Dear RV Shrink:
We travel full-time with our dog. It is often inconvenient, but the joy we get from the companionship offsets the limitations it causes. We met a couple who are campground hosts and they invited us to go out to lunch with them. They insisted on driving because they needed to bring their “service dog” along. When we questioned them about the need for a service dog, they admitted it wasn’t actually true.
It seems the dog suffers from separation anxiety so they were able to go online and get papers that officially designate the dog as a “certified service dog.” My husband thought it would be a good idea for us to do the same, but I feel it’s dishonest. He says it is only a little white lie. What do you think? —Barking up the wrong tree in Bakersfield
I find it more than dishonest. I find it disgusting. These fake internet documents erode the credibility of actual service dogs. Many people that truly need a service animal are already suspect. To have a wave of pet owners falsifying the need for an animal will only help destroy an important program that many authentic handicapped people rely on.
Life is full of choices. If you travel with an animal it will often mean sacrificing some activities. We have more than once offered to babysit dogs for fellow campers that wanted to take a day hike on trails that did not allow dogs. In fact, dog sitting could be a very lucrative work camper business if someone wanted to pursue it. People leaving barking dogs all day in a rig while they go off is a common complaint. The service dog program is for people, not animals. Don’t let your husband confuse the two. . —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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