Hi and welcome to the latest episode of the Individual Animal a podcast about dogs, people, and discrimination. Nikki and Regina discuss animal welfare, canine science, discrimination, and other issues facing dogs and people. There’s often witty banter and sarcasm, even for the serious subjects - because that’s who we are and how we cope.
After a brief hiatus, we’re back! After some banter, we get into the difference between service dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs.
We all know people with disabilities face discrimination, even more so when they have a service dog - and you can triple that discrimination when they have a dog who does not match people’s expectations of what a service dog should look like.
We’ve written before about why people need emotional support animals. Not respecting that need is also discrimination. We’ve seen that play out with Delta’s ban on service and emotional support dogs visually identified as “pit bulls.”
Tackling the individual subjects of service dogs and emotional support animals requires a lot of unpacking. Before we do a deep dive, we wanted to lay the groundwork and establish some basics.
There is a difference between an emotional support animal and a service dog - a difference that the media and the public often do not understand. Sometimes, the term therapy dog gets thrown around as if it were synonymous with both of those terms.
We also talk about our personal thoughts on the instances of people faking disabilities in order to take their dogs into non-dog friendly spaces. We touch on the importance of language here and why we need to stop saying “faking a service dog” and reframe it in the proper context, which is that people are actually faking a disability.
And on that topic, we want to make sure that business owners and employees know how they can protect their customers and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
As you can tell, we cover a lot of issues under this topic! Grab a drink and listen to us go on some tangents.
You can follow Pepe the Service Dog on Instagram and see some pics of service dog Koda on his person’s account. You can keep track of Regina’s guide dog on Facebook.
*There are some times in this episode where we reference that an emotional support animal is prescribed by a doctor or physician, but they can be prescribed by any mental health care professional.