- Posted December 7, 2013 by
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
A Disabled Veteran and His Service Dog Are Refused Entry
Today, my husband, a honorably discharged disabled combat veteran, went to a new store to look around. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, and we recently acquired a service dog, "Ichiban," that my husband has been training. Little "Ichi" helps my husband combat anxiety and other issues associated with PTSD. Without Ichi, my husband's PTSD and anxiety would prevent him from enjoying a normal life.
We've taken Ichi to many places, the VA hospital, restaurants, grocery stores, the mall, etc., and we've never had an issue. Until today.
When we walked into the business, the guy behind the front counter said, "You can't have that dog in here."
My husband replied, "Oh, he's a service dog," as he pointed to Ichi's tag that identifies him as a service dog in training.
The man replied, "I don't care! The last service dog that was in in here [expletive] on my floor. You'll have to take him outside."
So we left.
But that's not where this story ends.
Many soldiers come home with visible wounds. Most soldiers come home with invisible wounds like PTSD and anxiety disorders. Would a business owner ask an amputee to leave his prosthesis outside? Of course not. So why is it deemed acceptable to ask a man with PTSD to leave his service dog--his source of comfort and healing--outside?
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects my husband from discrimination, but not every business or organization honors that Act. Clearly, the business in question tonight believed the Act was negotiable.
My husband's service to his country and subsequent battle scars are not negotiable. Today, we didn't argue and we didn't cause a scene. But I refuse to stay silent and let discrimination against people with disabilities flourish. PTSD is real. Support from service dogs is real. It's time every business respect that.