What We Want You To Know About Our Service Animals - Part 2

Service animals and their handlers have a very special bond. Whether they are trained by the owner themselves, or if they are received through an organization, these animals can help save lives. But it is not always the case that people understand how to act around them (view the first part of my article here). Find out some more about the unique handlers and their service animals that you read about last time!

What is the best part of having a service animal?

Philip: It’s helpful. 

Liv: I would say the training. working with her and then her finally getting something down is super rewarding cause she gets so happy.

How can campuses (and generally public access buildings) be more service animal friendly?

Liv: By educating the people there! honestly that's the biggest thing is that people aren't educated. it would help so much for handlers to have that. plus automatic doors, it's hard to open doors with a dog in tow.

Alisa: I think that they could be more understanding of the laws and what legit[imate] service animals are like compared to fakes. And they could also ask only the question provided by the law. 

Do you feel that people react to you differently because you are a young person with a service animal?

Karen: I do think so. When people find out I have a service dog, they instantly want to know what’s wrong and why I have a service dog or they question my need of a service dog. Having a service dog means I’m not the average 20 year old. When people find out I have her, to a lot of people, I’m not normal and there’s something wrong with me. Some people can look past the fact that I have a service animal and treat me like I am a normal person and I really appreciate that.

Sage: A lot of time people will say that I’m too young to be disabled and needing a service dog which makes absolutely no sense because disability does not discriminate on age, gender, or ethnicity.  But I’m also from a small town so the idea of a service dog in general is very new and not well understood.

Handler specific questions

RM (Interviewer): Alisa, I know that Louise is an ESA right now, what do you hope will change in the future for her?

Alisa:  I hope that the law in my state (Pennsylvania) will eventually pass allowing Louise to be a service animal instead of an ESA. I also hope that the ADA will eventually accept cats as service animals after seeing their trainability. 

RM (Interviewer): Liv, I know that you are working with a trainer to train Astrid, how do you find the experience?

Liv: honestly it gives me confidence in what I'm doing. they really help me with getting certain things accomplished and reassure me that I'm doing good.

 

Throughout these interviews, I see, again and again, of reasons why we are so lucky to be blessed with these four legged creatures who honestly allow some of us in the chronic illness community to have freedom.  These are not just emotional supports, but potential life savers, and as such should be respected by all of us in the general community - not quickly judged as ‘fake’ or ‘just pets’. I think this last quote from Philip summarizes it best. 

RM (Interviewer): Philip, what is something you would want your peers to know about your partnership with Saber?

 

Philip: That our partnership is amazing.

 

*All photos and answers are being used with permission from the interviewed.*