Thursday, February 25, 2016
Yesterday a packet arrived from the State of Michigan Civil Rights Division. It contained the illustrated cloth patch and a plastic card with my picture proclaiming that I am a registered service animal handler and Trooper is a registered service dog.
This is an entirely voluntary way of informing the public of our right to go anywhere (within reason, of course) in upper Michigan, where we spend roughly half the year. It does not contradict the U.S. Justice Department's service dog guidelines, which say that formal identification can never be demanded.
Most business owners who ask service dog teams for ID, however, are not suspicious Gestapo officers demanding one's papers on a train speeding out of Berlin, but make the request out of honest ignorance or exasperation about the growing numbers of fake service dogs. Official state-issued patches and ID cards can smooth troubled waters.
(For further information on the Michigan scheme, see the Jan. 22 blogpost below.)
The patch will be sewn on the top of Trooper's Dogs for the Deaf vest. Yes, the vest might look like the family station wagon on its return from the Black Hills, but I think we'll see real benefits with this one.