Veterans need service dogs for several reasons and even if there are not evident, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same respect and consideration even person with a service dog should have. Service dogs are always there for a reason and it’s important to know how to behave in front of them.
One of the reasons veterans require service dogs more and more often, is to help them deal with PTSD. They are dealing with a lot of anxiety and many things can trigger their symptoms. That’s why it’s important for them to have their service dog with them to calm them down.
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But many veterans claim they don’t get the respect they deserve when they are with their service dogs. In many cases they have been thrown out of businesses or not allowed inside.
This is caused mainly because of ignorance. Not everybody is aware of how people benefit from service dogs and the only way to change that is to educate them.
But it’s not only the businesses who require education, is the people in general that not always know how to behave in the presence of a veteran with a service dog. So let me give you few heads up.
First of all, it’s important to remember never to distract a service dog. It may not be obvious to you but they are working, especially if you see them with their vest on. This means you cannot offer them treats, pet them or attract their attention in any way.
Respect the handler and always give him or her some space. The dogs are helping them be independent and protect them from vulnerable situations, so respecting their dynamic is very important.
If we all understand how service dogs help veterans and other people with some sort of disability, these uncomfortable situations will happen less and less. So let’s make sure we give them the respect they deserve.