"[M]iniature horses are mild-mannered, trainable and less threatening than large dogs. They’re naturally cautious and have exceptional vision, with eyes set far apart for nearly 360-degree range. Plus, they’re herd animals, so they instinctively synchronize their movements with others. But the biggest reason is age: miniature horses can live and work for more than 30 years."
And they seem pretty cool. So cool that maybe you're thinking you want one even though you are not blind. Service animals, they're not just for blind people.
I was thinking I'd like a nice big protective dog to walk with me everywhere, down to campus, into the buildings, into the classroom. What problem/disability would I need to get that privilege? Anxiety?
[A] growing number of people believe the world of service animals has gotten out of control: first it was guide dogs for the blind; now it’s monkeys for quadriplegia and agoraphobia, guide miniature horses, a goat for muscular dystrophy, a parrot for psychosis and any number of animals for anxiety, including cats, ferrets, pigs, at least one iguana and a duck.Oh, yeah! Anxiety!
They’re all showing up in stores and in restaurants, which is perfectly legal because the Americans With Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) requires that service animals be allowed wherever their owners want to go.Come on, psychiatrists! Just put Sense of Entitlement Syndrome in the DSM and help us all out.
I don't want to make this post too long. I'm into Twittery terseness today. But the article is long. I'll just flag 2 things:
1. Jim Eggers, a man whose parrot purportedly keeps him from "snapping": "'I have bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies,' he told me as he sucked down a green-apple smoothie. 'Homicidal feelings too.'" Now, I'm officially afraid of people who drink green-apple smoothies. I'm afraid of green apples. Hell, I'm afraid of people who use straws. Can I have a parrot in a restaurant now?
2. "Business owners and their employees often couldn’t distinguish the genuine from the bogus. To protect the disabled from intrusive questions about their medical histories, the A.D.A. makes it illegal to ask what disorder an animal helps with. You also can’t ask for proof that a person is disabled or a demonstration of an animal’s 'tasks.' There is no certification process for service animals (though there are Web sites where anyone can buy an official-looking card that says they have a certified service animal, no documentation required). The only questions businesses can ask are 'Is that a trained service animal?' and 'What task is it trained to do?'" Apparently, soothe me is the wrong answer.
This is a tough issue. Too many conflicting interests. You have the people who obviously need service animals with trained service animals like Seeing Eye dogs, people who are just completely abusively bringing animals everywhere, and everything in between. And you have business owners who want to be compassionate and who accept that they must follow the law, but who don't want to be played and who are afraid of losing customers and of being sued. And you have all the people who are annoyed, allergic, and afraid of all the animals other people are imposing on them.
I have no answer of my own for this, but gee, wasn't that little horsey cute? I can see why the NYT Magazine led off its article with the blind woman and her Panda!