Did you just hear a screech? Yep, it’s the sound of me dragging my soapbox out of the closet. Today’s topic is near and dear to my heart. We are talking about service animals. It was recently announced the Department of Transportation is thinking of banning emotional support animals on airlines. This rule has a lot of people breaking out their opinions and I’m about to take mine out for a rant.
For the record, I don’t require a service animal. However, I have a very dear forever friend whose husband requires a medical alert dog. In fact, he’s on his second dog. The first dog, Katie, spent 9 of her 11 years taking care of my friend’s husband. After Katie died my friend’s husband really struggled healthwise. Now, they have Stuart and though he’s only been with the family about a year he’s come to the rescue in some very close calls. If it had not been for these highly trained dogs my friend’s husband would probably be dead.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a family member who has the funniest dog in the world. This dog has her own Instagram page. She is friendly, engaging, and has met more minor celebrities than most humans will ever meet in their lifetime. It’s not a stretch to say this dog is practically this family member’s furry child. I would say this dog is better behaved than 90% of all under 5 year olds I have ever met. However, this dog is not a service animal. This dog has had basic obedience training but has not had the costly and extensive training to be a service animal. Yet, this dog boards a plane regularly proudly wearing her orange service dog vest purchased from Amazon (as seen in the picture for this blog). My family member laughs and says the dog is an emotional support dog. Yet, the human has flown without a dog many times before and has done just fine. The fact of the matter is this family member doesn’t want to put the dog in the cargo with the luggage and because of the dog’s size can’t bring it on board in a carrier.
This entitled, blatant disregard for the rules just burns my ass. I understand why it happens. Air travel is so much cheaper than car travel when it’s only one ticket. And, air travel is so much more efficient if the drive is over four hours. So, to make it more convenient for the humans involved, so many owners are completely bypassing the rules. Many people don’t understand what the big deal is about. So what if someone breaks the rules. But, if you’ve flown in the last five years chances are you’ve seen a fake service dog in action. They bark, whine, snap and growl at any little thing, unlike real service dogs. And, these fake service animals are making it hard on the real ones. People have encounters with fake ones acting up and they assume every service dog will act up thus creating more prejudice and strife. Plus, all of this federal legislation will only make it harder for those that medically need their service animal. Every time the government gets involved in something they find a new way to tax and otherwise screw up the system. Is it so hard to do the right thing, folks? This is why we can’t have nice things – entitled folks who feel they are above the rules.
If you feel as passionately about this subject as I do, I invite you to comment here on the Department of Transportation website. This is not a vote. It is merely a way for your voice to be heard while the Department of Transportation debates this topic. If you’d like more information, this article by the Washington Post is very informative.