Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to Go Anywhere with Your Dog














Last month we took a long family weekend in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. Scottsdale was warm and inviting, a lovely respite from Missouri's brutal polar temperatures and unending snow. Spending time with family was pretty awesome, too.

Above is one of the outdoor shots I took of the famous Barrett-Jackson auction. It's the one you've probably seen on television where people who live a totally different lifestyle from mine, think nothing of bidding 1.5 million to pick up a nice vintage vehicle. We spent a lot of time checking things out.

I could go on forever describing what we saw...amazing cars, celebrities, television moments, and vendors who arrived on scene to sell anything you can imagine...yes, even pianos.

But I want to focus on something else that interested me. I've never seen so many people with dogs wearing service vests in any place I've ever been. There must have been dozens and dozens of them, each with a vest displaying tags that looked very official. Some of the dogs even wore cute little outfits along with the vest.

I asked a few different handlers whether their dogs were in training or working. Each one smiled and said their dogs were working. Several mentioned that their dog did pet therapy.

Let me tell you, no one is more a fan of making dogs welcome in all places than me, but this was a no-dogs-allowed event EXCEPT for service dogs. I didn't notice anyone checking credentials, nor did I notice any millionaires lining up for pet therapy.

Later I went on-line and discovered something. Several companies will be happy to sell service vests to anyone along with patches, ID tags that include federal regulations mandating service dog entry into any building/area, and instructions on how one can travel by air with a service dog. (The service dog apparently flies free)

The websites selling the products have a disclaimer saying they aren't a certifying agency and they do not accept responsibility for any false information supplied to get the products. They add it's fraudulent to misrepresent a dog as a service animal, yet no certifying paperwork is required to make a purchase.

I know there are plenty of folks with highly trained service dogs for a specific and necessary purpose, but Barrett-Jackson made me wonder. Could it be that some people order vests and tags just so they can take their pup wherever they go?

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of dogs and people spending time together, but something seemed a bit odd. Is it my imagination or is this a new way to travel anywhere with your dog?














Mom, I expect you to order a service vest for me immediately!

16 comments:

Molly The Wally said...

That is interesting and we had never heard of that before. Have a tremendous Thursday.
Best wishes Molly

Linda O'Connell said...

Someone has figured out a clever way to beat the system. In reality, most dogs do offer therapy, but this seems like a gathering of service animals rather than an auction. Money talks...

Sioux said...

Pat--Isn't he a service dog? Doesn't he supply you with unconditional love? Doesn't he wag his tail when you come home? Doesn't he cuddle with you on the couch/bed?

Order him a vest right away. ;)

Sketching with Dogs said...

It just shows what you can get away with if you have one of those vests. I don't think I would get away with it with our two :)
Lynne x

Mariodacat said...

Hmmm, something is fishy! It's not fair. We love service dogs, but to have so many at the same event is highly unusual. It's not fair at all.

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Interesting. Never thought about the possibility of dishonest people ordering vests.

The Word Place said...

I'd agree this is a way of beating the system--and a very unfair way, too. If it gets to be problem, it could bring repercussions on the real service dogs and their owners.

Mary Horner said...

It would be nice if a portion of the profits from those vests would be donated to benefit a good cause like animal shelters.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

It sounds good in theory, but bothers me in the same way as people who use handicap stickers for their vehicle when they aren't handicapped, taking up the space meant for someone who needs it. I can't argue with humans who want their dog to travel with them, but I don't think this is the way to do it.

Tammy said...

I've been having a little giggle imagining trying to pass my last dog off as a service dog. At first I was going to say his infamous nose in the crotch would have given him away...but then I realized it would have been fun telling people what he was sniffing for. Still. I'm with Lisa. It's wrong and gives a bad rap to REAL service dogs. I work at several schools with service animals, and they are amazing.

Anonymous said...

I share Lisa Ricard Claro sentiment exactly. A handicap card/plate vehicle can only legally use a handicap spot if the handicapped person is in the vehicle. The card is issued to a person (not the vehicle) for a legitimate reason.

I feel the same way towards people that would misuse a service dog vest or misuse a handicap spot...I wouldn't want to spend time with them.
madx2

Donna Volkenannt said...

Sounds like a racket to me. I agree with Mary that the vest sellers should donate a portion of their profits to animal shelters.

Lady Lilith said...

Interesting. Working with special needs children, I would have to say that people taking advantage of the system only end up hurting the ones that need it most.

Ryker said...

Just goes to show how attached some folks get to their dogs. If the abuse becomes a problem I imaging that the rules for Service dogs will be tightened up.

Lynn said...

Perhaps one day they will make all events more pet friendly or have a special area... actually I think I saw a farmers market in CA where they had "pet sitting" so that you could walk the farmers market without worrying about your pet.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Mabel travels as my service dog...legally. I have noticed a vast increase of dogs on the plane. Some of them are clearly not behaved... Makes me wonder too!