Let us begin this post by establishing that I like dogs and welcome well-trained animal companions in all appropriate situations. Now, has anyone else noticed the proliferation of ill-trained and badly behaved faux service dogs in grocery stores and other places where pets have no business being?
3 out of my last 4 trips to Costco have been marred by badly behaved pets masquerading as service dogs, either by wearing vests or by having their owners declare their “doctor has signed a letter” saying they need to take their mutt everywhere. All this tells me is that they have their doctors trained better than their yapping, jumping dogs. Today one snuck up behind me and began yapping at my heels while I was waiting in line and when I started from surprise and turned in dismay to find a dachshund lunging at me from the confines of her personal stroller, the woman at the other end of the leash declared, “Oh, she just wants you to pick her up, that’s all.” Right-O. I’ll pass on that until she gets the dog as well trained as the aforementioned doctor who signed a letter. Next she picked the puppy up out of her little doggie cart and clutched the wildly agitated dog to her chest. Who’s serving who here?
The dogs in the photo above were 2 chihuahuas riding in the actual grocery cart, the same one the next unsuspecting person on a trip to Costco was going to use for food. When queried as to the service these dogs provided for her, the woman who had been giving the dogs a ride around Costco claimed to have a brain tumor and said they were trained to bark if “anything happened.” Hmmm. It takes 2? And they can do this service from a remove of 6-8 feet as they go through the checkout line in the cart and the object of their service is on the other side of the Costco-size conveyor belt? Sadly, I’m skeptical. I know you can buy bogus service dog vests and credentials off the internet very cheaply and that professionally trained service dogs are so costly as to make it unlikely anyone would have two at once so that makes me doubly skeptical.
It’s way past time that service dogs are tested and certified and that certification credentials be carried on the dog or owner’s person in just the same way that handicapped placards must be displayed to use special parking spaces, or that a license is required to prove you have demonstrated the ability to operate a car.
A true service dog in action is a wonder to behold. I once shared an elevator ride with one who completely ignored the fact that I was carrying a roast chicken in a bag not 6 inches from his/her quivering nose.
Bark if you agree that the laws stating that pets are not allowed in grocery stores and restaurants should have teeth and be enforced and that real service dogs are beyond amazing and should be welcome everywhere!