Therapy comes in many forms—some people shop, some people eat entire canisters of Pringles in one angsty sitting, and some people find it comforting to buy fake "therapy dog" tags to take their pet shopping at Whole Foods.
According to the Post, some people are taking advantage of lax rules on service dogs, buying tags on eBay and using them to smuggle their pets everywhere from dumpling houses to nightclubs to high-end grocery stores because they don't feel like tying them up outside.
“Sometimes, they’ll give me a hassle and say bring the papers next time, but for five bucks, you order [a patch] off eBay, and it works 90 percent of the time,” Brett David told the tabloid.
But toting your pint-sized pooch around has advantages other than convenience.
“I don’t care who you are, a teacup Yorkie will trump a black [American Express] card when you’re trying to pick up a girl,” he added. See? Therapy!
Somehow, owners of more legitimate service dogs are not thrilled by this hot new trend, since identifying some misbehaving, untrained mongrel as a "therapy dog" give the legitimate ones a bad rap.
“People don’t realize that if the dog misbehaves in any way—if it isn’t clean, barks or is overly friendly and jumps on people—that it aggravates other dogs and disrupts the way they do service, Toni Eames, the president of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, told the tabloid.
The use of service dogs has become more widely accepted, with owners using them to treat emotional issues like PTSD. Attempts by businesses to ban the animals have often been met with pricey lawsuits, meaning proprietors often choose not to meddle with owners claiming the dog entering Finale with its fur gelled just so is joining the party for medical reasons.
Estelle Stamm, the co-founder New York Area Assistance Dogs, explained that service dogs and therapy dogs are two different things. Service dogs, according to the Department of Justice, are "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability." Therapy dogs are pets that bring emotional support to those who need it—meaning the notion of a "therapy dog" tag is absurd.
"Anyone who knows anything would know that that means nothing," she said.
Stamm said fraudulently presenting a dog as a service dog, especially if that dog isn't properly trained, is a detriment to the entire disabled community that relies on animals for support. But dogs that are well-behaved should be allowed everywhere—tag or not.
"If somebody wants to commit fraud, it’s on them. Its unethical, but its on them," she said. "The public doesn’t need to be the service dog police."
"Any well behaved dog should be able to go anywhere. That is my opinion."
Next: Can we train the dogs to wait in line at Disneyland? Yes. Yes we can.