Author Topic: Do I qualify for a service dog  (Read 581 times)

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Offline Takoda

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Do I qualify for a service dog
« on: July 03, 2017, 01:27:13 PM »
Many people in my family and my psychologist say I qualify for a service dog but I am still self conscious and do not want to cross the line if I really do not. My psychologist thinks I qualify for PTSD and anxiety disorder. A little back history: I am now 48. I had an extremely severe speech impediment and anxiety when I was younger but now most people just ask me where I am from because it has improved and I sound like I have an accent. As a child my family moved every year or 2 . I was extremely verbally and physically bullied from k-12 in school which was total hell . I have one biological son who has multiple disabilities that include autism/dandy walker variant/ tics etc. and must be on many anti psychotic medications. He was very violet as a child (many holes in walls, melt downs that would escalate uncontrollably if interfered/ no understanding of authority/ screaming/ headbanging and self harm) and had a service dog that we took part in training at an organization in Pennsylvania that was certified in search and tracking for my son after over a year of very intensive training. The dog was fantastic but I found more comfort in the dog than my son. When my son was 4 and before he was started on medication I tried to overdose on ambien because with my past history and the constant stress and never knowing what was coming next It became too much. I have not tried again. I have chronic insomnia and it took years of help from the right psychiatrist to find the right medication that helps me sleep. Even on the medication I am a super light sleeper my body having been trained to be constantly on alert. I have been isolated most of my life first because of the bullying and the anxiety and other issues that created and than because of having a special child. I am able to go to the market and do basic stuff but I am unable to just take a walk (without my standard poodle) or get on any public transit because of my anxiety. I drove my son and adopted daughter to Texas this summer but I had to bring my standard poodle with me. I have been training animals my whole life (felt more comfortable around animals growing up than people for obvious reasons). I have trained my poodle since she was 8 weeks old and she now excels in novice and is extremely well behaved in every place I have taken her (I have not yet officially called her a service dog). She keeps me grounded, and helps lesson my panic attacks.

Would the people on this forum please tell me if they think I qualify for a service dog and if my poodle would qualify as a service dog.  I am very insecure. Even though my psychologist (having never met my dog) and my family--parents, sister who is a social worker, and husband think we qualify I still feel a need for others opinion.  Would I be wrong to call my dog a service dog.

Offline ccunnin3

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Re: Do I qualify for a service dog
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 05:04:55 PM »
We cannot tell you if you qualify for a service dog. To qualify you must be disabled, and you need to speak with your doctors to determine that.

I can tell you that your dog must be trained in specific actions (tasks) that mitigate your disability in order to be considered a service dog. Emotional support and comfort do not count as tasks. A dog who's function is to provide emotional support is called an Emotional Support Animal and has access to housing and airplanes but not general public access.
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Offline PaperVoice24

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Re: Do I qualify for a service dog
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 05:12:05 PM »
Would the people on this forum please tell me if they think I qualify for a service dog...

We get this question all the time. The answer will always the same: We can't do that. All we can do is inform you of the legal criterion: You must be considered disabled under the ADA. This means you must have a condition which substantially impairs your ability to perform Major Life Activities, which include but are not limited to:
  • Walking
  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Communicating
  • Bending
  • Lifting
  • Performing manual tasks (grasping, pulling, twisting, etc.)
  • Thinking
  • Concentrating
  • Learning

Your treating physicians can help you determine if you are disabled under ADA criterion.

Would I be wrong to call my dog a service dog?

You would be wrong to do so if you are not disabled, and/or if your dog has not been trained to perform a task relevant to your disability which mitigates your impairment.
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