GUIDE DOG TALES VOL. 15
By Carolyn Dale Newell
“That is a service dog.” exclaimed the woman in Walmart referring to Iva. Her friend quickly told her that the little dog in the cart was a service dog too. I could not help but overhear their conversation as I waited. Service dogs perform a variety of jobs. Many war veterans have dogs for PTSD. Some dogs bark to warn their master of an oncoming seizure. Others indicate a surge in blood sugar. There are emotional support dogs, but their necessity is often questionable.
This particular lady adopted her furry friend from the SPCA. Another fake service dog! When did the SPCA begin training service animals?
The fake ones are easy to identify. They pull on their leashes, and they bark. A genuine service dog rarely barks while working. Phonies don’t wow people with perfect behavior.
Anyone can go online and order a vest with “Do not pet” printed on it. Official looking documents can be purchased to prove a dog performs some type of task. Actually, the ADA law requires no type of identification or paperwork for genuine working dogs.
What is the harm in fake service dogs? If a phony misbehaves in a place of business, they create problems for people like me when I come in with Iva. The bad ruin it for the good. Fake service animals can act aggressive toward our well-trained dogs causing a distraction, putting our safety in danger.
Local businesses notice Iva’s almost perfect behavior and cleanliness. The difference between the counterfeit and the true guide dog is obvious. This may help them pick out the pet posing as a trained service animal.
Something worse than a fake service dog is a false religion. The United States was founded on freedom of religion, but not all religions are real. Christianity offers something the false religions cannot, Jesus Christ our living Savior. No other religion has a living God. Jesus has risen and is no longer in the tomb. That is not the case for Buddha or any other false deity.
Christians can even create false gods. Scripture warns believers about idolatry. An idol can be anything that takes God’s place. Idols are no longer made of wood and stone, but Followers of Christ unknowingly make gods out of money, careers, clothes, houses, hobbies, and even children. Whatever invites us to forsake the Lord can become a god. Even ministry can become an idol.
What comes first in your life? That is your god, and if it is not Jesus, you must make some changes. God is faithful and just to forgive (1 John 1:9).
The world is full of counterfeits. Things of value can never be copied. A vest and a piece of paper does not turn Fido into a service dog. A false religion cannot offer eternal life, and an idol must never take the place of the one true God.
Awareness awakes us. Begin educating people about fake service dogs, false religions, and idols. Knowledge is key. Unlock the door.
For the next three days, observe the people you come in contact with. Which ones can be educated about service dogs? Which ones can you share Jesus with?