Saturday, August 18, 2012
Service Dogs need to be allowed in churches
It was my hope to attend the open house of the new Brigham City Temple; however, because I rely on a service dog I’m barred from the event. If this were an isolated incident, I would probably let it slide. I’m sad to say that it is not. When I first moved to Ogden last year, I wanted to attend Sacrament Meeting at my ward, but the bishop told me I could not bring my dog to the church because she would be "disruptive to the children." It is not my responsibility to control the behavior of other people’s children. If they are unable to control their kids, take them out of the chapel.
In both of the incidents, "alternatives" were offered which included use of a wheelchair. What people do not realize is that people who employ service animals rely on them not only for assistance, they also provide us with autonomy which would otherwise be missing in our lives. While well intentioned, the "offer" of denying us this autonomy is condescending and insulting to our dignity. Not only this, but there are some services which a human simply is unable to perform such as alerting an epileptic of a coming seizure. These animals are trained to be our constant companions over many years; in the case of, me and my dog, we’ve been together since she was two months old, 13 years ago.