Following a situation faced by one of its residents and concerned about their quality of life and inclusion, the Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro is launching an awareness campaign today to remind merchants and the public that service dogs are essential to their owners and must stay with them at all times, wherever they go.
“This week, we will be visiting businesses to inform them about our campaign. This will be a great opportunity to remind everyone of their responsibilities towards all types of customers. We hope this campaign will help merchants and the public to more quickly recognize service dogs and their contributions to their owners,” stated Borough Mayor Dimitrios Beis. “It’s important to note that people using service dogs are disabled, even though their disability is not always visible,” he added.
What is a service dog?
The purpose of a service dog is to help people with a motor, psychiatric, mental, psychological or sensory disability. It is trained to meet the various needs of its owner and thereby provide support and autonomy.
For example, the Asista Foundation, a partner in this campaign, offers service dogs to people with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe generalized anxiety or autism. Each dog receives basic training, followed by specialized training according to its owner’s needs.
How to behave with service dogs
It is important to remember that since a service dog must strictly focus on its master’s needs, other people in the presence of such a dog should not attempt to attract the dog’s attention, not try to stroke them without their owner’s permission nor offer them food. Moreover, their workspace and role must be respected.
How are these dogs identified?
Service dogs are easy to recognize because they are visually identified with a jacket or harness bearing the logo of the organization that trained and provided them. In addition, users have in their possession an official letter confirming the use of a service dog. And lastly, like for all dogs in the borough, a permit must be issued by the city. In this regard, the Borough would like to mention as a reminder that the permit for service dogs is free of charge.
“Our initiative today is to encourage merchants and residents to be aware of this reality and to ensure that they act appropriately in the presence of service dogs,” explained Mayor Beis. “These dogs are changing the lives of their owners and we are very happy to contribute to this awareness that will improve our residents’ quality of life!” he added.