Owner of ser­vice dog shares do’s, don’ts

Albuquerque Journal - - PUZZLES - Abi­gail Van Buren Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY: Yes­ter­day I was in a re­tail store with my ser­vice dog. The clerk asked me what kind of ser­vice dog she was and I replied, “She’s my ser­vice dog.” She kept press­ing me as to ex­actly why I have one, so I asked her if she was in­quir­ing about my dis­abil­ity. When she said, “Yes,” I po­litely in­formed her that fed­eral HIPAA laws pro­tect my right to pri­vacy. She then said — loud enough for ev­ery­one in the store to hear — “I don’t know what the big deal is. I just want to know what the dog does for you.”

Please let your read­ers know how to be around a per­son and their ser­vice an­i­mal:

1. You do NOT have the right to ask about the per­son’s dis­abil­ity. To do so is rude. Most peo­ple pre­fer strangers not know their med­i­cal con­di­tion. The dog may be for PTSD, a hear­ing or see­ing dog, or to alert the per­son to a med­i­cal emer­gency.

2. Chil­dren (and adults) need to un­der­stand that when ser­vice an­i­mals’ jack­ets go on, the dogs know it’s time to go to “work,” and they take their job se­ri­ously. At that point, they are not pets and should not be treated as such. If a child rushes a ser­vice dog, the an­i­mal may re­act badly be­cause it is there to pro­tect its per­son.

3. You may ask to pet the dog, but don’t as­sume it will be al­lowed. If given per­mis­sion, the dog should be scratched un­der the chin ONLY.

Ser­vice an­i­mals know their place. It’s a shame that most peo­ple are not as po­lite. — NONE OF YOUR BUSI­NESS

DEAR N.O.Y.B.: Thank you for shar­ing this in­for­ma­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­cans With Dis­abil­i­ties Act web­site (ada.gov): “Busi­nesses may ask if an an­i­mal is a ser­vice an­i­mal or ask what tasks the an­i­mal has been trained to per­form, but can­not re­quire spe­cial ID cards for the an­i­mal or ask about the per­son’s dis­abil­ity.”

DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of a large fam­ily. On Sun­days, some of them come over to visit me. Some­times they’ll get into ar­gu­ments and get re­ally an­gry.

Be­cause this is hap­pen­ing in my home, what po­si­tion am I to take? I was told by one of my daugh­ters that I should not al­low them to come here any­more. Be­cause I am not in­volved in the ar­gu­ment, I don’t feel I should do that.

I en­joy my daugh­ters vis­it­ing me. I don’t want to tell them they can­not come to their mother’s house. What do you ad­vise? — MOM OF MANY IN THE WEST

DEAR MOM OF MANY: You’re the mother. If your fam­ily’s heated ar­gu­ments make you un­com­fort­able — and a pitched bat­tle would qual­ify — you are within your rights to tell them you pre­fer they ar­gue else­where be­cause it up­sets you. I do NOT ad­vise you to ex­er­cise the “nu­clear op­tion” by ban­ish­ing them from the premises, be­cause to do so would be an over­re­ac­tion.

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