While surely every dog lover wishes they could take their pup everywhere with them, there are some people who actually need to take their loyal companions with them everywhere they go. Service dogs, different from therapy dogs, are permitted to travel with their guardians into stores, trains, and anywhere else they may need to go. These dogs are trained to assist people with disabilities other than vision or hearing impairment, such as those suffering from autism, psychiatric disabilities, diabetes, and seizures.
By law, these animals do not need to wear vests that tell the world they are service animals, and their guardians do not need to carry certification papers. To the untrained eye, these animals are just like every other companion.
As USA Today reports, Kaplan suffered a traumatic brain injury two years ago. She also suffers from a severe form of bi-polar disorder and memory loss. Her service dog, Zero, helps her cope with everything from recalling where she parked her car or where her apartment is, to managing anxiety.
When Kaplan explained that her companion was a service dog, the Starbucks employee told her she could not come in with the dog because he was not wearing a vest and there was no way to certify the veracity of her claim.
While Kaplan has received a formal apology on behalf of Starbucks for this incident, she is hardly the first person to deal with this sort of situation. Kaplan and many other people with disabilities are constantly asked to verify if their service animals are certified animals, despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act states that businesses that serve the public are required to allow people with service dogs inside.
However, this is not widely taught to employees (as in the case with Starbucks) and as a result, many people and their service dogs are denied access to business they are legally allowed access to. Can you imagine how frustrating this experience must be?
So, Green Monsters, let’s help close this knowledge gap and share this article for all the people who have been denied access to a business because someone was misinformed.