Is that service dog real? You don't look disabled

is that service dog real? You don't look disabled

People with visible disabilities are all around us, some utilizing the amazing benefits of Service Dogs, we do not give these individuals a second look because their need for a service dog is apparent. Fortunately that service dog and handler team will never be questioned or looked at with suspicion. There are service dogs big and small that assist those that are clearly disabled as well as those with disabilities that often go unnoticed.

A person with an invisible disability not only has their disability to contend with, they also have the added burden of public skepticism, much like the stares or remarks that same person often receives when parked in a handicapped spot.  When you see someone using a dog for mobility or leading the blind, the dogs task is apparent. When you see someone with a service dog that doesn’t look like they require assistance the public sometimes glares with skepticism and will often question the pair.

There are many tasks a service dog can provide to one with an invisible disability.

Below are just a few tasks that a Service Dog can provide to one with an invisible impairment.

Hearing Dogs

Those with a compromised hearing as well as those with no ability to hear will often use a dogs keen sense of hearing to alert them to a fire alarm, a crying baby or the ringing of a doorbell. Many hearing dogs are trained to touch their handler in a specific place and then lead them to the direction of the sound.

Diabetic Alert Dog

People with diabetes monitor their blood sugar often, but changes can occur quickly and without warning. A trained Diabetic Alert dog is trained to warn their handler to a blood sugar level that is dangerously high or low.  With this forewarning it allows someone to take the needed steps to return their blood sugar to a normal level.

Seizure Alert Dog

A person suffering from epilepsy can greatly benefit from the use of a Seizure Alert dog. Many dogs have proven to have the unique ability to respond to a person at the onset of a seizure. With warning of an oncoming seizure it allows a person to sit if standing, put a child they may be carrying down or to remove themselves from a staircase or escalator if they are on one. 

If an individual enters a premises with a Service Dog and the persons disability is not readily apparent, how can a business verify this person is disabled?  

The answer to that is simple.

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) allows for two questions to be asked,

1,  “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?”

2,  “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”

If the handler replies yes to the first question and verbally expresses the task the dog provides, the business must provide entry to the team and cannot make any further inquiries.

The next time you see a person with a Service Dog  that looks to be in good physical health, remember, not all disabilities are visible.