Caitlin Thompson and her service dog Charlie are a team at Michigan State University. Thompson is the school’s facilities supervisor and also a graduate student. She fields about 20 questions a day about Charlie. Having a service dog makes her conspicuous, but it also allows her to function productively after years of isolation.
Charlie helps Thompson deal with learning difficulties and psychiatric disabilities, all of which are invisible. With Charlie at her side, she is able to hold down a full-time job and attend classes.
According to Chip Hornburg, MSU facilities manager, several residents have service animals. The dogs live at the MSU dorms. To distinguish them from regular pets, owners usually have the dogs wear harnesses.
Thompson has chosen counseling as her career path because she wants to make a difference in people’s lives. That includes being an advocate for service dogs and people like her who rely on them as they struggle with disabilities.
On the MSU campus, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities handles all questions and regulations about service animals in dorms and on the campus. According to the center, service dogs don’t have to be registered in Michigan, but the state does provide voluntary registration. Though dogs are the most popular service animals, even miniature horses can be effective for a range of disabilities.
The director of Michigan’s ADA compliance department points out that as cute as they are, these animals are not pets. In fact, they are considered a part of the owner, much like a cane, wheelchair or hearing aid. They help a person, like Thompson, function during their daily life.
In the dorms, owners of service animals are responsible for any damage they cause. They also need to put animal waste in outdoor dumpsters, not in indoor trash receptacles and chutes.
Too Many Questions!
Thompson would prefer more anonymity, but Charlie is a conspicuous buddy. She says that she finds it fairly easy to answer the first question each day that she gets asked about service animals in general or Charlie in particular. But by the fifth question, she can get frustrated.
She asks that people respect her humanity. She is definite that anyone asking an owner questions in public about her service dog should follow basic etiquette. Is it an appropriate time to ask? Does it look like the owner is in a hurry? Does she have other things going on?
She finds the constant stream of questions difficult to handle, especially when she is tired. But she knows how important it is to let people know about the clear value of Charlie and other service animals. They allow owners to safely navigate classes, shops, businesses and work situations.
USA Service Dog Registration makes it easy to register your service dog or emotional support animal. And the process is free.
The online store offers dog vests, ID cards, tags, patches and certificates, as well as leashes and collars. You can purchase an emotional support animal letter in the store. The staff doctor will consult with you over the phone and write a letter that explains how your pet helps you with depression and anxiety.
The USA Service Dog Registration wants to help people with a range of conditions, whether involving sight, hearing, seizures or other physical disabilities, or emotional or psychological problems. Even if the difficulties are not visible, many can still benefit from a service dog.
Make your service dog as official as possible. Check out the range of products and services at USA Service Dog Registration today.
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