By Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.
It's amazing how God uses service animals to provide empowerment, strength, and support for those with
Animals are trained to provide different services. Some, but are not limited to, are:
- Seeing eye dogs, assisting individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
- Hearing guide dogs, assisting Deaf and hard of hearing individuals by notifying them of sounds and noises.
- Seizure dogs, assisting individuals with Epilepsy that a seizure is about to occur.
- Psychiatric service dogs support individuals better manage symptoms of PTSD, depression, and/ or anxiety. (Comfort dogs do not qualify as a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act.)
Most handlers welcome questions, such as,
- Is this a service dog for a disability? (asking disability questions according to the ADA is permitted)
- What task/tasks is the dog trained to perform?
Handlers can bring service dogs anywhere they go, including restaurants, dining rooms, salad bars, meeting places, and the such. Handlers with service animals cannot be prohibited, be assigned, or forced to use designated areas. They are to have the same accessibility as others.
Because service dogs are often working when in public, it is best to ask the handler if you can pet his or her dog. Don't be offended if the answer is no. It just may be that the handler doesn't want the dog to get riled up. Just as important, do not talk to the service dog, talk to the handler, as talking to the dog may distract the dog from its work.
At our Annual Conference, there are a few individuals who
Interestingly, while service animals are helpful to individuals with
The arrangements committee for Annual Conference works toward making the conference accessible for people with
For more information about Maryland laws on service animals, check out this website.
For more information about allergies and asthma conditions, check out this website.