Editor’s note: The following article was contributed by Marine Corps Community Services. The content may be edited for clarity, style and length. Find more at http://www.usmc-mccs.org/.
Have you ever thought of getting a service dog for yourself or a loved one?
Here are some fast facts on these hardworking dogs that make life better for service members and veterans across the country.
1. Service animals are dogs that are trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. For example, a service dog can alert or protect a person having a seizure, pull a wheelchair or remind a person with mental illness to take prescribed medication.
2. Don’t confuse service dogs with comfort animals. Comfort animals provide companionship and sometimes help with certain phobias, but they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
3. Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas, even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
4. The ADA does not require service animals to wear gear that identifies them as working dogs. Business owners can only ask limited questions when it is not obvious what service your dog provides.
5. While service dogs may be cute, never give them a snack or treat. Do not touch or pat the dog if the owner hasn’t given you permission to do so.