Clerk gets les­son in pri­vacy from owner of a ser­vice dog

The Garden Island - - Pau Hana Time - JEAN PHILLIPS

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 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 a gay man. My friend “Brian” and I have known each other for 10 years. We dated for a while, but re­al­ized we are bet­ter off as friends. We have lived to­gether for the past sev­eral years and are now con­sid­er­ing get­ting mar­ried be­cause my job has bet­ter ben­e­fits. My ques­tion is, is a mar­riage of con­ve­nience le­gal? -- GO­ING TO THE CHAPEL?

DEAR GO­ING: Mar­riages of con­ve­nience have been hap­pen­ing since the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage was in­vented. That said, how­ever, this is a ques­tion you should ad­dress to a lawyer to make sure that if you de­cide to marry Brian, you’ll be go­ing to the chapel in­stead of go­ing to the hoosegow for in­sur­ance fraud. ••• To con­tact Abby visit

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