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DH, myself, and Abby went to Colonial Williamsburg on Sunday since it's a short day trip for us. We parked in the lot right by the Visitor's Center and left Abby in the car while we went to get a map of the site.

As we came back out and went to the parking lot to get Abby, we saw a couple with two very large Golden Retrievers (or maybe mixes - they could have been Golden x Great Pyrenees, based on their size). DH asked if they were friendly and if he could pet them, and we got to talking to their owners.

In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that we were about to go get our girl from the car and see the sights at Williamsburg with her. At that point, the "gentleman" informed me that I didn't have to leave her in the car to go into the Visitor's Center because he knows a "great trick" to bring dogs where they're not ordinarily allowed. That trick, he elaborated, was to tell places that don't allow dogs that the dog is a service animal or therapy animal and then they have to allow them inside.

My jaw about dropped to the floor.

First, if you're going to break the law, you should probably not tell a random stranger about it. That's like saying, "I know a great trick for parking close to the store entrance: just park in the disabled spot." I hope the next person he tells about his great trick is a disabled person with a real service dog or a police officer! (Or an employee of the place he's trying to access.)

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I informed him that therapy dogs were, in fact, not considered service animals and do not have public access rights. Therapy dogs only have public access rights if they are performing their duties in a facility that is allowing them to come in. ("Yeah, but stores don't know the difference," he said.)

Then I explained to him that misrepresenting their dogs as service dogs is against the law and can be punished by a fine and/or jail term, and that it was also a really rude thing to do. Bringing an untrained pet dog into a place that only allows service dogs makes it so much harder for people with actual real service dogs who rely on their dogs so they can live independently.

They seemed pretty understanding and smiled and nodded, and we walked off to get our dog. As we were walking around the Visitor's Center the long way to get to the bridge that leads into Colonial Williamsburg, what do we see? These two morons and their dogs, waltzing right into the Visitor's Center (which has a big "Service Animals Only - Thank you!" sign at the door) like they were just entitled to do so.

We later saw them along the road in Williamsburg, both their dogs wearing a Williamsburg access-type badge (a brown badge with Colonial Williamsburg on it - not sure what the actual text was). They were all friendly, waving at us and wanting our dogs to meet. My DH said, "Our dog is not friendly with other dogs." and we walked off. We wanted nothing to do with them.

Incidentally, we had no problems going into any of the Williamsburg stores with our dog - WITHOUT misrepresenting her as a service dog. All we had to do was stick our head in and ask.
 

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It amazes me how many people will not only lie and cheat to get what they want - they will also brag about it.

How said that these people make life so much more difficult for people who really need service dogs and are trying to do things the right way.

Sounds like you did all you could to educate them but it fell on deaf ears.

Good job anyway. Now - did you post pics of Abbey on your jaunt?
 

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I would have been tempted to go into the visitor center and tell someone that worked there about their little secret.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Quote:Now - did you post pics of Abbey on your jaunt?
I will later - I need to go through them all first. I got a new lens for my Nikon D40 (the 55-200 VR lens) and took a TON of pictures ... so I need to sort through them before posting any.
 

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The sad part is those fools probably wandered around all day snickering about you and good citizen Abby. Uk, goldie people, who's stupider, the dogs or the people who own them. Sorry, was that a racist remark?
 

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I have nothing against goldens, or any other large dog ( can't warm up to small breeds, but that's just me), but I only talk to other shepherd owners. After owning 2 of my own businesses, I learned that most strangers are only going to wear on my nerves after 2 minutes. Just be proud of yourself for doing the right thing, what goes around comes around.
 

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Then, I wonder why people look at me, who "looks" perfectly healthy...and they give me THAT look, and sometimes mumble (as if I can't hear), "she doesn't look disabled"... or "wow, it'd be nice to bring my pet with me too:... like I'm trying to get away with something.

No, I mean, I don't wonder. I know why. But eeesh, people like this make the lives of people like me a lot harder.


Points for a good try, Chris. Now that these people know what they're doing is ILLEGAL, maybe they'll over their shoulders a bit more. You may not have changed their minds, but if you've made them more uncomfortable, that's ok too.

And I'd like to see photos of beautiful Abby too!
 

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That makes me crazy. I have ask many places to let my dogs in (stores etc) and they have said yes. No need to lie. But to misrepresent an animal as a service dog ack!!!!!
 

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Quote: Uk, goldie people, who's stupider, the dogs or the people who own them.
Gosh - too bad this had to take this ugly turn. I have never been accused of being stupid. I won't even comment further on a remark having nothing to do with the original OP subject.

Was it a racist remake - no. Just bad taste.
 

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Quote:Uk, goldie people, who's stupider, the dogs or the people who own them.
Guess you will have to add me to the stupid list also. I at one time was blessed to own a wonderful Golden who I never thought of as stupid, but maybe I just didn't realize because of my own lack.
 

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Originally Posted By: ILGHAUSGuess you will have to add me to the stupid list also. I at one time was blessed to own a wonderful Golden who I never thought of as stupid, but maybe I just didn't realize because of my own lack.
It was probably because people with superior breeds weren't talking to you.
 

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I've met lots of *smart* goldens and their handlers (and trainers) in my service dog club. Many of these dogs would drive a car or build a house (and do it well) if someone would just hand them the keys and let them go to Home Depot.

They may not be as spunky (or verbal
) as the 3-4 GSDs in the club. But stupid? Not even.
 

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The experience you had is very sad actually...and NOT cool at all. If it were me, I most likely would have reported them (to somebody). Especially after having tried to educate them. I try not to judge and try to stay out of most things like this because I feel like in general, in life "what goes around, comes around" but then it's also important to know when to act on something (like the rude comment of a forum participant below).

It probably crosses the minds of many owners of dogs that are typically used in SAR, Service and Therapy to be deceiving in this regard. It's happened so often that I've lost count of how many times it has been suggested to me and my husband to throw a vest on them, so we can take them where otherwise they would not be welcomed. In reality, there are plenty of places they are welcome.

Their actions are a reflection of them, the human individuals ONLY, not the breed of dog. There are no typical Golden Retriever owners, just as there are no typical GSD owners. There are plenty of each, Golden & GSD owners, that I would cringe at and walk/run as fast as I can in the other direction.

Originally Posted By: SunCzarinaUk, goldie people, who's stupider, the dogs or the people who own them. Sorry, was that a racist remark?
THANK YOU, you're doing the breed a favor by not sharing your life with one.

Is it too much to ask that you actually "think" before you post? Your lack of knowledge is apparent and disrespect astounding.
 

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Quote:It probably crosses the minds of many owners of dogs that are typically used in SAR, Service and Therapy to be deceiving in this regard.
Yup. The other day, I was driving into a store behind a Toyota that had a window decal that I recognized: the Toyota's owner was a part of a certain Therapy Dog group. I know the founder and president of the therapy team well. She's sort of a friend. "Oh, look at that. How cool." I thought to myself.

I was running into the store (that has a "Service Animals Only" sign in the window) to check whether they had something in stock. If they did, I would send Dh back to get it. We had been to the pool. Camper was soaking wet and exhausted. He didn't look professional, and his brain would have been distractable. Without my dog, I would be in and out, maybe 20 seconds.

Sure enough, as I was coming out of the store, the Toyota woman was putting the therapy dog vest on her great dane ( the vest said Therapy Dog on it) and was strolling into the store.

I thought about saying something to her. I thought about saying something to the manager. I really thought about saying something to my friend who runs the Therapy Dog group that she belongs to.

But I didn't. Yes, she's completely abusing the system. But in order to belong to my friend's group, her dog has to be extremely well behaved. I know that she wouldn't make service dogs look bad. (My complaining to the store manager, on the other hand, might).

AND by belonging to this group, she is volunteering her time to make other people's lives better. In the big scheme of things, that's more important.

I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can kinda see where 3K9Mom is coming from. It is illegal and it is also wrong, but I guess she was saying she'd rather have them do it (with a dog that she knows is very well behaved and won't create a problem) than Joe and Jane Public with their entirely untrained pet dogs.

At least I think that's what she was saying?

But yeah ... still illegal. Still wrong.
 

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Chris I agree with you, its people like that, that ruin it for others that really need their dog with them. Its kind of like my dad using a handicapped sticked that was a forgerie and bitching when he got a 100.00 dollar ticket when he got caught. And then getting mad at me when I told him that he deserved what he got.
 

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I kept my original reply short and to the point because I tend to get very hot on the topic of fakers. And I did not want it to sound like I was jumping on the person with an honest question. I do respect the way it was presented as the poster's opinion but with the admission that it might not be the correct answer. It left an opening for a discussion.


I speak with, associate with, and try to assist people who have problems in part because of inconsiderate and lawbreaking dog owners. If in doubt, then just monitor new bills on various state levels and see just how "harmless" it is for people to sneak their pets into stores. Then read new proposals by the airline industry as a whole because they have had their fill of being lied to by the public.

It never fails to amaze me that someone posts about faking ie breaking the law on the Internet and then honestly believes that <u>the other side </u>doesn't see these posts. Some of the workers in stores do own computers -- some of the airline security and even flight crew do have the abiilty to read these same posts. And yes, they get ticked off reading about how "they are tricked". And yes, it does make their attitude toward people with a real Assistance Dog slightly jaded at times. What about the general populace who read how people buy vests or stuff their dogs into their purses and pretend they are Assistance Dogs? Don't these posters know that the next time such a shopper or restaurant patron sees a dog out in the public they are going to wonder if it is the real thing?

FL just recently almost lost the state backed right to owner-train Assistance Dogs in part because of people just dashing into the store with their pet for an item or insisting that Fu-Fu go with them out to eat. Along with that, we almost lost some of the ability to have Assistance Dogs In Training worked in public even by professional trainers that were not associated with (paid by or a documented volunteer of) a State approved Assistance Dog training facility.

Not doing any harm? Try explaining how harmless such little trips are to a PWD that was just refused enterance into a store or had to go to court (at their own expense and trauma) to fight for their rights because of some of the dog show people, the therapy dog people (who are breaking the rules set up by their own organizations), and the loving pet owners who think they are above the law. These relatively few in the general public do not realize the damage they can do to many people's lives because of this.

For those people who think their dog is above the law because it is well-groomed, has super manners, does a service for people, or just because it is their dog perhaps they should follow along with a SD team as they go shopping, go out to eat, attend public functions, go on different modes of public transportation, and then stop and rethink their positions.

For those who wonder if a dog that is used for a good purpose should have some slack -- until the law is changed to include these dogs then the answer is no. If this is how someone truely believes, then they need to go to their state legislature and get their state laws changed. They need to advocate for change on the Federal level. People with disabilities and their advocates have to do so all the time for the rights of Assistance Dog handlers.

Personally, I would love to see more well-mannered dogs allowed out and about but breaking the law is not the way to do so.
 

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I completely agree with TJ.

It was wrong. It was illegal. It was immoral. It was unethical. It was illegal.

Fakers make MY life harder. I've taken to carrying a letter from my doctor that says I need to use a service dog. I get tired of the looks, the raised eyebrows. I don't "look" like I have a disability. So sometimes, it's just easier to whip out the letter, even when I haven't been specifically asked, to show the hotel clerk or other business employee that yes, I am a PWD, and yes, he is my Service Dog.

TJ is right.

And I was miffed. I ranted to Dh about it. At quite some length too.


TJ is right.

I guess I just didn't feel like being the Service Dog Police that day.
 

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I am new to this forum. I signed up because I just had to agree with everyone who is angered as I am by people who just put a vest on their pet to gain public access. My son has a disability and a service dog. Life is hard enough without the actions of these illegal ADA joy riders making it more difficult.

Thanks to those of you who help to educate people. I too hope that at least the conscience of the two at Colonial Williamsburg was bothering them. If you run into them again, you can pass along an invitation from my family to join us for a day of outings so they can experience life with a disability and a true service dog for themselves.
 
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