End of the Month Life Reboot Recap and a bonus argument

Well, over the last month I’ve been doing..meh. I started tracking my water intake via an app called Plant Nanny and I’ve been doing really REALLY well with that. So I get an A.

I also give myself an A on housekeeping because more days than not, I’ve been able to keep the mess to a minimum and laundry to about a load a day.

Now comes the bad part. I’ve been experiencing a down period this last month or so, so I haven’t been exercising like I need to. Solid D there. I also have really fucking FAILED at keeping up with my meditation practice so that’s a freaking F. It doesn’t mean I’m going to quit working on it…I’m just going to have to work harder and/or tweak some things.

So I’ve done half good and half bad for the month of February which..well. IDK if it’s improvement. But I don’t feel as shit about it as I did back in December when everything kinda went to pieces on me.

And now…a pop surprise bonus argument.

I am a member of a group on FB for those who cruise Carnival and also cruise out of the port of Galveston. I got drawn into the whole “Service animal vs Emotional Support Animal (aka ESA because we’re too lazy to type out emotional support animal)” debate this morning. This is not the first time, sadly, I’ve gotten drawn into these kinds of debates. The website ServiceDogCentral.org says this about the whole matter:

The difference between emotional support animals and service animals is threefold:

1. To have a service animal, a person must be so impaired as to have a disability. For example, needing glasses for poor vision is an impairment, but being unable to see with or without glasses is a disability. Having a mental illness is an impairment, but being unable to function on a minimal level because of a mental illness is a disability. Folks may have an emotional support animal due to a mental impairment if they are also otherwise disabled or elderly or they may have an emotional support animal because of a mental illness disability. Only those actually disabled by a psychiatric impairment would qualify to use a psychiatric service dog.

2. Service animals are task trained to actually do something which mitigates the person’s disability. Their defined function is not to provide emotional support (affection on demand or a security blanket) but to do something the handler cannot do for themselves which allows that handler to overcome or ameliorate an inability to perform major life activities. Emotional support animals don’t have to be trained, so long as they do not disturb neighbors or pose a threat to public safety.

3. A person with a disability has a right to be accompanied by a trained service dog which is assisting them in most public accommodations (places of business). A person with an impairment or a disability does not have a right to be accompanied by an emotional support animal unless individual state laws specifically grant this right, in which case it applies only in that state.

Some folks confuse Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) with Psychiatric Service Animals (PSAs). They think that “training” a dog to kiss on command or jump in their lap, or be hugged is a task qualifying the animal as a service animal. Real tasks for PSDs (psychiatric service dogs) include counterbalance/bracing for a handler dizzy from medication, waking the handler on the sound of an alarm when the handler is heavily medicated and sleeps through alarms, doing room searches or turning on lights for persons with PTSD, blocking persons in dissociative episodes from wandering into danger (i.e. traffic), leading a disoriented handler to a designated person or place, and so on.

I do not doubt that there is a real need for some people for an emotional support animal or a psychiatric service animal. HOWEVER…the term “emotional support animal” has been so abused by people who just can’t bear to leave their pweshus snowflake at home that I am, at least upon hearing that So-n-So has an emotional support animal, that I am skeptical. And I apparently am ‘cold hearted and cruel’ because I am skeptical that all dogs with a vest that reads “emotional support animal” are truly trained for that kind of work. Because ANYBODY can buy those vests and papers on the internet. One person involved in the discussion said she’d JUST done it for her dog just to see how easy it was to do. She reported back that it took about 15 minutes and cost nothing to register her dog (who she said was not trained for emotional support work) on a website somewhere that would also sell her the vest and paperwork for a minimal amount.

It should NOT be that easy, people, to claim your dog, cat, bird, WHATEVER is an emotional support animal and get the right paperwork delivered to your doorstep. However, because of the way the ADA (Americans With Disabilites Act) is written, the hands of businesses are effectively tied behind their backs with the tightest of wires. You are not allowed to ask a person what their disability is or why they have a service dog or emotional support dog. You CAN ask for the paperwork stating they have been licensed/trained and for vet paperwork, but the person with the dog (or other animal) doesn’t HAVE to provide it. It is not required in any way that a service animal of any kind (emotional support or otherwise) be licensed by any group, anywhere. Which is why these companies that provide fake papers for a fee exist. They know this and that anybody who wants to claim their animal as a support animal can, simply by purchasing the fake papers. If anybody asks, all they have to do is yell “SUPPORT ANIMAL!” and start flashing their fake papers and the person asking “Why do you have this dog in my establishment?” will probably back down because they don’t want to cause an even bigger scene or risk violating the ADA. Which, if they said “GTFO with your stupid yappy bitey dog” and the person claimed it was a support animal, then the pet owner could sue the business owner for violating the ADA and nobody wants that.

Until there is a better way of controlling how an animal gets their service or emotional support license/training, this kind of thing is GOING to continue. And it’s going to continue to irritate the snot out of those of us who know the difference between a real service animal and those who are wearing a service support vest simply because their Mommy can’t bear to leave her Pweshus Snowfwake at home.

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