Service animal is a dog (or miniature horse in certain circumstances) individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Some examples may include assisting students with low vision, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving items such as the telephone, or recognizing and assisting during seizures.
Service animals are welcome in all buildings on campus and may attend any class, meeting, or other event. The University may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions, where service animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research due to the presence of chemicals and/or organisms. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Faculty should contact the DS office with any questions or concerns regarding service animals in their class environments.
Service Dog Etiquette
What should I do when I see a Service Dog? What is proper Service Dog etiquette?
- Smile and be polite to the Service Dog’s handler, but most of all:
- Do not pet the Service Dog
- Do not distract the Service Dog in any way
- Please ignore the Service Dog entirely. You’re not being rude if you don’t acknowledge the Service Dog’s presence.
Service Dog etiquette says when Service Dog has a vest on or is in public with its disabled handler (or trainer), it is working, even if it appears as though it is not. Distracting a Service Dog by making noises, offering food, water, toys or petting may be dangerous to the dog’s disabled handler, especially if the dog is a medical alert dog or brace/mobility support dog. Many handlers have “invisible disabilities,” such as diabetes, hearing loss or other symptoms not readily apparent and if a Service Dog is paying attention to someone who’s distracting her, she’s not doing her job for her handler.
If you would like to pet the Service Dog, ALWAYS ask the handler first, but don’t be offended if they refuse. Some disabled Service Dog handlers don’t like to chat about their Service Dogs. Most like to go about their day, just like you! Also, never ask personal questions about the handler’s disability or intrude on their privacy. Keep these simple Service Dog etiquette tips in mind, and you’ll have a far smoother experience when you see a Service Dog in public.