Any benefits derived from the mere presence of a dog, be it emotional support, calming, or improving social interaction with others, is a bonus and does not in and of itself make a dog a service dog. All service dogs must be individually trained to physically perform tasks, ie to actually DO something, like signaling, retrieving, guiding, etc. These tasks must enable the person with a disability to do something that he or she must be able to do to survive, but cannot do on his or her own because of a disability. Verify this by calling the US Department of Justice at
800 - 514 - 0301 (voice) OR 800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY)
How do they think about people with disabilities, and how do they treat them?
"My guess is that you use a Psychiatric Service Dog if not, your need for one is obvious ALL OVER YOUR WEBSITE."
- Karen Shirk
"I'll stop here because I am sure you do not want to hear my views on adults with mental illness being paired with service dogs!"
- Karen Shirk
Apparently this person considers it an insult to suggest a person might be disabled by mental illness, though mental illness is prevalent throughout the disability community, even if mental illness is not a person's primary diagnosis. How is this different from calling a person with Autism a retard or a person who cannot speak "dumb?" The whole idea behind the disability rights movement is to garner acceptance of all people with all kinds of disabilities, not to create some sort of dichotomy of which disabilities are "good" or which are "shameful" and fit to be used as an insult.
This is particularly of concern when one realizes most Autistic clients do have one or more co-morbid mental illnesses. Sure, she was angry when she wrote what was quoted above, because we at Service Dog Central share the view of the majority in the service dog community on the issue of tether and babysitter dogs and refuse to subscribe to her self-serving minority viewpoint. Does that make it acceptable to speak of people with perceived disabilities in a derogatory way? Apparently it does show her true feelings about people with disabilities.