I know I’m fuzzy and you want to hug me, but please! Stop! If you ask my human, she may say it is okay, but picking me up is /not/. I’m not a toy, I’m not here for anyone but my human.
Lots of humans out there get confused over terms, so let’s bark it out. I’m a service dog. I work for and with one person, my human. I’m not for the community, I’m not a pet, I’m not there to make anyone happy. My job is to help my girl and keep her safe and sound, plus not letting her run into walls is good too. Service dogs work for their disabled humans. There are lots of different kinds of us, but we all have a human who needs us each and every day. We go through months, /years/ of training to be all that we can be and MORE. We have to always be on the ball, ready and able to take care of the person who matters most to us. We have to put on our capes and be living, tail-wagging superheroes.
Emotional Support Animals are often mistaken as us, but they aren’t us. Really, they aren’t! Know why? ESAs are pets. That word is really important. They are pets, they can have any level of training or none whatsoever. According to the U.S. Federal government, they have NO public access rights. An ESA can be a dog, cat, or even a gerbil. It’s an animal that gives it’s human comfort just by its presence alone. That’s not work, two-leggers, it /isn’t/. Helping my human through an anxiety attack is, just existing /isn’t/.
Therapy dogs are whole other type of animal entirely. Well, they’re still dogs, but they are not service dogs. These animals have enough training to be allowed in places to provide comfort for other humans. Essentially, therapy dogs are for the community.
It all may be a bit confusing, but when you understand what is what, it really isn’t. I’m ‘medical equipment’, I have tasks I preform, and job. I bet you’re wondering why we’re writing this? I’ve been injured by humans wanting to ‘play’ with me. I’ve been snarled, lunged at by dogs that shouldn’t be there. I know humans love them, but our safety is important too. We work hard, and we should be safe when doing our jobs.
If you went to work, would you be okay with dangers round every corner?