Meowllo everypawdy and welcome to another Miserable Monday. No it’s not really miserable, but it is gonna be busy. We’re gonna bring you another installment of our Service Cats posts today. As with all our educational postys da following will be written in human English. While you’re readin’ our posty and goin’ ‘bout your day, me will be havin’ a mommy and Dezi day out. It’s time fur mommy’s monthly doctors ‘pointment and since we have a/c in da car again, mommy’s takin’ me fur da day. WooHoo Ifin you’ve missed any of da posts in this series you can ketch up by clickin’ da links below.
Service Cats: What to Look For
Service Cats: Training Foundations
Service Cats: How to Train Kitty to Massage without Claws
Service Cats: Smelling Disease
Service Cats: Do You Need One
Service Cats: Who Bears the Cost
Service Cats: Housing Laws and Exceptions
Okay, Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get to today’s topic. As we discussed last week, certification isn’t required or regulated for Service Animals. Because of this, a lot of people claim their pet is a Service Animal so they can get around certain laws and rules. Unfortunately you may even know some one like that. Yes, there are some bloggers and others in social media right now that make such claims so that their animal can fly in the cabin with them for free. Others do it to avoid paying pet deposits and/or fees in housing, or to force a landlord to accept a breed or size of animal that they wouldn’t normally accept.
Our pawsum doggy brofur furiend Easy the Weimereiner asked last week, If a landlord doesn’t allow pets, would they have to allow a Service Animal in their property? Unfortunately Easy, YES. That’s right, the answer to that question is yes. Even if a landlord doesn’t want animals in their home or apartments, they have to make an exception for Service Animals. Now remember, they cannot ask for proof that said animal is in fact a Service Animal, they have to take your word for it. And because of the confusion about the definitions of Service Animal, Therapy Animal and Companion/Emotional Support Animals, they are often taken advantage of.
Just sitting in mommy’s lap with her petting me has a calming effect.
But this requires no training. This is what most Companion/Emotional
Support Animals do for their owners and is not classified as a Service Animal.
Now some of you really got riled last week when we posted that Companion/Emotional Support Animals are not considered Service Animals. For those who have emotional issues such as panic attacks, post traumatic syndrome and other emotional disabilities, know just how important their Companion/Emotional Support Animal is. We are all aware of the old saying, you can be alone/lonely even when you’re surrounded by people. These emotional issues can be very real, and may manifest physical trauma. None the less, Companion/Emotional Support Animals are not trained to perform an actual task. Instead, their very presence has a calming effect. But remember, a Service Animal is specifically trained to perform a task or tasks that enables their disabled handler to function daily.
More than the specific task training, Service Animals are also trained and expected to be calm and almost invisible in any situation, or setting they may be put in. You won’t find a Service Animal barking, growling, hissing or acting out in public. This is not the animal that jumps on, greets, or approaches others or other animals. Regardless of the situation or their surrroundings, a Service Animal will enter a room or setting quietly and stay quietly by their handler. They are not the animal causing a scene or piddling on the floor, etc.
We asked if you thought requiring certification would help. A lot of you said yes, absolutely. And we learned that at least Canada does require certification, and the program is run by the government. If you don’t live in the U.S., you need to check with your local laws about Service Animals. For obvious reasons, we aren’t familiar with those laws or rules outside of the U.S.. Our posts are based on laws and rules of the U.S. since that’s where we live. Altho’ we agree 100% that certification would help, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Who would run the program? What would it cost and who will pay for it? As we’ve said many times, those who need Service Animals are more often than not, living on a fixed income. What tasks should be tested for, and where would those tests be held? Indeed the laws need to be changed, but we do understand it would be a huge undertaking, and would be very costly.
The current rules were made because the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) realized too many people were taking advantage of the lax laws regarding Service Animals, and the general publics’ ignorance regarding Service Animals. Not everybody finds comfort in the traditional idea of a pet. What about reptiles, farm animals, and other species? We have nothing against reptiles, rodents, etc., but we’ll be honest and tell you that we don’t want to sit next to the person claiming their 8 foot anaconda is a Service Animal. Nor would we want to eat in a restaurant where a pig or horse (miniature or otherwise) is swishing their tails and relieving themselves on the floor. This brings us to our point for today: Common Sense. We think the disabled person should exercise some common sense when taking their Service Animal in public. It also takes us back to mommy and Raena’s day out Friday.
After leaving the VETs office Friday, they headed to Walmart to get some treats for Raena and me. As soon as they entered the store, a woman came over and commented and asked about Raena who was laying quietly in the stroller. Mommy explained that She was a Service Cat in training, and that she alerts before mommy passes out. The woman thought that was amazing and wonderful. She then went on to ask why Raena was confined to the stroller and not out walking on the leash that was attached to her harness. She remarked that earlier she had run across a “Service Chihuahua” in the store that tried to bite her as she walked passed. Well now, we’ve finally gotten to the common sense part. We are so grateful for our stroller, but before we had one, mommy used a soft sided carrier when taking us out in public.
You see, a lot of people are allergic to cats. And most people, including mommy doesn’t really want to eat cat hair. But mommy really does need at least one of us when she’s out of the house. So, how does mommy get the benefit of our training while not offending or causing problems for the rest of the store, restaurant, etc.? Our stroller. Yep, we are fully enclosed so that any shedding fur or dander won’t float thru the air, or get on everything around; but we are still able to see and smell everything including mommy. And we have sufficient room to stand, sit, or lay in order to alert mommy. Altho’ this particular lady was not allergic to cats, she proclaimed her appreciation for mommys’ attempt at being considerate of others.
As mommy and Raena continued on in the store, they encountered lots of children who were accompanying their parents for back to school shopping. With each encounter, Raena performed perfectly and showed people how a true Service Animal reacts to all that excitement…She did nothing but lay quietly in the stroller. One very uneducated woman asked, “Have you ever encountered a Service Dog that wanted to bark at or eat your Service Cat?” (she must have been thinking about that “Service Chihuahua”) Yeah, mommy’s blood was boiling, thinking about all those unruly dogs at BlogPaws in Nashville. But, she remained calm and took the opportunity to educate this person and all those who were now listening in. Mommy calmly replied. “A true Service dog would never do such a thing. Service Animals are trained to Not React”, just as Raena was doing that very moment. Altho’ the stroller had become surrounded by screaming pointing children, Raena remained quiet and non reactive. As a matter of fact, before they left the store, a manager came up and told mommy how much he appreciated Raenas’ behavior and mommys’ consideration of everybody else in the store. Which of course made mommy really happy. The atmosphere is changing.
Now we told you all of that, to tell you that we think disabled handlers should try to be considerate of others. Had that always been the case, Service Cats might still be accepted by the ADA. Unfortunately, people in general are selfish, and everybody thinks everybody else owes them something. Yes, as a disabled person, mommy wants a parking space close to the door, and yes, she needs a few special accommodations when she’s out in public. But, she’s not the whole public, and her needs aren’t any more important than everybody else’s. Just a few considerations, and we are welcome right alongside mommy anywhere she goes. No one has the right to force their lifestyle on another.
Mommy has never asked a landlord who doesn’t want pets on their property to rent to her. It’s called respect for others. There are plenty of places that do allow animals, that mommy can rent from. We realize that might not be the case everywhere, but we still think you should exhaust all other avenues before forcing someone to do something they don’t want to. If you are going to be with others in public that could assist you in the same or similar manner as your Service Animal, think about letting the animal have a few hours off. Especially if your Service Animal of choice isn’t the accepted norm (ie: dog or cat). Once every few years or so, someone will show up and offer to take mommy out fur a meal or something. While they obviously can’t alert before she passes out, they can assist her and stay with her if it does happen. So mommy almost always leaves us at home on those occasions. Again, it’s all about Common Sense and Respect for yourself and others.
Well me’s gonna wrap it up fur now. We think we’ve given ya’ a lot to mull over. Remember, if you have any questions, or specifics you would like us to cover, please leave your thoughts in the comments, or feel free to email us. Like me said earlier, we’s goin’ to mommy’s doctor today, so we’ll be by to visit with you as soon as we can.