According to Palmeri, Manhattan residents are purchasing fake therapy dog vests so one can bring their small dogs into stores and restaurants. I take anything I read in the Post with a huge grain of salt. The Post generates playful headlines and I do my best to restrict my reading to the sports section. Today I failed. The giant banner, Exclusive, was just too enticing. As Rupert Murdoch knows yellow journalism and eye catching headlines sells newspapers. Check out this picture published by the Post.
Palmeri'sstory, like many Post exclusives, is misleading and filled with half-truths. According to Palmeri, “To obtain a legitimate [sympathy] tag, an applicant only needs to present a letter from a dog trainer saying the dog can perform certain useful tasks. Proof of a disability isn’t required.” This statement is false. At best one could label it as grossly misleading. I am by no means an expert on the difference between service dogs, therapy dogs, and guide dogs. However, I have been around service dogs and guide dogs. These are amazingly well trained animals. Their behavior, near perfect, sticks out like a sore thumb. I also know this requires great dedication on the part of many organizations throughout the nation that seek to empower people with a disability. In my estimation service dogs and guide dogs are fundamentally different animals and share a unique bond with their owners. These dogs are not pets. These dogs can and do make a rich and full life for people with a disability possible.