Human’s best friend is capable of far more than providing simple companionship. Due to their heightened senses and a disposition for training, dogs can change lives for many types of people. In particular, the lives of people with disabilities have seen significant improvements thanks to the work of service dogs. From aiding the blind in walking to assisting the person with epilepsy with seizure prevention, service dogs save lives.
Registering your animal as a service dog may seem like a daunting task, but it is a quick and seamless process.
Firstly, it is essential to clarify that your dog is, in fact, a service animal. Although in some ways similar, many often confuse service and emotional support dogs.
Service dogs complete specific functions for their owner. An example of this is a seeing-eye dog. This animal has specialized training in a skill that directly aids its owner. This type of dog differs from an emotional support dog who has not trained to accomplish specific tasks. An emotional support animal provides comfort and mental ease to their owner.
Although quite subtle, these distinctions are essential to define. For example, a 2010 American with Disability (ADA) ruling declared all service dogs could be in public areas to assist their owners. This ruling did not extend to emotional support dogs.
After determining which category your dog falls under, you can begin the process of registering your animal. Today, you can complete the process entirely online by filling out a straightforward form. Let’s take a look at the steps we can take to get the process started and how you can benefit from registering your animal as a service dog.
How to Tell the Site I Am Visiting Isn’t a Scam
Unfortunately, scamming is a harsh reality online that one must take seriously. Scamming is especially problematic when registering your animal. It is essential to screen any website you use. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to ensure that the site you are using is authentic and is not a scam.
Before we start, it is crucial to understand the facts surrounding a registered animal. First and foremost, the government is entirely uninvolved in this process. There is no governmental agency or body that hands out ruling on who qualifies as a service animal.
Accordingly, any site claiming some connection to the government should immediately raise red flags. Like any other scam, scammers hope to take advantage of those who don’t have access to this information. Thankfully, staying educated and up to date on the facts can protect from scam sites.
You should also be wary of any website or company that claims to have any authority in registering your dog. In the process of certification, no single person can deem your animal a service animal or not. A site should explicitly state that registering an animal does not automatically make it into a service dog. ServiceDogRegistration.org, for example, clearly states that it is not an organization that is associated with the government and that simply registering one’s dog doesn’t make it a valid service dog. Rather, registration allows one to keep up with legal changes, announcements, and product info in real time.
A common tactic used by scammers is to pose as a company that can offer certification. We must try our best to avoid these types of scams. One way to help yourself is to ask: How could somebody who has never met my animal pass judgment?
Sadly, scammers prey on those with limited knowledge, so you must stay alert and informed.
What Is the Process Like?
The process of registering your dog is quick and hassle-free. Firstly, you can register from the comfort of your home. Secondly, the process is free. There is an easy-to-fill-out form available online that gathers the necessary information on you and your dog.
The best way to get started is to jump right in and begin filling out the document. If you require assistance, there is a support function where you can submit questions and concerns.
You do not need to give out any financial information.
Is it a Legal Requirement for Me to Register My Dog?
Surprisingly to some, it is not a legal requirement to register your dog as a service animal. All that is required is to have your service dog trained by a professional to complete a specific task. This lack of requirement is not to say that registration is a fruitless endeavor. Once you have registered your dog, you have access to a whole new community, as well as a wealth of information.
As the owner of a service animal, it is vital to stay connected to the online community. The rules and regulations regarding service dogs are always in constant flux, and the easiest way to stay connected is through this online community. The info provided can even save you money, keeping you up to date on changing tax codes regarding service animals.
Furthermore, once registered, you will have access to many essential items. Perhaps the most critical item is your personalized identification card. This card can help you in any emergency. The number on your I.D. card will have registration in the online database, allowing others to reach out through the provided number on your card.
There are accessories for this identification card as well as other essential safety items available to you and your dog once registered.
The information and support available to you after registration can drastically improve your life. You will receive updates on matters such as your legal rights as a service dog owner. Many businesses prey on people’s ignorance on the topic, so it is crucial you stay educated and up to date.
Ultimately, there is no reason to put off registering your animal. After you have determined that your dog is either an emotional service or a service dog, and you have checked to make sure the website you are using is following the rules, you are good to go. The benefits can be immediate. The process is quick, free, and can bring a great aid to your everyday life.
The peace of mind that comes from joining a community is priceless. Especially for those of us living with a disability, a network of support can make a world of difference. This community is perhaps the most significant aspect of registering your animal as a service dog.