dog focuses on the needs of its handler. A therapy dog works with its handler to focus on the needs of others.
Service dogs assist an individual with a disability. They're trained to perform tasks that the person cannot perform for him or herself. A few examples might be alerting to the sound of a siren, pulling a wheelchair uphill, retrieving an item from a grocery store shelf, alerting to low blood sugar, or guiding a person down the street. Service dogs focus primarily on the needs of their handler.
For more information see the following links:
Top 10 Emotional Support Animal Dog Breeds
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the system. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain that their neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed the animal is an emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary has an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How does this affect those who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the system, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
But that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small price to pay when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you cannot control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled in the great state of California have equal access under law.
Is That Support Animal Really Necessary?
Generally speaking, both therapy dogs and companion dogs are your best friend and also your constant buddy. They obtain this classification from being able to assist the owner with a multitude problems. Therapy Dogs and Companion Dogs can also be classified as having almost the same abilities as a Service Animals but basically are NOT animal assistance dogs that help individuals with physical disabilities.
But what exactly is the difference between Companion Dogs and Therapy Dogs?
Okay, let me start by defining what a therapy dog is. Usually, they are found in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. They aide people with difficulties in learning, and help to calm stressful situations that can be normally seen in disaster areas caused by natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, technological hazards including nuclear and radiation accidents, or sociological hazards like riots, terrorism or war. In short, Therapy Dogs are specifically trained to provide affection and comfort to people who needs it as I mentioned while ago. They are well known for their temperament. They are patient, friendly, confident, gentle and easy in whatever situations... Your dog needs to have these characteristics to be classified as qualified Therapy Dogs. Why is that so? This is because they are expected to enjoy human contact, can be petted and handled by people carefully and even clumsily. They come in all breeds and sizes. It is a Therapy Dog's job to have other people even the unfamiliar one to have contact with them and these people should enjoy that connection. But, why? Okay, as we all know, children always love hugging animals, while adults love petting the them. In some situations, the Therapy Dogs might need to be lifted onto, climb onto, placed onto individual's lap, sleep on an adult's or kid's bed, and either sit or lie comfortably there. Therapy dogs need to be comfortable on this situations and must cope depending on a person's need to be able to provide emotional support to both adults and children. They are expected to be stroked, held, and sometimes just watched.
People oftentimes got confused between therapy dogs vs. service dogs. I wanted to clear it up. Therapy Dogs are not service or assistance dogs. Service dogs directly assist humans, it is legal for these dogs to accompany their owners in almost all areas and in fact, in the United States alone, Service Dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. Therapy Dogs on the other hand are not mentioned on this law simply because they did not provide direct assistance for people with disabilities so this is why some institutions gives limit and prohibit access for Therapy Dogs but, in most cases, they allowed it, however, institutions may impose requirements for Therapy Dog. There are organizations that provide testing and some accreditations for Therapy Animal to assure the institutions that they were tested in accredited manner. Establishment accredit dogs who are found to be positive on people, possess good manners in public locations, in good health with up to date shots, and should be always obedient to owner's command. Most important is that they should not be aggressive.
To make it specific, training Companion Dogs corrects behaviors such as jumping on people, digging, inappropriate barking and chewing and at the same time enhancing the dog's mental and physical activities. It deepens the bond between the dog and the owner, providing a higher level of satisfaction and enjoyment that we get from the dog's companionship. Training also ensures dog's safety and their happiness that is beneficial for your family, neighborhood and even the entire community.
When do you actually need to train your Companion Dog or to enroll them in a class? The answer is Now. Nowadays, veterinarians encourage owners to have the puppy trained even before the completion of shots. It could begin in as early as seven to eight weeks old. Why? The truth is the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age is not actually infectious diseases - it is the behavioral issues between puppies as they grow up to be dogs.
This only proves that delaying the training until the puppy finishes the vaccines may somehow be damaging beliefs which could affect the dogs in the future simply because they are missing almost 16 weeks when the puppy was isolated from the world.
For those who are not aware about training Companion Dogs, obedience training is the most important and the most effective training the owner and trainer can give to a puppy or dog. Training can make your Companion Dog more than just a pet. In reality Companion Dogs will always be valuable member of the family. The dog will never fail to provide pleasure, protection and bond of companionship which is essential in promoting respectful relationship between your family and your dog. However, this respect cannot be easily exerted by improper handling methods or mistreatment but mostly earned through leadership and proper training.
There is no single answer as to why people choose to have either a pet or a companion dog. To some, having just a pet is the right answer. For others, the Companion Dog is the better choice. Just keep in mind that Companion Dogs undergoes a lot of training including extensive obedience training making them capable of handling many situations and more exposed to environments that many dogs will never see. They are even trained to call 911 in emergency cases and these benefits maybe most of us will want. However, at the end, it is still your choice.
Dog Registration is as important as Dog training. One good way to get it is by visiting accredited websites like http://www.registeredservicedogs.com. This site provides legal documents and certification even for your Service Dog, Therapy Dog and Companion Dog. This will help somehow to ensure that Dogs can handle public situations in an acceptable manner.
Jasmin Espinoza, Staff
Staff / Registered Service Dogs