Saturday, January 9, 2016


It has not been a good week for service dog teams.

In Fayetteville, New York, a man allegedly punched out a disabled Army combat veteran because the vet wouldn’t let the man’s little girl pet the vet’s working service dog.

In San Francisco, a 49ers fan sued the team for kicking him and his service dog, trained to alert him to seizures, out of a game. The stress of the incident triggered an immediate seizure and the fan was hospitalized.

In Seattle, a Purple Heart veteran who suffers from PTSD was told he could not bring his service dog to a Veterans Administration inpatient program. The VA is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, and while most VA centers allow service dogs, some do not.

Clearly the world needs further training about service dogs. It needs to know that service dogs in public are working animals and should not be approached, let alone petted. It needs to know that service dog teams have the right under Federal law to be anywhere the general public is allowed—with a very, very few common-sense exceptions, such as swiimming pools and hospital operating rooms.

Trooper and I are fortunate that we have not yet encountered such problems, except mostly from well-meaning and friendly people who want to pet him when he’s working in public.

That happens a lot at the Levy Senior Center with my fellow geezers. Most of them accept my “Please don’t pet him—he’s working!” with understanding and good cheer, but a few think I’m being rude and give me dirty looks.

We’re helping train them as well as ourselves.


  1. If you were at the Levy Center, and a fellow geezer who knows you calls out "Henry" would trooper alert you if you didn't see the person calling? Or in any other street / public place?

  2. Eventually, yes. Right now he's used to Debby's voice and once he's mastered that task we'll start using other people to call me by name.