Today I am presenting another written interview with Evan. He runs a service dog certification site. His company believes people that need service dogs should not be harassed and bothered because of their service dogs. They provide an easy verification system that ensures privacy and simple identification for the service dog handler.
Check out the interview:
1. What got you interested in providing certifications for service dogs? Share your story.
I used to suffer from really bad anxiety and had severe panic attacks that made me feel like I was about to die. I was told by my GP that medication was the only avenue to stop these feelings, but I didn’t want to be medicated and not be myself. I researched natural ways to stop anxiety and the panic attacks and I came across an article about the use of emotional support dogs and service dogs to curb and even predict panic attacks. Around this time I adopted the friendliest mutt in the world from the animal shelter and started taking training sessions. Whenever I felt a panic attack coming, my dog would start to lick my face and the symptoms would subside. I started seeing a therapist and with the combination of therapy and my service dog, my panic attacks all but disappeared. Having a service dog saved my life and has made social interactions a lot more bearable.
2. What is required for members to earn a certification through your site?
We do not require members to pay for training or go jump through hoops to get an identification card for their service dogs. We believe in an honesty policy and we believe that there are many more honest people that need service dogs than dishonest fake service dog owners. Service dog ID cards enable service dog handlers to bypass unnecessary stress and scrutiny from people that do not understand the need for service animals.
3. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Getting positive letters and emails from people that really need their service dog to be with them is very rewarding. Some people are about to get evicted from their apartments because of uneducated landlords even though they have trained service dogs. Registering your service dog is not mandatory, but we have seen that registering your service dog allows the handler to identify their dogs as service animals and help them to stay in their homes and fight discrimination.
4. How do you promote your services and what’s working for you?
We currently attend meetups and have community outreach programs to increase awareness of service animal rights.
5. What are your future plans for 2015 and beyond?
We plan to keep doing what we have been doing and hopefully increase staff. We would like to also increase our outreach program and meet with more assistance animal handlers to hear their stories and see what we can do to help them. 2015 is looking very bright for all types of dogs and handlers.