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encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

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Monday
Jul242017

Open Letter to Faux Emotional and Service Dogs

Emotional Service Dogs and Service Dogs abide by a different set of rules. ESDs can be removed from almost any establishment at any time, especially if it is not trained. ESAs are not trained to perform tasks or recognize particular signs or symptoms but are distinguished by the close, emotional, and supportive bond between the animal and the owner to provide mental and/or emotional support that must be documented by a licensed physician (NOT ONLINE) verifying the exact service your ESD is providing for you. This makes it very easy for those who wish to violate the law. One does not need to state their psychological disability, but must have a doctor's letter on hand at all times. Service Dogs are more difficult to imitate as it takes at least 2 years in most cases to train them to perform the services needed, and in turn are mind blowingly (I know, not really a word) obedient. However, here's where we are keeping it real. 

 

For psychological support, anyone feels comforted by having their animal next to them; This is NOT to take away from individuals with legit conditions and physician sponsored documentation (This is the reason ESD's are so invaluable). However, if you are purchasing a vest on Amazon without having been to an official living breathing doctor (who's breath you've smelled of garlic after his lunch or seen the sweat on his brow of exacerbation with insurance companies) who has written for you a legitimate letter of verifying your need for an ESD on letter head - not a scanned letterhead upon which you killed with med-speak) and are posing your animal as on ESD, you are not only breaking the law you are literally, every single time, making another human being's life (with legitimate disabilities)more difficult.  Even us IN WHEELCHAIRS with fully years-in-the-making hard-core trained service dogs tied to us, PULLING US into a store, get raked over the coals and interrogated by uninformed employees because of people abusing the very laws - that took decades to implement - created to protect us. Every time you think of pulling out that little red vest you got at such a great price (Prime shipping rocks!) and placing it on your animal so you can take him to dinner (because he's so cute and doesn't bark so he'll be fine) or so he can fly with you or stay in a hotel without a charge, every single time, imagine you are placing a disabled person in handcuffs. People who have struggled their entire lives to make it through one day without wondering if there is a God. People who would probably give up their permanent handicapped placard for you just so they wouldn't ever HAVE to use it again. Disabled 'privileges' are not. If you think they are, take my wheelchair for a day and try to maneuver the world. Take my actual service dog with you each day and see how many people wonder if it's real. You, my friend and supposed supporter of those in need, have crafted this environment perfectly to a tee. Those extra few feet you have to walk because you don't have a placard? Take my spot and try crawling into the store. I'll trade with you any day of the week. 

I was the lady rejected from Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK because the employee thought all service dogs were ESDs and needed a letter of verification. Why? Because of those who abuse the system. Corporations don't know what's what because all they can see are fakers polluting the air so the legitimates are now invisible. You have won the race! Congratulations! There is already so much confusion out there because of those 'beating the system' because they can. Because you can, doesn't mean you should. Every time you can, you are bringing 'can't' to the millions of those who would never dare breathe that word. 

So, the next time you think of going shopping, to drinks, on a flight or to a hotel and decide how lucky you are because you are tricking the system so beautifully, believe me, you aren't. The public sees through everything. And if they don't, then it's because you have trained them (years in the making) to believe that all SD's and ESDs  are fake. So either way, you're frowned upon the minute you walk in the room. Just like us now. It's not cute. It doesn't make you look special, although deep inside we know you are. Just Imagine every time you walk into a business in your cute outfit with paws in your purse or your confidence boosted with your chic magnet in tow, minds like windmills passing by. It is not a breeze that causes turn, but the stirring assumptions of exactly who are you, why you have done it and the damaged it has caused. 

If I sound bitter, I am not. I'm angry. Even after dozens of surgeries and procedures, six years in bed and rolling the fires of Hell, I am still in love with life and blessed a thousand fold, so why am I on a soap box? Because a death by a thousand cuts can ruin anyone's day and sometimes even a life. We are an invisible community so often too hard for you to see - especially those with invisible conditions who bare the brunt of your deeds. We are an army with regiments supporting our own and one where everyone leads. So please, I beg of you with all of our hearts, the next time you pick up that leash, think twice not only of how you will look, but all of the lives you'll never lead. 


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