Dogs in Stores

Greater acceptance or backlash—where are we on the curve?
By Lisa Wogan, September 2009

The title says it all, “Oregon Wants ‘Dog-Friendly’ to Be Less So.” The piece in today’s New York Times continues a conversation we’ve been having on the blog about service dogs and access. (See related links, below.) The focus here is dogs in Portland food stores. Not only was I surprised people were bringing their dogs into food markets, I was horrified by reports that dogs are doing their business in the aisles. No advocate for access can think that’s a good thing.

Then there’s the expanding debate over what constitutes a service dog—and from the sound of things, people are stretching the term so far as to threaten its true meaning. Passing out faux “service dog” cards or arguing that because your dog makes you feel better he’s a service dog only creates larger hurdles for individuals with true physical, mental and emotional challenges.