September is National Service Dog Awareness Month. Most people do not know the difference between a service animal and other types of working animals, such as comfort and motional support animals. Comfort and emotional support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression or anxiety for a specific owner. Whereas a service animal is identified as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.
Service dogs are recognized by the ADA and can accompany their handlers into business, airplanes, hotels, etc. so it is important that the general public understands and respects the services the dog is providing to its handler. The dog is monitoring every facial expression, movement or sounds the handler is making so they can alert the handler of an impending medical emergency. If a dog is distracted, they could easily miss an alert which could result in the handler becoming ill or injured. If you see a service animal, please do not attempt to pet the dog or distract them in any way. In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, please help educate other adults and children about the important job service animals perform for people living with disabilities. Without the assistance of these highly trained animals many people would not be able to continue to live independently. It’s always BEST to IGNORE A DOG IN A VEST!