A Man, His Service Dog, and a Parks and Rec Officer

Why in God's name did you "[whip] out the service dog credentials and show them to him" instead of educating him? I'm sure you know that under federal law, proof that a dog is a service animal isn't required but he obviously didn't. You could have said something like, "Well, legally, I don't have to carry anything to prove that she is; I'm sorry you don't know that. You can ask if my dog is a service animal and what she is trained to do to help me, though. Would you like me to tell you?" Then you confused the issue by mentioning that your dog has done volunteer work. It's great that your service dog also does therapy dog work. My miniature schnoodle is so wonderful with children that I'm planning to get him certified as a therapy dog so we can volunteer at Rady's Children's Hospital. But you'd identified your dog as a service dog, NOT a therapy dog, and while you and I know they aren't the same at all, it's entirely possible that the officer didn't. So, you not only set up service dog teams following in your wake for access challenges that include the expectation that the handler carries credentials of some kind, but you've misinformed someone about what service dogs do by mentioning something totally irrelevant. Please understand, I agree wholeheartedly that the officer was being a pissant. But instead of using confrontational language, why didn't you just reply, "Oh, I can see how you'd think that, but she blew an ACL, so her days of chasing this thing are over. She just chews on it now." No, you had to address him like a defense attorney. People in authority typically don't like being talked down to because, in most instances, it plays on the inferiority complex that motivated them to get jobs that give them authority. Handling this situation as you did increases the likelihood that this guy will now dislike service dog handlers on sight because he'll assume we're all disrespectful smartasses. I'm sorry he spoiled your lunch, but I think your spoiling the park for other service dog teams was just as bad.
— March 30, 2013 8:59 a.m.

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