Meowllo everypawdy and welcome to another Miserable Monday. No it’s not really miserable, but it is gonna be busy. We’re gonna bring you another installment of our Service Cats posts today. As with all our educational postys da following will be written in human English. While you’re readin’ our posty and goin’ ‘bout your day, me will be havin’ a mommy and Dezi day out. It’s time fur mommy’s monthly doctors ‘pointment and since we have a/c in da car again, mommy’s takin’ me fur da day. WooHoo Ifin you’ve missed any of da posts in this series you can ketch up by clickin’ da links below.
Okay, Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get to today’s topic. As we discussed last week, certification isn’t required or regulated for Service Animals. Because of this, a lot of people claim their pet is a Service Animal so they can get around certain laws and rules. Unfortunately you may even know some one like that. Yes, there are some bloggers and others in social media right now that make such claims so that their animal can fly in the cabin with them for free. Others do it to avoid paying pet deposits and/or fees in housing, or to force a landlord to accept a breed or size of animal that they wouldn’t normally accept.
Our pawsum doggy brofur furiend Easy the Weimereiner asked last week, If a landlord doesn’t allow pets, would they have to allow a Service Animal in their property? Unfortunately Easy, YES. That’s right, the answer to that question is yes. Even if a landlord doesn’t want animals in their home or apartments, they have to make an exception for Service Animals. Now remember, they cannot ask for proof that said animal is in fact a Service Animal, they have to take your word for it. And because of the confusion about the definitions of Service Animal, Therapy Animal and Companion/Emotional Support Animals, they are often taken advantage of.
Just sitting in mommy’s lap with her petting me has a calming effect.
But this requires no training. This is what most Companion/Emotional
Support Animals do for their owners and is not classified as a Service Animal.
Now some of you really got riled last week when we posted that Companion/Emotional Support Animals are not considered Service Animals. For those who have emotional issues such as panic attacks, post traumatic syndrome and other emotional disabilities, know just how important their Companion/Emotional Support Animal is. We are all aware of the old saying, you can be alone/lonely even when you’re surrounded by people. These emotional issues can be very real, and may manifest physical trauma. None the less, Companion/Emotional Support Animals are not trained to perform an actual task. Instead, their very presence has a calming effect. But remember, a Service Animal is specifically trained to perform a task or tasks that enables their disabled handler to function daily.
More than the specific task training, Service Animals are also trained and expected to be calm and almost invisible in any situation, or setting they may be put in. You won’t find a Service Animal barking, growling, hissing or acting out in public. This is not the animal that jumps on, greets, or approaches others or other animals. Regardless of the situation or their surrroundings, a Service Animal will enter a room or setting quietly and stay quietly by their handler. They are not the animal causing a scene or piddling on the floor, etc.
We asked if you thought requiring certification would help. A lot of you said yes, absolutely. And we learned that at least Canada does require certification, and the program is run by the government. If you don’t live in the U.S., you need to check with your local laws about Service Animals. For obvious reasons, we aren’t familiar with those laws or rules outside of the U.S.. Our posts are based on laws and rules of the U.S. since that’s where we live. Altho’ we agree 100% that certification would help, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Who would run the program? What would it cost and who will pay for it? As we’ve said many times, those who need Service Animals are more often than not, living on a fixed income. What tasks should be tested for, and where would those tests be held? Indeed the laws need to be changed, but we do understand it would be a huge undertaking, and would be very costly.
The current rules were made because the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) realized too many people were taking advantage of the lax laws regarding Service Animals, and the general publics’ ignorance regarding Service Animals. Not everybody finds comfort in the traditional idea of a pet. What about reptiles, farm animals, and other species? We have nothing against reptiles, rodents, etc., but we’ll be honest and tell you that we don’t want to sit next to the person claiming their 8 foot anaconda is a Service Animal. Nor would we want to eat in a restaurant where a pig or horse (miniature or otherwise) is swishing their tails and relieving themselves on the floor. This brings us to our point for today: Common Sense. We think the disabled person should exercise some common sense when taking their Service Animal in public. It also takes us back to mommy and Raena’s day out Friday.
After leaving the VETs office Friday, they headed to Walmart to get some treats for Raena and me. As soon as they entered the store, a woman came over and commented and asked about Raena who was laying quietly in the stroller. Mommy explained that She was a Service Cat in training, and that she alerts before mommy passes out. The woman thought that was amazing and wonderful. She then went on to ask why Raena was confined to the stroller and not out walking on the leash that was attached to her harness. She remarked that earlier she had run across a “Service Chihuahua” in the store that tried to bite her as she walked passed. Well now, we’ve finally gotten to the common sense part. We are so grateful for our stroller, but before we had one, mommy used a soft sided carrier when taking us out in public.
You see, a lot of people are allergic to cats. And most people, including mommy doesn’t really want to eat cat hair. But mommy really does need at least one of us when she’s out of the house. So, how does mommy get the benefit of our training while not offending or causing problems for the rest of the store, restaurant, etc.? Our stroller. Yep, we are fully enclosed so that any shedding fur or dander won’t float thru the air, or get on everything around; but we are still able to see and smell everything including mommy. And we have sufficient room to stand, sit, or lay in order to alert mommy. Altho’ this particular lady was not allergic to cats, she proclaimed her appreciation for mommys’ attempt at being considerate of others.
As mommy and Raena continued on in the store, they encountered lots of children who were accompanying their parents for back to school shopping. With each encounter, Raena performed perfectly and showed people how a true Service Animal reacts to all that excitement…She did nothing but lay quietly in the stroller. One very uneducated woman asked, “Have you ever encountered a Service Dog that wanted to bark at or eat your Service Cat?” (she must have been thinking about that “Service Chihuahua”) Yeah, mommy’s blood was boiling, thinking about all those unruly dogs at BlogPaws in Nashville. But, she remained calm and took the opportunity to educate this person and all those who were now listening in. Mommy calmly replied. “A true Service dog would never do such a thing. Service Animals are trained to Not React”, just as Raena was doing that very moment. Altho’ the stroller had become surrounded by screaming pointing children, Raena remained quiet and non reactive. As a matter of fact, before they left the store, a manager came up and told mommy how much he appreciated Raenas’ behavior and mommys’ consideration of everybody else in the store. Which of course made mommy really happy. The atmosphere is changing.
Now we told you all of that, to tell you that we think disabled handlers should try to be considerate of others. Had that always been the case, Service Cats might still be accepted by the ADA. Unfortunately, people in general are selfish, and everybody thinks everybody else owes them something. Yes, as a disabled person, mommy wants a parking space close to the door, and yes, she needs a few special accommodations when she’s out in public. But, she’s not the whole public, and her needs aren’t any more important than everybody else’s. Just a few considerations, and we are welcome right alongside mommy anywhere she goes. No one has the right to force their lifestyle on another.
Mommy has never asked a landlord who doesn’t want pets on their property to rent to her. It’s called respect for others. There are plenty of places that do allow animals, that mommy can rent from. We realize that might not be the case everywhere, but we still think you should exhaust all other avenues before forcing someone to do something they don’t want to. If you are going to be with others in public that could assist you in the same or similar manner as your Service Animal, think about letting the animal have a few hours off. Especially if your Service Animal of choice isn’t the accepted norm (ie: dog or cat). Once every few years or so, someone will show up and offer to take mommy out fur a meal or something. While they obviously can’t alert before she passes out, they can assist her and stay with her if it does happen. So mommy almost always leaves us at home on those occasions. Again, it’s all about Common Sense and Respect for yourself and others.
Well me’s gonna wrap it up fur now. We think we’ve given ya’ a lot to mull over. Remember, if you have any questions, or specifics you would like us to cover, please leave your thoughts in the comments, or feel free to email us. Like me said earlier, we’s goin’ to mommy’s doctor today, so we’ll be by to visit with you as soon as we can.
Is there a particular animal you can’t see as a Service Animal?
How many “tasks” do you think should be required to make an animal a Service Animal?
Till da next time……………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
Meowllo and welcome to another miserable Monday. It’s time fur another educational Service Cat posty. As always, it will be written in human English. Our blog is not a training manual. Any training tips or stories are not meant to be complete, but rather a starting point; as propurr training takes time and is repetitive. Me wants to thank you all fur your questions and comments on our postys. We were asked ‘bout claw clippin’ a squirmy kitty last week. But it wasn’t da furst time we’s been asked dat, so we’re workin’ on a video tutorial fur dat. You know at da end of da day, we are still cats and have to have our claws clipped just like da rest of ya’; and we’re not so crazy ‘bout it. Mommy’s never hurt us, but still…So we decided a video would be da bestest way to ‘splain how to do it, so stay tuned fur dat. As ya’ know, there’s only one mommy, so these things take time. Ifin you have missed any of da postys in this series, you can get caught up by clickin’ da links below. Some of you have also asked about previous training posts. You can use the search feature on our sidebar to read previous posts. Keywords such as Dezi, wheelchair, phone, etc. will bring some of these up.
Well let’s get started. After last weeks post, we were talking with our friends from Bad Cat Chris about some of the laws that pertain to Service Animals and housing and such. His wife works in the housing/apartment business and is often coming in contact with those “fakers” we’ve talked about. You know, those people who call their pets Service Animals to avoid paying pet deposits/fees or so they can take their pet somewhere pets aren’t normally allowed (ie: stores, restaurants, grocery’s, etc.). You might recall, that every week, we plead with the public to NOT call their pets Service Animals unless they fit the literal description the ADA puts forth; an animal that is individually trained to perform tasks for a disabled person. Fetch, shake, roll over, etc. are not considered Service Animal training.
Your question is probably, “how do these people get away with lying about their pets?” The answer is, Easy. Unfortunately, Certification, is not required by law but rather is voluntary. Because of this there are lots of places that certify animals for a price. Certification really means nothing under the current laws. Per the rules, no one is allowed to ask someone to prove their animal is indeed a Service Animal. The only question that can be posed to a disabled person about their Service Animal is: “What task(s) does this animal perform for you that makes it necessary?” You cannot ask what a person’s disability is or require proof of any kind.
In recent years Companion Animals (CA) have become extremely popular. Remember, a Companion Animal is merely a pet. These animals may also go by the title of Emotional Support Animals (ESA). This means that the very presence of the animal has a positive influence on a person suffering from depression, panic attacks, etc.. A Companion Animal has no specific training and IS NOT a Service Animal. There is no certification or training required for an animal to be considered a Companion/Emotional Support Animal. As a result of studies that prove animals have a positive influence on their owners health, Companion Animals/Emotional Support Animals have gained acceptance and some rights under housing laws. Unfortunately a lot of people take advantage of this, and often try to pass off their CA/ESA as a Service Animal.
Landlords may require a note or letter from a medical professional stating that the animal in question is there to provide emotional support for a person. The animal must still meet the requirements a landlord sets forth in their pet policy. A typical apartment pet policy requires animals be 35 pounds or under, current on all vaccines required by law, well behaved and not a nuisance to neighbors. A landlord may ban pets/CA/ESA from certain areas of the property. Companion Animals/ ESA are not allowed in any public place that does not allow pets (ie: grocery stores, restaurants, etc.).
In an attempt to stop abuse of the Service Animal rights, the ADA refined and limited their definitions of said animals. In doing so, they punished those who truly have a need for a Service Animal of another species than dogs. Another way to go about this would be to require certification for Service Animals. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Me thinks this is a lot of information, so me’s going to wrap it up fur today. We’ll talk more about Certification and what effect that would have for the disabled in another post. We were also asked to speak a bit on good training techniques as opposed to bad ones (ie: punishment, force, etc.); so we’ll be covering that in a future post as well. As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or ideas you would like answered or addressed, leave them in da comments or send us an email.
Do you think Certification should be required for all Service Animals?
If you’re for Certification, do you think there should be a charge, and if so, how much?
Till da next time……………………………..Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
Well by the time you read this, I will be in heaven with minez brofurs and Shad awaitin’ the time when mommy and sis Dezi join us; and mommy will be a mess. Like my brofurs who have gone befur me, I didn’t wanna leave mommy. My heart didn’t wanna let go. But my body just couldn’t keep up. I just kept getting weaker and weaker. Fankfully sis Dezi has learned all I could teach her and she can now pass on that knowledge to her new sisfur and help mate to take care of mommy. Least that’z after she getz over the confusion. I hadn’t been able to drive mommy’s wheelchair fur a few weeks, but I could still give her massages and help Dezi get mommy outta bed. I even tried to help sis Dezi with mommy in the shower today; I just wasn’t strong enuff to get in the tub. Even tho’ mommy cried and would tell me to save my strength I just couldn’t let down on all my duties. I will always be a Service cat. I luv my mommy so much and she gave me the beztezt life a kitty could have ever asked fur. Ya’ know I wasn’t s‘posed to live, so havin’ almost 17 years of luvs and cuddles? Well what more could a motherless kit have asked fur? Getting’ old shure wasn’t fun, and havin’ kidney disease on top of it just wasn’t fair. But mommy always said life wasn’t fair and that we just had to make the beztezt of what we had. My mommy is very wise and cuz of her and her attitude, I had a little more than a year of life after that dreaded diagnosis.
In my last year I got to go on a great adventure called BlogPaws. And cuz of all my wunnerful unkles and awnties I got lots of toys, cat trees, noms, treats and most of all lots and lots of luvs. You know I luvs you all very very much; and I’z countin’ on ya’ to take care of mommy, sis Dezi and whoever comes to live with them next. I know that mommys heart is breakin’ right now, and she feels so terribly guilty fur havin’ to get another kitty. But she has so much luv to give it wouldn’t be fair to ask her not to share it. And Dezi needs the help. Trust me. I’z taught her all I know but the girl can be a bit daft sometimes. And her attention span can sometimes wane. And then of course, mommy ain’t getting’ any younger, spryer or nimbler, so she’s gunna need a lot of help in the years to come.
So I guess I should get to my last will and testament huh? To my sweet bootyful sisfur Dezi…I really do luv ya’ sis. I leave you with our mommy and her heart. Her hearts broken right now, so be gentle. She luvs you more than her own life, just as she luvs me. And she will awlways do what’s beztezt fur ya’ and never ever leave ya’. Take good care of her, yous the head cat in charge now. Pass along the lessons I taught ya’ and find that happy balance to let your new helper know you luv ‘em but that you are the Queen. And Dezi, do luv them, cuz mommy’s gonna need you both like she needed you and me.
To all our sweet dear furiends, awnties and unkles…Remember, I luvs you awl so much I could never really express how I feel in mere words. But trust me, the luvs run deep; and mommy and sis Dezi luvs ya’ the same. These last couple of years have been so amazin’. I never knew there were so many pawsum peeps still left in the world. Fank you so very much fur all you did fur me and my furmily. I only hope and purray you will continue to luv mommy and sis Dezi. And when they innerduce Dezi’s new helper, I purray you luv her too. She’s gonna have to be speshul to put up with Dezi. (mol)
To my successor…I leave you mommy, sis Dezi and all our wunnerful furiends. Be patient with them, they’re goin’ thru a tough time right now, but they luv you and will give you the beztezt life ever. Give mommy all your luv and she’ll return it in spades. You’re gonna get lots of cuddles and luv. And yes, you can sleep on the big bed. In fact you’ll be ‘spected to sleep there. Mommy’s happiest when she’s surrounded by furry purrers. The only place that be off limits is the kitchen counter. Dezi is a real Southern Belle Prima Donna and now that she’s the Queen, she’s purrobly gonna have the big head fur a while; but just hang in there, she’s a great sisfur and has so much to teach you. And when she luvs, she luvs with her whole bein’. You may not realize it yet, but you hit the jackpot.
Last but certainly not da least, mommy. I luv you so much mommy. I’z so sorry I had to leave you; I wanted to be with you furever and ever and someday we will be. Fank you fur fightin’ fur me when I was a baby. Fank you fur the life you gave me. And fanks fur fightin’ fur me in the end. You awlway worried that you didn’t give me enuff cuz you didn’t have money. But mommy, all I ever needed was the luv you gave me. And that you did. I was so blest to have you fur my mommy. My life was so full of luvs and adventure. And you never broke your purromisse…you Never left me behind. Havin’ you with me at the end was my life comin’ full circle. I know that tellin’ ya’ not to cry won’t work. But ifin ya’ can manage thru the tears to ‘member my life, and celebrate it with joy. Mommy we had almost 17 full years together. I’z sorry I couldn’t hold out another month, my heart was strong but my body just gave out. I was so tired. Purrlease luvs me enuff to luvs again. You have so much luvs to give. I leave you with Dezi. Mommy she’s a sensitive one you know and you gotta bounce back or she won’t. She needs you to be strong. Even broken, mommy, your heart is so full there’s purrlenty of room fur another luv. I know that in my last days when you thought I wasn’t lissenin’ you told God to make Dezi stronger cuz no other kitty would be able to do what I have done fur you. And that’s just not true. Somewhere is the purrfect kitty just waitin’ fur you. I will always be with you in your thoughts and memories. And I will be waitin’ here in heaven fur you when it’z your time.
I Leave You With
Mommy, I leave you my heart, I know yours is broken.
Mine is purrfect, You filled it with love.
Mommy, I leave you my eyes, I know yours are filled with tears.
Mine see purrfectly, Cuz they see from my heart.
Mommy I leave you with the comfort you once gave to me,
It will keep you safe, as you did for me.
I gave you my life, and would gladly do it again.
Because the life you gave me, was full of love with no end.
I asked God to give you peace,
And to wrap you in His arms;
The way you cradled me,
So tender and warm.
I asked the breeze, to blow gently in your ear;
The way you used to whisper, That you’d always be near.
I asked the sun, to shine and warm your face.
The way your smile did for me
When you looked my way.
I asked the moon to blanket you each night
The way you cuddled me and held me so tight.
When you feel lonely,
Remember me with joy.
Remember I was always happy
Just being by your side.
When everything grows quiet and still,
And the light gives way to the night
Remember, you’re never alone,
I’m right there by your side.
Remember our love, so purrfect and pure
It’s the kind that cannot die.
You can’t see me with your physical eyes,
But in your heart, I’ll always be alive.
A High 3/9/16
What a life I lived. I am one blest kitty fur shure. Fank you mommy and fank you all.
Mommy A here, first I want to thank you all for loving my baby. She loved hearing from you. I read all the comments to the girls and show them photos of all their friends. You’d be surprised how many they recognize. Lexi fought a good fight and I fought even when she gave up. In the end, she just couldn’t go on. So I had to be strong enough to let her go. I must tell you this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My heart isn’t just broken, it’s shattered into a million pieces. Lexi was a service cat to her last breath. She just couldn’t stop herself and save her strength. My life will never be the same. She will live on in my heart and memories. I know that we are blest, and the blessing in this is that Lexi is no longer in any pain. She’s once again, young and healthy and free of care. My heart hasn’t quite gotten to this realization yet, but we want to celebrate her life. She loved with her whole being and gave all she had. And that’s what we want to remember.
I want to thank all of you for your help throughout Lexi’s illness. Thank you for all the prayers and financial help, and all the goodies the girls have gotten. I’m just numb right now. Lexi was the longest relationship I’ve ever had. For nearly 17 years I’ve done nothing without her. She has been my faithful companion for so long I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t here. I had to be helped out of the office because I didn’t know how to leave without her. I just feel empty inside, like part of me is missing. A lot of you understand how I feel right now, and for those who don’t, I’m sorry you’ve never truly had the love an animal can give. Altho’ I feel lost, I wouldn’t trade a minute of the last 17 years. I am so blest that she chose me to be her mommy. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
With that, one last time, I will ask you to purrlease take care of mommy and sis Dezi. And mommy, you and Dezi take care of each other. It’s not goodbye, but I’ll see you again.
And I leave all of you with……..Be Blest!!!