I would like to offer a solution to Pam Brookshire's struggle to keep her beloved dog Karis and remain at Glen Agnes [story Jan. 22].
It is true that in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between a professionally trained service dog and a dog trained by its disabled owner. However, the operative word is training.
Every guide, hearing and service dog, regardless of the disability-related tasks performed, must exhibit exemplary behavior in public settings. All assistance dogs, when outside the home, should be on leash and under the control of their disabled handlers. Some dogs are loving pets, but are nervous and anxious when confronted by strangers and other dogs.
Ms. Brookshire should have Karis evaluated by a trainer to see if the dog is ready to assume the role of service dog. If found suitable, Karis can receive the necessary training to be granted working dog status and allow Ms. Brookshire to remain in her home.
The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, www.iaadp.org, fosters training standards on its Web site.
International Association of Assistance Dog Partners