Sunday, November 15, 2015

Update on the Issue with the Eye Care Place

About a week ago, I wrote about how I went for my biannual eye exam and was asked by two different employees why I have a service dog.

A couple days ago, I was able to go in and speak with the office manager (who happened to be one of the employees that asked me inappropriate questions about my service dog) a
bout my experience.  It turned out he knew why I wanted to speak to him and was already aware there had been a problem.  I think maybe the eye doctor told him how I'd pointed out to her that she was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by asking why I need a service dog. 

The office manager told me that he'd done some research after my visit and that he was aware that he asked the wrong question or phrased it the wrong way.  He was able to tell me what the two questions are that the staff is allowed to ask under the ADA.

He did try to tell me that they were only asking because they wanted to make sure they provided the best possible care for me.  I addressed that, pointing out that if there is concern one of the eye tests could trigger seizures, they should be asking all patients if they have a history of seizures, not just those with service dogs since many people with seizure disorders will not have service dogs.  He agreed.  He also mentioned diabetes and was aware that there are service dogs that help people with diabetes (usually type 1 diabetes) and he himself pointed out that most people with diabetes won't have a service dog so it is important that they ask all patients if they are diabetic.

He told me that they all thought Isaac had done really well, he'd been very well-behaved and was clearly well-trained, and he was welcome there any time.  He asked me some general questions about service dogs, like how long it takes to train them and things like that.  He told me I was their first patient to come in with a service dog and I said I understood that and that I know people usually do not mean to be intrusive or to offend and that I just wanted to be sure they understood both the law and how to deal with patients with service dogs in a sensitive and respectful manner.


  1. I am enjoying your blog and learning a lot about service dogs.

    At this time I am looking for a dog to train as a service dog for a friend who is wheelchair bound. Her current service dog is getting old and may not have much time left in this world.

    We have started looking for labs but she is concerned they may need more exercise than she can provide them. She has a fairly large fenced in backyard but she doesn't get out too often to walk her current dog. Her current dog is lazy and doesn't even want to be outside unless he absolutely has to go to the bathroom so that works for her.

    She plans on extending what her new service dog would do for her to include opening doors, retrieving anything from the floor for her, go with her to work as she teaches 3rd and 4th graders and possibly much more as we see the need arise such as turning on or off lights, etc.

    But, we are both wondering about the exercise a lab would need in comparison to her current dog.

    Do you think if a lab was used to the extent she plans on using it and had access to a large fenced in yard with the possibility of being walked only a couple days a week it could work out for her. I realize each lab has it's own personality also but in general what do you think? She does have a 12 year old brother who loves animals and sometimes tends to her current dog that may be a good answer to getting a new dog more exercise but I don't want to count on him doing so on a regular basis as he has his own life and interests to attend to also.

    Thank you for any information you can provide us.


    1. April, labs generally need a fair amount of exercise, especially when young. Can she do things like play fetch in the yard with her lab? If so, that could meet his need for exercise. If not, she might want to consider a different breed. What kind of dog does she have now? And where did she get that service dog from? Was it from a program?

  2. The dog she has now is a mutt that she pretty much trained herself plus it simply loves to fetch things for her which is what she mostly needs from it.

    I've looked around for other large breeds that can do what she needs but haven't run across one yet that takes less exercise than a lab. Can you suggest one?

    The exercise problem would not come up for a while as I am training it and will keep it exercised for a year or so. I could continue to help her but can't guarantee I'll be doing it through the life of the dog.

    She is unable to throw a ball far enough to really play fetch with it.

    If there is no other large dog that needs less exercise and meets her requirements I believe her brother would probably be the answer to getting the dog exercise if playing fetch for awhile each day would do the trick.


    1. What about a Golden retriever? Or standard poodle? Those are often used as service dogs but I think are a little less energetic than labs. German shepherds are often used as well, but I think they do require a good bit of exercise plus they can be more difficult to handle. I'd recommend against many of the breeds not traditionally used as service dogs because, while some dogs of those breeds do make good service dogs, they can be harder to train and more challenging to work with. So I think going with the more traditional breeds gives you a better chance of success.

      Can she throw a frisbee? Or use one of those Chuck-it toys that throw balls further?

      What about hiring a dog walker? I have a friend that is in the process of working with a trainer to train her lab as a service dog and she has a dog walker five days a week to ensure her dog gets enough exercise.

  3. Thank you for the suggestions.

    We'll discuss it and come up with a decision.

    You have been of great assistance to us.


    1. Glad I could help a bit. I'd love to hear what you decide on and how things work out.