Service Animals Community Awareness

Imagine a day like any other.

You wake up. You get dressed for a day on the town. You get to breakfast and start to feel odd. The last thing you remember you felt light-headed and now realize time has passed but you do not remember anything. You're confused and in a daze. Everything feels odd and your heart races as you are told you had a seizure.

Now imagine having someone to help you through such seizures, always there to keep you safe. That is my service dog Leia, a seizure alert dog that can warn me that a seizure is coming and keep me safe when it happens.

So hello my fellow Loveland neighbors. I am here to inform and strengthen our town in regards to service animals. My service dog makes my life not only easier but safer she alerts me for a seizure and can also alert others up to an hour before it happens. This can give me time to sit down and call for help. She also can brace me after a seizure and perform mobility tasks. I hope with some easy facts we as a town can work together towards better equality. Here are 5 key things to remember when you encounter someone with a service dog. 

1. No Petting
I know this may sound unfriendly, but as someone who has a alert dog, petting can cause distraction, and if my dog is distracted during the time were she can alert, she may not be able to help me. She loves people, but knows her job.

2. Understand service animal and ADA  law
There is no paperwork required for a service animal. Most people will have a doctor's note, but that is private information.

3. Determining service animal legitimacy
How can you as a business determine if a service dog is legitimate In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal. Staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?  (2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff is not legally allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability

4. Understand the differences between emotional support, therapy, comfort or companion animals.
The term emotional support animal describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

5. Be kind
I know it can feel odd to eat in a restaurant with a dog, but imagine a world were that person is no longer safe, or alive, because they do not have a service dog. Service dogs in our community do many things, work very hard for their handlers and in many cases save lives.

As a woman who has grown up in our wonderful community I know we can work together to show loveland is full of love by understanding and respecting the role of service animals. 


About the Author

Hello, all you amazing people! I'm Savanah Overturf, but I go by Savy. I am 25, and a sophomore in college. I like meeting new people. I want to one day be famous at doing inspirational speeches. I do a lot now. I am disabled, and have autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia and tourettes syndrome. But that is just part of who I am. I want to use my writing, and my words to change society for the better. I also love horses, and hope to have one of my own someday. I also love writing and write slam poetry. It makes me feel more connected. I have a service dog named Leia, yes like Star Wars Princess Leia. I am a big fan of syfy. I am also Colorado Miss Amazing 2017, and a USA Miss Amazing Ambassador. This is a pageant for women and young girls with disabilities. It has helped give me the strength to write for you today. LIVE LONG AND PROSPER.


02 Mar 2019

By Savy Overturf