How would you describe your ‘best day ever’? One service dog got a day off from his work assisting with the recovery of one special little girl. Thanks to BarkPost, and his tremendous support to his human, a Great Dane got to experience his very own “Best Day Ever.” Get the tissues handy, because this story is so beautiful it may bring a tear to your eye.
To understand the impact George the Great Dane had on his human, Bella, you need only to hear from Bella’s mom. Rachel Burton told BarkPost,
“He has changed the life of my daughter.”
Bella Burton is a precocious and tough, young woman. She suffers from a rare disorder called Morquio Syndrome. Because of the genetic disorder, Bella spent her young life using crutches or a wheelchair to get around. That all changed when she met George.
Bella and her mother volunteered at Service Dog Project. The Massachusetts-based organization, trains Great Danes to be service dogs. After volunteering for a year, Bella found her match with George.
Megan Kokaras, a trainer at Service Dog Project, said they instantly connected. One day Bella climbed up and sat next to George. The pup put his head in her lap and looked at her lovingly. The rest was history.
Once they matched, George was trained to help Bella become more mobile. Bella told BarkPost, “The first time I walked with George it was amazing. I hadn’t walked in so long and now I get to do it again.”
Now, George supports Bella while she walks. He acts as a crutch and steady physical support. For all his hard work, Bella believed her dog deserved a day off. Maybe she could fit him with a saddle. We love to see those photos.
“George works extremely hard,” she said. “He made me more independent than I ever could be.”
George truly had a spectacular day. First, he, Bella, and Bella’s mom went to the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel in Boston. George received a hero’s welcome. Hotel employees cheered and applauded as they arrived.
Because George is typically on the job, he does not get to indulge in human food. His best day was different. George and his family visited Wahlburgers where George ate an entire tray of burgers. Yum! He also visited a treat store where he collected more goodies.
Next, Bella and George did one of their favorite activities: sledding. They played in the snow and George even wore a smart blue coat.
After all the excitement, they went back to the hotel where George received tons of toys and a massive bed in their very own suite.
For all his hard work, George truly deserves such a wonderful day. Watch the touching video below!
George the Great Dane Service Dog | DOG's BEST DAY - YouTube
This story is truly heartbreaking. It starts with the loss of a beloved pup and it only gets worse from there. We wish we knew the person behind this story so we could send our condolences. This one will make your heart cry out to help.
Loss on Top of Loss
Saoirse Morgan found the anonymous note while walking along the streets of Toronto, Canada. She spotted a harrowing letter taped to a lamp post. The message caught her attention so much so that she had to do something about it. Saoirse took a photo and posted it to her Facebook account (note: the post has since been removed).
Saoirse’s image quickly went viral probably because the picture evokes so many emotions. It was a message from a person to a robber who stole some of their personal belongings, including a memory card with pictures of their dog’s last day alive. The note said:
“Keep the cash, and my DSLR, and whatever else you took. But if you have the memory card from the camera, please, it has photos of my dog’s last day alive on it. I cannot replace those photos. Please throw it onto the porch or put it in the mail slot. Please. She died a few days ago. I cannot lose those photos as well.”
The writer supplied their address for the person to return the memory card.
As if getting robbed was not a violation enough. This just adds insult to injury. We cannot imagine the anguish the person went through after losing their beloved dog and then their final pictures.
Saoirse’s Facebook post resonated with people all over the world. At one time it had more than 49,000 shares and 33,000 reactions (meaning: likes, hearts, etc.) The post received many comments from people hoping the robber would see the note, and show enough humanity to return the memory card.
One person commented, “That’s so sad 🙁 I hope the person who did that has some compassion and returns the stuff they took.”
Another person said, “I am really hoping for a happy ending update here!”
We agree with those commenters! This person deserves to have their photos back. We sincerely hope they are reunited with the images of their dog.
Anyone in the position of caring for a dying dog wants to understand the process as best as possible. Knowing what to expect provides some comfort in an otherwise completely disorienting and uncomfortable time. When it comes time to make decisions about your dog’s end of life, knowledge is power.
It’s important to understand that dying is a highly individualized experience. No two beings, human or canine, will experience it in a completely predictable way. Also, death is a process that begins days, weeks, or even months before a being actually leaves this world. There are some commonalities experienced by most dogs who are at or near the end of this process due to age or advanced disease. Knowing what the typical dying process looks like can help us make confident, educated decisions about end of life care.
#1 – Refusing Food or Water
Towards the end of life, it’s perfectly normal for your dog to refuse food. You may notice a gradual tapering of the appetite or your dog may eat one day and refuse to eat all together the next. When the body is dying, the systems are powering down in a logically organized manner. Food digestion is one of the first to go. The organs involved in breaking down and using food are slowing down as the body recognizes that food and water are no longer necessary.
#2 – Complete Lack of Interest
Leading up to the time of passing, your dog will lose interest in things that are normally her favorite activities. Walks, treats, and even time on the couch will not peak her interest. This is a difficult milestone for many pup parents because the dog just doesn’t act like herself. This once vibrant and loving being seems to barely acknowledge your existence, which can be very painful and confusing for those who know the dog best. Just try to understand that this is normal and not a reflection of you or her relationship with you. She is just progressing through this natural process.
#3 – Long Periods of Lethargy
As you dog moves through the dying process, he will become progressively lethargic. In the beginning, he may take more frequent naps than usual or tire easily. Over time these lethargic periods will increase in duration and frequency. You may also notice that your dog may choose to lay down in a spot that is not his “usual” place. If he often took his naps in the living room, with his humans in close proximity, he may opt for a quieter, calm space as the body winds down.
#4 – Refusal of Water
Usually some time after your dog begins refusing or limiting food intake, she will begin to refuse water. There are many possible reasons for this, including difficulty swallowing. This is a natural progression in the dying process and thus, you should not feel compelled to force liquids. Many people think their loved one has to drink and that is true for those of us maintaining life. Try to remember that your primary concern is keeping your dog comfortable and at peace. Forcing water through a dropper into her mouth or providing IV fluids at the vet would not meet that goal. Understand that refusing water is all part of the normal, natural process, not something that needs to be fixed.
#5 – Gum Color Changes
As your dog’s body begins to pass on, it will instinctively protect the systems most important in keeping the body alive. Blood flow, oxygen, and energy will be diverted to the heart and lungs to keep them functioning and other parts of the body, like limbs and the mouth, will be deprived of oxygen. You can see this change physically when examining your dog’s gums. Instead of their usual pink color, they will look dull gray, white, or even blue. This is completely normal and indicates the body is diverting energy in the predictable life preserving way.
#6 – Restlessness
Restlessness is a common sign that the body is preparing to pass on. It presents as an inability to settle down and the appearance of being uncomfortable. She may pace around or spin in circles during this state. This stage is sometimes thought of as a conflict between the mind and the body, one being ready to go, but the other clinging to life or not accepting what is happening. When a dog succumbs to sleep during this stage, it is often wrought with active dreams. Humans are thought to be working through unfinished business during these heightened dream states and perhaps our puppy friends are doing the same.
#7 – Incontinence
Anyone who has had the fortune to have a dog grow old with them knows that the ability to control the bladder and bowel movements is decreased with age. This leads to more frequent accidents in the house. Although a pain to deal with, these are not imminent signs that a dog is near death. However, at some point during the dying process a dog will often become completely incontinent. In this state a dog will sometimes relieve herself while unconscious and have no awareness of it at all. It’s important to keep your dog dry and clean with each such occurrence.
#8 – Changes in Breathing
As the body slowly shuts down, it is common to observe changes in the breathing patterns. This can begin weeks or days before the dog dies. Breathing may be labored and shallow or light and irregular with long pauses between breaths. Do not be surprised if your dog stops breathing for a long time and then suddenly takes in another breath. This is very common and natural. It is believed that this change in breathing presents no discomfort to the dying. People often report the dying having a last, long, sometimes audible breath just before passing away. It doesn’t happen with everyone but is something to be aware of in case you experience this with your loved one.
Keeping your dog comfortable and showing your love are the most important things to do as you help your loved on pass over. There is no doubt that your presence will serve you and your dog well during this special time. Saying goodbye is never easy but sharing the passage from life to death with someone you love can be a beautiful experience, for which you will always be grateful.
The pain of losing a beloved pup is unbearable. The grief impacts everyone differently, often sending them for solace in many places. One man wanted to help his grieving girlfriend get a few moments of respite from the pain. The results were epic.
A man’s girlfriend suffered from the painful loss of her ten-year-old Beagle named B.B that sadly passed away due to a heart tumor. Devastation plagued her. The man wanted to ease her suffering in any way he could, so he came up with what he hoped would be a brilliant idea. Although he knew he could never replace B.B., he decided to get his girlfriend a pug puppy.
You can probably imagine her reaction. The woman’s boyfriend placed the pug puppy in a box and left it next to the entrance to their home. His girlfriend walked through the door and stared at the puppy in shock. She instantly burst into tears.
We imagine it was a mixture of emotions – happiness to be met with a new pup and sadness, remembering the sweet pup she had lost.
“Where did you find it?” She sobbed. She swept the puppy into her arms and held him close to her chest.
“Were you surprised?” Her boyfriend asked excitedly. He sounded thrilled with the results of his gesture.
The man’s girlfriend was unable to respond with words. Overcome with emotion, she could only wail in appreciation for her new tiny companion. Although she must have been heartbroken at her loss, we can imagine the puppy brought her a sense of immense joy.
After the woman regained her composure, the couple decided to name their new family member, Ernie.
We love this story – although nothing could ever replace her lost love, the thoughtfulness and true love shared is so touching. This video has nearly eight million views. So grab a tissue and prepare to witness her beautiful reaction below.
Over the years a number of notable men have donned the iconic cowl and cape of the legendary dark hero, Batman. Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and many others have made their mark and given us their own take on the caped crusader. Even Batdad has carved a place in our hearts. But not a single one has been as truly heroic as the Batman we’ve come to love the most – the one who fights for pups!
Batman and Ollie looking towards his bright new future! #Adopted #ForeverHome #RescuePup #Batman #Onward #AdoptDontShop #Transporter
Chris Van Dorn is the hero we need right now! As a natural-born animal lover growing up in a home full of pets, Chris always had a big heart for our four-legged friends. He tells iHeartDogs,
“I have to say ever since I can remember I’ve always had an affinity for animals and nature. I would watch Discovery channel, National Geographic, and had a subscription to Zoobooks as a kid.
“I think the three main things that swung me into rescuing animals though would be becoming Vegan at 21 after my neighbor showed me a bunch of animal rights documentaries, my rescue dog Mr. Boots who was a rescue through an awesome organization called Pilots and Paws, and wanting to use my own piloting skills to save animals like how Mr. Boots was rescued.”
His organization, Batman 4 Paws got off the ground in September 2018. Inspiration struck when his dad adopted Mr. Boots, an Australian Shepherd, with the help of an animal transport rescue. Chris, who was on his way to earning his own private pilot’s license was fascinated with the thought of helping animals too, by transporting them out of high-risk shelters and into the safety of no-kill facilities.
And now, he’s Batman. Accompanied by his own pup-wonder, Mr. Boots, he liberates cats and dogs from their kennels and takes them to safety. And he does it all in full, Bat-suited glory. In Florida. Even in the summer.
Good news everybody! Balto has made it safely to his Forever Home in South Carolina! #LookAtMeNow #FureverHome #Adopted #Batman #Doggo #Rescue #Transport #StartedFromTheBottom #PaidInLicks
“There are definitely moments where I wish it were cooler and that I feel I might of picked the wrong state to wear a Batman costume in being in Orlando, Florida. But the feeling I get when delivering a dog to its forever home and seeing the faces of the owners when Batman is there to deliver their new family member far outweighs any discomfort I have to go through, in my book.”
The suit is definitely eye-catching, but it was never just some gimmick – it serves a great purpose!
“I decided on the idea of doing animal rescue as Batman while in the shower oddly enough. I remembered seeing a guy named Lenny Robinson who had a video go viral of him getting pulled over while dressed as Batman while he was on his way to volunteer at the children’s hospital. After seeing that video I always told myself if I ever made a million dollars I would want to do something like that to give back and make the world a better place. And while I didn’t make a million dollars I had enough to get a Batman suit and apply it to shine a light on animals in need.
“I originally had the idea to create a rescue called Animals and Aviators where I would have a team of rescue pilots flying animals around but I didn’t (and still don’t) know enough pilots to make that happen yet. Hopefully once I get my commercial Pilots license that idea can become a reality too. But the Batman idea basically struck me while thinking of a way to start an animal rescue by myself that would stand for doing the right thing, safety, and a way to network with rescuers to draw attention to animals in need.
“In addition, the suit allows for an instant connection for people to want to reach out and find out what Batman is doing which gives me an opportunity to educate them on the importance of adopting pets from their local shelter and not supporting puppy stores which helps create demand for puppy mills that mass produce puppies to sell to consumers.”
Batman and his sidekick Robin enjoyed hanging with the awesome ASPCA team out at Central Florida Earthday! You all Rock!#EarthDay #AdoptDontShop #TillEveryCageIsEmpty #ASPCA #AnimalRescue #Batman #Robin
Where there is a dog waiting for someone to love him, he’ll be there. Where cats cry out in the night hoping for a home, he’ll be there. Where euthanasia rates are about to rocket, he’ll be there. When it seems hopeless, when time is running out, when shelter staff cry out for a hero – he’ll be there.
“Til every cage is empty.
“I will do everything in my power to help be a voice for the voiceless and get every dog cat, or animal in need to a safe loving environment.”
So far, Batman and Mr.Boots, who is now about 8 years old, have rescued numerous pets from death. Chris can’t be Batman 24/7, but neither could Bruce Wayne. He still works his day job, but hopes that some day he can save lives as a career.
“As of now I’ve saved over 20 cats and dogs. Still waiting for my first rescue pig transport request, farm animals need a caped crusader to transport them too.
“I’m still working 30 hours a week at my day job as an audio engineer and have to do a balancing act of taking off work some days to make transports happen, but have been able to fit more and more rescues into my schedule. When I first started my goal was to do just one rescue a month, but here I am in June and have already done 3 rescues within the last 3 weeks. So things are definitely picking up and I hope to do rescue full time eventually.”
Like other rescues, Batman’s most persistent nemeses have been funding and space. Batman 4 Paws relies on donations to get pets to safety. He prefers to fly, and rents a plane when he can, but most of his rescues are done on the ground. Space in his Batmobile is pretty limited, and though it gets pets from point A to point B, it can’t handle the big jobs. He hopes to be able to get into a bigger vehicle someday, so that he can transport more pets on the ground than he can now.
Batman4Paws spotted at the Knights for Animal Rights event where Lotsa Love Pet Rescue & Adoptions got 9 Fur Friends…
“I hope future plans include a donated van so I can transport more animals. (Give me a shout on www.Batman4Paws.org if you’d like to help Batman out.) My capacity now is 4 animals at a time and it’s a tight fit in a 2-door Honda Accord.
“In the future I would also like to enlist the help of volunteers to do transports while dressed as superheroes. So basically, there would be a nonprofit of superheroes that rescue animals. I think that would help draw a lot of attention to the cause and it wouldn’t just be focused on Batman.”
Batman may work alone, but Chris encourages everyone to be a superhero whatever way they can.
So many cages, so little time. #AdoptaDog #ClocksTicking #AdoptDontShop
“I always say the number one thing someone can do is adopt a shelter or rescue pet and give him or her a loving home. If that’s not on the table then try and join a foster program to give the pets temporary asylum. If you can’t do that then volunteer your time at a local shelter, and if you don’t have the time then try and donate to the cause. If anyone would like to get involved in animal transport they should look into Doobert.com and if they’re pilots wanting to help, PilotsnPaws.org.”
Local Batman rescues cats and dogs - YouTube
Learn more about Chris and his mission at Batman4Paws.org and follow him on Facebook to see lots of pictures of his lucky transports on their freedom rides!
You can be a part of his work by donating to his cause at GoFundMe.com!
Breaking up is hard to do. Couples must agree on who gets what, often leading to disputes over anything from furniture to dishes. Things get far more complicated in custody cases, where couples must agree or let a judge decide how living beings will split their time between parents. The laws governing this process as it relates to human beings is quite clear but things get a bit murky when fur babies enter the equation.
Jessica Sardina of Bangor, Maine sought to clear this up in her fight for custody of a beloved adopted dog named Honey. She and her former boyfriend, Kelvin Liriano, were sharing a life together under the same roof, that included Honey, an adorable Boxer-Lab mix. Despite the fact that the dog was officially adopted by Liriano, Sardina was Honey’s mama and the pair were apparently tightly bonded.
All 50 states consider animals to be property and they are treated as such in cases involving divorce. Custody agreements are reserved for human offspring with the exception of the states of California, Alaska, and Illinois. Marriages being dissolved in those states are subject to special rules governing the custody of pets. Sardina and her lawyer felt that it was high time that pets fall under custody rules, not those governing property. They continued fighting her case all the way to the Supreme Court of Maine.
Gene Sullivan, Sardina’s attorney said, ““Hey, this is not a toaster. This is not a blender. This is a living, breathing animal that these parties, especially my client, grew an attachment to.”
A lower court ruled in favor of Liriano based on the fact that his signature appeared on Honey’s adoption paperwork. He was deemed the sole “owner” of Honey and thus, should be allowed to maintain ownership. In their appeal to the higher court, Sullivan argued for Sardina that this view of an animal as property to be owned is antiquated.
Further, Sardina claimed that she did the majority of the care taking and had a closer bond to Honey than the “owner” did. She claimed that Liriano did not have the proper funds or time to properly care for Honey and that he is an unfit pet parent.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maine, Leigh Saufley, admitted that the case tugs at the heartstrings and anyone would feel bad for a person who has to lose their beloved pet in a break up. However, she questioned whether deciding on the case was a good use of the court’s time and resources, particularly in a case involving a couple that was not married.
Ultimately, Honey was deemed to be the “property” of Liriano and Sardina’s battle was lost. In her Instagram feed, Sardina has shared numerous videos and photos of her and Honey together that demonstrate how much love was alive between them. Not a peep is to be found from Liriano in defense of himself or his right to maintain custody of Honey, but let’s hope he is making a happy, loving home for her today and forever more.
What is your take? Should Honey be viewed as “property” or treated more like human children are treated in these cases? Does it matter that the couple wasn’t married? Share your thoughts with the iHD community!
Taking care of dogs is a large responsibility. Having more than one increases the work. Anyone with a dog at home knows this to be true. When keeping a dog becomes overwhelming, the best thing to do is find your pup a safe place to live. One Florida woman had too many animals. Instead of caring for them, she simply let them go. Abandoned them. Well, more like “dumped” them. Awful!
A Reckless Choice
In early June, a woman brought ten cats and a senior dog to a shelter in Ruskin, Florida. The woman brought the animals to the C.A.R.E. Animal Shelter (Critter Adoption & Rescue Effort, Inc.) shelter. Unfortunately, they did not have space for all of her charges. They turned the woman away.
And then, the woman committed a crime. She did not try to find another home for the animals. Despite a literal warning sign on the C.A.R.E. Inc., fence explaining that dumping animals is against the law, the woman dropped all eleven cats and dog on the side of the road.
A Search Begins
Unfortunately, no one knew the woman’s name. She drove off without care for the animals’ future. Luckily, video cameras captured her actions and her vehicle. Now, central Florida news stations are spreading the word, hoping to find this woman.
If caught by authorities, this woman will become part of the county’s animal abuser registry. She could face a fine and even jail time.
Immediately after discovering what happened, volunteers found one cat. Then, other volunteers were on the lookout for the remaining cats and dog. It took several days, but all of them were eventually found and brought to the shelter. Once there, the animals were treated by medical personnel. Authorities have not found the woman, yet.
Sadly, this is not the first story of animal dumping in this area.
Sherry Silk, CEO of The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, told Good Morning Tampa Bay, “If you have a pet, you can not dump them. Somebody should come forward and say something.”
She said in late May, someone tossed a four-week-old kitten out of a moving car. There is a $6,000 reward for information leading to who abandoned this cat. Silk said, “I guess the woman that was on the sidewalk, she screamed. They got the kitten before it could get hit again.”
These stories of animal neglect are truly heartbreaking. Dumping animals is a crime. We hope they catch these wrongdoers. If anyone can help identify this woman, please contact C.A.R.E. Animal Shelter.
Watch the video below to learn more about these survivors.
Valor is defined as boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery. That word so perfectly describes every single first responder that gave their all, day in and day out, in the weeks following 9/11. Many that conducted search and rescue missions in the rubble that remained continue to feel the physical effects of their tireless efforts nearly 18 years later.
Chronic pain, mobility limitations, and breathing difficulties are common. NYC firefighter and 9/11 first responder Paul Monfre struggles with these kinds of symptoms in his daily life, making it difficult to do everyday tasks like pick dropped items up from the floor. But life should soon be getting a bit easier for Monfre, with the support of his aptly named service dog, Valor.
Valor VII is a graduate of the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) program. CCI is a nonprofit organization that raises and trains service dogs, provided free of charge to those in need. Since 1975 they have placed Goldens, Labs, and Golden Lab crosses with recipients that are physically impaired, have cognitive or developmental disabilities, or have hearing loss. They also place dogs in health care and criminal justice settings. They work with adults, children, and veterans.
They rely on volunteers to raise breeder born newborn puppies for the first eight weeks of their lives. From there, volunteer trainers socialize and provide basic obedience training to the pups for 14-18 months. Once ready, the puppies are matched with a recipient and the dog and new handler go through the CCI program together, learning all of the commands the pair will use to support one another moving forward.
Valor and Monfre were model students. Working with expert trainers, they learned specific commands but also spent time bonding. The more bonded the pair, the more successful the working relationship will be. Going on field trips into public places helps solidify the pair’s connection and gives opportunities to give and respond to commands in the real world. Most CCI graduates know about 40 such commands upon program completion.
At home, Valor will pick things up for Monfre that he has dropped or grab items for him that are too low to the ground for him to reach on his own. Monfre’s chronic pain and stamina make it hard for him to leave home but CCI and Monfre are hopeful that Valor will help change that.
CCI program coordinator Jessica Riess told InsideEdition.com, “Working on 9/11, he has medical issues related to that: some fatigue, difficulty breathing. And I think that Valor’s really going to help him regain some of that stamina. I feel like this dog is really going to motivate him to get back to where he was before those things.”
Monfre enjoyed going to school with Valor but is looking forward to their time together at home even more. He plans to venture out more with Valor’s help, taking him to the beach on long walks or even out running. Although Valor will live with Monfre, CCI will maintain ownership and conduct regular visits to make sure all is going well with the partnership.
Check out Monfre and Valor’s story in this video that aired on Inside Edition.
How 9/11 Firefighter Met His Service Dog - YouTube
How do you like to spend the July Fourth holiday? Cookouts are fun and lots of people love watching fireworks. However, these beautiful displays terrify many animals, especially dogs. So, to help soothe the stress for their residents, one Phoenix, Arizona shelter invited volunteers to stay with their pups on the holiday. The results were heart-melting.
Offering Solace to Anxious Pups
Last year, the folks at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control started a new program for their cats and dogs. They named it “Calming Companions.” The first event was on July Fourth. The shelter invited members of their community to sit with the dogs and cats during the bombastic patriotic displays.
Fireworks can startle and scare small animals. When dogs and cats live in shelters, they are confined to small spaces. The situation is stressful enough, but add in the uncertainty and loud noises, and the animals can become quite anxious.
To help out their cats and dogs, Maricopa County invited members of the public to support them. Boy, did the public respond with gusto!
Faith in Humanity Restored
More than 200 individuals showed up to the two Maricopa County shelters. Employees gave them a short safety orientation. Then the volunteers were allowed to spend time with the dogs and cats. The animals stayed in their kennels, while volunteers sat next to them to show their emotional support.
And support they did! Some volunteers read to the dogs. Some sat in darkened rooms with them, saying soothing things. They reached into the kennels to give pets. Adults and children alike came to help the animals in need.
Tails wagged while volunteers walked up and down the kennels. The volunteers brought chairs and blankets for comfortable seating. They played music to the pups. Staff members gave the animals treats, toys and games to distract them from the loud noises.
Ever thought about bringing your dog to crowded places? even worse, crowded places with fireworks? I promise you dogs don’t like it. Tonight was the first year Maricopa County animal Shelter presented “Comfort the Canines” …approx. 200 people came to help the pooches. Some people sang to them, some people read to them, some people just sat there and gave treats! it was so so awesome because the dogs absolutely love the attention and were focused on the people and not the fireworks going on outside.❤compasionate people
We agree, Amy! What a wonderful way to show love to animals in need.
It’s not always immediately obvious why a service dog provides aid to their handler. Sometimes a blind person needs a guide dog to navigate the world. Other times, dogs support humans with difficulty hearing, PTSD, or seizures. These well-trained dogs go everywhere with their humans. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), bans public places from discriminating against people with disabilities. Unfortunately, one Utah restaurant didn’t get the memo.
Several residents of Ogden, Utah, shared the same unpleasant experience: their service dogs were not allowed to enter a restaurant. The owner of Bombay Grill refused to serve the customers if they sat with their dogs.
The first visitor was five-year-old Jefferson Warwood. He visited Bombay Grill with his mother Missy and his service dog, Sage. The calm, intelligent dog helps Jefferson, who has Down Syndrome and doesn’t speak. Missy told Fox 13 that Sage keeps the curious and adventurous young boy safe and calm. Thanks to Sage, the family has little problems in public places.
However, they experienced resistance when they visited the restaurant. The owner immediately said no dogs.
Missy said this of their interaction: “We tried to educate him, and let him know that we have every right to be here. It’s my son’s service dog. He needs it. And [the owner] said, ‘No. It’s my opinion, it’s my restaurant. And I say, no dogs.'”
The family left at his request. Then, they went home and posted the ADA regulations to the restaurant’s Facebook page. They suggested the owner read the laws. The regulations say businesses that serve the public (like restaurants) must allow customers to bring their service animals into areas where customers are allowed.
But, this was not the last time the owner would turn away customers with service dogs.
Within two weeks, the same thing happened again. A group of veterans, who know each other through the service dog organization 4 Paws 4 Patriots, tried to eat lunch at Bombay Grill. With this group, it was may not have been immediately obvious why they had service dogs.
This is what they told Fox 13:
Abraham Swank said his service dog, Temperance, helps him with his mobility and anxiety. Swank said he wouldn’t be able to leave the house by himself or go in public otherwise.
D Berard said Xena helps her with medical issues, in addition to PTSD.
“I also have severe hearing loss,” Berard said. “If there’s something behind me that I’m unaware of, she’d make me aware of it.”
The owner turned this group away, too. This time, though, the customers videotaped the exchange. In the video, the owner says he knows the rules but he still doesn’t allow dogs. The owner offers to serve the group outside, but the restaurant has no outdoor seating.
Fox 13 talked to Bombay Grill. They said they do not allow service dogs because they worry other customers may be afraid of them.
We’re sorry to report this story because service dogs are extremely important and well-trained animals. But, really, they’re much more than that. We hope the owner of Bombay Grill reconsiders this decision. Watch the story play out below.