‘Service dogs’ that matter and ‘emotional support animals’ that matter less

Regarding the Ally Shwed cartoon about service dogs (Opinion, Oct. 9): I did laugh at the cartoon, but while some people may scam the system, getting the designation of “service dog” requires a doctor’s approval, which isn’t taken lightly. An “emotional support animal,” like the infamous pot bellied pig on the airline, is perhaps a different matter.

But I think it’s important to remember that many disabilities are not physically obvious. Those with PTSD use trained dogs to help them avoid triggers: A friend who was sexually abused as a child uses her trained dog to get strange men to give her space. What may look like an untrained dog to an observer may in fact be a dog reacting to “unknown to you” stress points.

I hate being a scold over a cartoon, but the derision I’ve seen by abled people making assumptions bothers me.

Claire DeVore