Wednesday, February 12, 2014
How to Go Anywhere with Your Dog
Last month we took a long family weekend in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. Scottsdale was warm and inviting, a lovely respite from Missouri's brutal polar temperatures and unending snow. Spending time with family was pretty awesome, too.
Above is one of the outdoor shots I took of the famous Barrett-Jackson auction. It's the one you've probably seen on television where people who live a totally different lifestyle from mine, think nothing of bidding 1.5 million to pick up a nice vintage vehicle. We spent a lot of time checking things out.
I could go on forever describing what we saw...amazing cars, celebrities, television moments, and vendors who arrived on scene to sell anything you can imagine...yes, even pianos.
But I want to focus on something else that interested me. I've never seen so many people with dogs wearing service vests in any place I've ever been. There must have been dozens and dozens of them, each with a vest displaying tags that looked very official. Some of the dogs even wore cute little outfits along with the vest.
I asked a few different handlers whether their dogs were in training or working. Each one smiled and said their dogs were working. Several mentioned that their dog did pet therapy.
Let me tell you, no one is more a fan of making dogs welcome in all places than me, but this was a no-dogs-allowed event EXCEPT for service dogs. I didn't notice anyone checking credentials, nor did I notice any millionaires lining up for pet therapy.
Later I went on-line and discovered something. Several companies will be happy to sell service vests to anyone along with patches, ID tags that include federal regulations mandating service dog entry into any building/area, and instructions on how one can travel by air with a service dog. (The service dog apparently flies free)
The websites selling the products have a disclaimer saying they aren't a certifying agency and they do not accept responsibility for any false information supplied to get the products. They add it's fraudulent to misrepresent a dog as a service animal, yet no certifying paperwork is required to make a purchase.
I know there are plenty of folks with highly trained service dogs for a specific and necessary purpose, but Barrett-Jackson made me wonder. Could it be that some people order vests and tags just so they can take their pup wherever they go?
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of dogs and people spending time together, but something seemed a bit odd. Is it my imagination or is this a new way to travel anywhere with your dog?
Mom, I expect you to order a service vest for me immediately!