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Old March 12th, 2014, 12:07 PM
AR AR is offline
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Default Service Dogs: They're EVERYWHERE

With a son in the airline business, I've noticed a couple articles lately about service animals on airplanes. Naturally, it's OK to take these fabulous helpers aboard, but there's now a serious question about what constitutes a service dog. I grew up in the town that's the national headquarters for The Seeing Eye, so I have a pretty good idea about how rigorously these pooches are trained, not only in helping their owner, but in deportment around the rest of us. When "off duty," they're certainly taught to be friendly, but not aggressively so. They're single-mindedly focused on their job.

But now the line is being blurred with the advent of "comfort dogs," which it is argued by some, must have the same status as a rigorously trained service animal. These comfort dogs are, as best I can figure, accorded that status anytime the owner says, "I just can't live without Fluffy," and a doctor writes a note. You get the doggie vest and you're in business. Apparently it's as easy to do this as it is to get a medical marijuana card in California.

Some airline passengers are objecting to some flights assuming the appearance of a kennel, and are getting a bit vocal about it. The airlines are between a rock and a hard place, of course.

And apparently so are cruise lines. On a Hawaii cruise a couple weeks ago, there were several bevested dogs sharing the vacation. One or two may have been legitimate, but clearly some were not. There was one very cute little white thing, couldn't have been more friendly, making the rounds of the dining room nightly and greeting everybody in sight, jumping up on some. Aggressively cute, but some thought inappropriately so. At the buffet, a crew member was assigned to keep the dog in check outside while the owner was in the food line.

Clearly not a service dog in the traditional sense.

Has all this gone too far? Should the service dog designation be limited to those trained to perform specific helper duties for its owner? Or should any dog that is "needed" by the owner now be welcome everywhere?
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Old March 12th, 2014, 10:21 PM
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The only thing I'm surprised at is that it took this long to breach the dam.
Now that lovely Mrs. X can't and absolutely will not sail without " Fluffy,"
you can bet the breach will pretty quickly become a major leak and folks will
have to learn to put up with pets as well as drunks.
Imagine having your next cabin neighbors with a dog that likes to bark constantly, especially when you're trying to sit on your balcony and Fluffy is out in one of her barking moods.
And once upon a time balcony cruisers only had to complain about smoke!
Yes, cruising is changing. And A.R., if you can bring Fluffy, shouldn't I be allowed to bring my pit bull, or miniature pig?
So, we can see the problems that will arise, and arise they will.
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Old March 13th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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A couple of years ago we did a whale watching tour. There was a "service" dog aboard that was not well trained. It was supposedly for the owners back. How an unruly dog can be good for someone's back is beyond me. Of course this was SoCal.

If you want an animal you "can't live without" I might suggest a tortoise. Otherwise chances are pretty good that you will out live your comfort dog.
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Old March 13th, 2014, 07:35 AM
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And once upon a time balcony cruisers only had to complain about smoke!
Yes, cruising is changing. And A.R., if you can bring Fluffy, shouldn't I be allowed to bring my pit bull, or miniature pig?
So, we can see the problems that will arise, and arise they will.

Yes, cruising is changing for sure. I used to really love to cruise in the past, when I lived in the Northeast. Now that I have more time and I can drive to several cruiseports, I'm not as much a fan as I used to be. I live where it's warm, there are nice beaches nearby and I have palm trees all over my neighborhood.
And most of all some of the fun and glamour has gone present day cruises.


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Old March 13th, 2014, 09:32 AM
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An publicly open establishment can legally ask what actual service the animal performs and that's about it. If they have documentation then unfortunately there isn't anything that the cruise line can do. I've approached people in my workplace and I have yet to see a "comfort" animal but the small ones instead seem to be to signal when their owner is close to having a seizure or other things like that. They've all been well behaved animals from what I've seen, people that abuse this privilege should be fined heavily.
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Old March 13th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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It is important to note that some smaller dogs are legitimate, as Eric says. They're trained to spot oncoming seizures, and even to dial 911 (at least on large keypad phones at home).

But, large or small, they're not running around greeting everybody in sight, or being leashed outside the buffet restaurant. Can't very well spot a seizure from there!
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Old March 16th, 2014, 05:28 AM
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I seem to remember John Heald doing a blog on this subject. He spoke of a woman who was bringing a cat on her cruise who is supposedly trained to wake her when she goes into an apnea. As a sufferer of obstructive sleep apnea and a long time cat owner, I sort of agree with this claim. I do not think that the cat was certified or trained in this service. Miss Lilly, my own beloved but now deceased cat used to alert me. Many afternoons I would be watching television and doze off in the chair. I would wake to find Miss Lilly standing on me and batting at my cheek to wake me up. She understood my distress. I never thought about taking her on a cruise with me. I have my c-pap to take care of me while I sleep. I think this particular person was grabbing at any excuse to take her kitty along.


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Old March 16th, 2014, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR View Post
With a son in the airline business, I've noticed a couple articles lately about service animals on airplanes. Naturally, it's OK to take these fabulous helpers aboard, but there's now a serious question about what constitutes a service dog. I grew up in the town that's the national headquarters for The Seeing Eye, so I have a pretty good idea about how rigorously these pooches are trained, not only in helping their owner, but in deportment around the rest of us. When "off duty," they're certainly taught to be friendly, but not aggressively so. They're single-mindedly focused on their job.

But now the line is being blurred with the advent of "comfort dogs," which it is argued by some, must have the same status as a rigorously trained service animal. These comfort dogs are, as best I can figure, accorded that status anytime the owner says, "I just can't live without Fluffy," and a doctor writes a note. You get the doggie vest and you're in business. Apparently it's as easy to do this as it is to get a medical marijuana card in California.

Some airline passengers are objecting to some flights assuming the appearance of a kennel, and are getting a bit vocal about it. The airlines are between a rock and a hard place, of course.

And apparently so are cruise lines. On a Hawaii cruise a couple weeks ago, there were several bevested dogs sharing the vacation. One or two may have been legitimate, but clearly some were not. There was one very cute little white thing, couldn't have been more friendly, making the rounds of the dining room nightly and greeting everybody in sight, jumping up on some. Aggressively cute, but some thought inappropriately so. At the buffet, a crew member was assigned to keep the dog in check outside while the owner was in the food line.

Clearly not a service dog in the traditional sense.

Has all this gone too far? Should the service dog designation be limited to those trained to perform specific helper duties for its owner? Or should any dog that is "needed" by the owner now be welcome everywhere?
So why did you post this here? There are probaly some service animal websites for this . I mean after all all you get on this web site are guessess uninfrmed opions and old post
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Old March 16th, 2014, 12:51 PM
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So why did you post this here? There are probaly some service animal websites for this . I mean after all all you get on this web site are guessess uninfrmed opions and old post
I don't know, dhill. Why do people post local weather reports here? There are weather websites out there for that. This is certainly a reasonable topic for chit-chat, as evidenced by the posts subsequent to the OP. My opinion is not uninformed, since I witnessed the situation on a recent cruise, and have read about the issue elsewhere. There's a distinct difference between "guesses" and differing opinions on an issue, and that's what I encouraged. This is meant to be a catch-all board, and there's nothing wrong with what I posted.

Old posts? Well, yeah, you can see old posts here and on every other BB, along with the ones that were put up today. That's how this stuff works. What's the problem?
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Old March 16th, 2014, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
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I don't know, dhill. Why do people post local weather reports here? There are weather websites out there for that. This is certainly a reasonable topic for chit-chat, as evidenced by the posts subsequent to the OP. My opinion is not uninformed, since I witnessed the situation on a recent cruise, and have read about the issue elsewhere. There's a distinct difference between "guesses" and differing opinions on an issue, and that's what I encouraged. This is meant to be a catch-all board, and there's nothing wrong with what I posted.

Old posts? Well, yeah, you can see old posts here and on every other BB, along with the ones that were put up today. That's how this stuff works. What's the problem?
I was just going by your responce to a question I posted about are up coming Celeberty cruise that was posted on the Celeberty forum. Which I thought was a reasonable topic for that forum.You did ask me why I asked that quetion on that forum and why I did not ask my T.A.So I was just curious as to why you posted your post like you did.You also stated that you get alot of uninformed opions and guesses on this web site.Just curious.I guess the problem I have is with people that are quick to jump on everthing other people do or say.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 10:45 PM
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I was just going by your responce to a question I posted about are up coming Celeberty cruise that was posted on the Celeberty forum. Which I thought was a reasonable topic for that forum.You did ask me why I asked that quetion on that forum and why I did not ask my T.A.So I was just curious as to why you posted your post like you did.You also stated that you get alot of uninformed opions and guesses on this web site.Just curious.I guess the problem I have is with people that are quick to jump on everthing other people do or say.
Some things are discussion topics and some things are straightforward empirical questions with straightforward empirical answers. For the latter, the shortest distance between two points is usually a straight line, and I suggested that in your case the straightest line was between you and the cruise line.


To compare it to this string is pure apples and oranges, but if you're just out for zingers, that's fine.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 09:36 AM
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This one hits close to home. As all of you who have been long termers know, I am an animal person. While I've always been same, I have over the past 17 years since my retirement from law enforcement, become more heavily so. That's probably simply because I had to deal with the two legged variety of animal for so long, I kinda' treasure the four legged kind.


That being said, yes AR, the gates are open...and not for the public good.


there was just such a case in the upper East Tennessee Tri-Cities wherein an individual was told to remove her service animal from a Great Clips. Ultimately it turned out the service dog was for detecting when the owner was going to go into some kind of health crisis that I remember has never to my knowledge, required or even been assisted by a service animal.


Well, the subsequent gushing of profuse apologies followed when the following was learned. No longer does Federal Law allow one to even question the need or veracity for a service animal. Although I'm sure not according to Hoyle, it would be so simple to circumnavigate whatever restrictions to which a purportedly "disabled" person might be confronted merely by having that little "jacket" with "Service Animal" embroidered upon it (which can be duplicated unbelievably easily by anyone with a sewing machine). Then all one has to do is print out a card that says, in effect, it is illegal to even inquire about a person's reason for having such an animal. Voila'! Instant Service Animal!
Oh, how did all of this come to pass. Just ask "Big Brother," AKA, Your Federal Government.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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This is something that has become almost out of control. I have the highest regard for service animals and their handlers. There are years of training for many service animals and the cost and training that goes into training one of these animals is great but the rewards are worth it. Seeing Eye, Hearing and Seizure detection animals are worth their weight in gold to their companions, though I've had first hand experience with a couple of seizure dogs that weren't trained and were just emotional support animals and were worthless in sensing when their handler was going to have a seizure and doing what they needed when the seizure occurred. I have epilepsy and have been involved with many people who do have trained seizure animals.

However, the loop holes have been exploited. The "Emotional Support" animals are being used as an excuse so Mr. and Mrs. X do not have to kennel Fluffy while they go on their cruise or vacation. Yes: There are very valid reasons for an emotional support animal. Emotional and psychological problems are as real as physical disabilities but there is a large number of people who are exploiting this for their own benefit.

Do you want to "register" your animal as a service animal or emotional support animal and have all of the benefits. It will cost you about $170 and you and your animal are certified. What a joke. Here is a link that shows this and how easy it can be exploited by someone.

US Dog Registry - Service Dog Registration and Supplies

What concerns me most is that someone decides to bring Fluffy on their cruise or out in public and Fluffy is not trained. Fluffy can take a nip out of kid or even an adult and animals can be loud. Thankfully the law allows a proprietor to eject a person and their service animal from a business or carrier if the animal demonstrates dangerous or disruptive behavior. The problem is that you can't do this until it happens.

If animals required a true certification with appropriate training I would be VERY happy but that is not the current law and it leaves a big loop hole for people to exploit and they are doing it.

One last thing. The owner of a service animal is still liable for any damage or injury the companion animal causes. So be careful when you take Fluffy on the cruise and he/she decides to nip the little kid in the dining room.

Take care,
Mike
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Old March 18th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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Todd--


Great post. I had heard that pet stores sell the vests as routinely as they do chew toys, so instead of going to a store I simply looked at the biggest store of all, amazon. Here's one vest they offer to all comers. .


Amazon.com: Therapy Dog Harness Service Working Vest Jacket Removable velcro Patches,Purchase comes with 2 THERAPY DOG reflective pathces: Pet Supplies


They also sell the cards you mentioned. You can read them at this link. . .


Robot Check


Absolutely remarkable. No wonder the airlines, cruise lines, and everybody else is essentially powerless.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 04:18 PM
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Imagine if I brought my "Service Python" on a flight....
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Old March 18th, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Imagine if I brought my "Service Python" on a flight....

That would be the first time I would ever consider jumping out of a perfectly good plane.


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Old March 18th, 2014, 06:38 PM
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My personal favorite was the 'service pony' a Southwest pilot had to allow on his airplane a couple years ago. It was a miniature horse. Photo
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Old March 19th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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My personal favorite was the 'service pony' a Southwest pilot had to allow on his airplane a couple years ago. It was a miniature horse. Photo

I have a nagging feeling that this issue is going to gallop on. If the pilot had banned the equine companion, he'd probably have been accused of racial discrimination. The owner would have claimed that this was a horse of a different color.
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