This story began five or six years ago.
In the United States, the legislation regarding Service Animals is broken up among three executive departments: Housing and Urban Development (HUD); the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); and the Justice Department administers the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
None of those departments, to the best of my knowledge, require any official certification of a Service Animal. Each department has a slightly different definition of what a Service Animal is. It is a nightmare for the people who have to allow service animals into their establishment (how do you know the animal isn’t going to pee on that $5000 dress?) It is a nightmare for those of us who have acquired or taken the time to train an animal to behave properly in public, or a restaurant (those yappy chihuahuas give our dog a bad name.)
But wait, you say, you can purchase a service dog certificate online. Exactly! That certificate has as much weight as the ones I could print at home.
Having many friends and family in British Columbia, Canada, we travel there often. The opportunities for banger landscape shots are huge. So, we travel to Vancouver, the Island, and other parts of BC quite often. Not being able to treat Liddy as a Service Dog, as we do in the US, is a nuisance. It’s also expensive because of the extra hotel fees.
Now, I support the way BC has gone. They have passed legislation that allows anyone to train a dog as a service animal. In my case, she helps with my hearing loss. When you are ready, you will need a note from your doctor, think prescription, supporting your need for the service animal. Then you and your dog will have to pass an assessment. Oh, the assessment costs you $200 Canadian Loonies.
So, five or six years ago, Liddy and I failed our first assessment 😒. We went back to the dog trainer and doubled down. We won some awards. Some titles. It was time to try again.
April 2020, ready to head north and strut our stuff. Well, we know what happened to that year, and the next one…
It took a bit of fussing about, but we were able to get back into the queue. Yesterday we were in Vancouver and our assessor was very happy with our performance. There was one moment (the down your dog – walk away – wait moment) where Liddy almost blew it. I think she saw my body language and realized she was not on script. She responded to my hand signals from 20 feet away, pulling the show out of the sewer – what a girl 😊.
On our way out of the mall, our assessor said our card should arrive in the mail in about two weeks. The card is about the same size as a BC Driver’s License. So, we can expect Liddy’s license in the mail!
Definitely a time to celebrate!