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  1. #1

    Default Question about service dog on trail




    Hello,
    I haven’t been on this site since 2005 when I hiked the A.T. Anyways, I am planning another thru-hike in year 2020, but this time with my legitimate service dog. Not an Emotional support dog and not a therapy dog either, a service dog. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD and legal blindness. I know the ADA laws, but I can still get hassled when I am traveling with him. Even though it is illegal to denied services/rooms etc… because of Hondo (my service dog’s name), I still try to avoid these confrontational situations as it can really trigger my PTSD. I’d rather just not be where I Hondo and I are not welcomed. This post isn’t about my concern about etiquette while in the woods wit him. I will be avoiding crowed shelters, having him on leash at all times, mostly staying in a tent, etc… My concern is coming into town and getting hassled by hostels and local services. Has anyone hiked with a service dog before? or any dog and what type of issues arose? I was thinking of writting a letter to some of the business ahead of time that I plan on staying at and asking if it will be a problem fro them. There is nothing like getting to a town while being tired and hungry and not having a comfy place to stay to do “town business”

    IF interested: Hondo was trained by Southeastern Guide Dogs in FL for 2 years before I flew down to meet him and train with him for 12 days on their campus before bring him home. I didn’t name him. One of the ways the organization raises money is that people donate $5K to name a dog. So, he is named after a donors favorite John Wayne movie.
    Last edited by Alligator; 09-20-2018 at 12:32. Reason: Post was hard to see on our end.

  2. #2

    Default

    There is a problem with your post. The text is nearly invisible. An arifact, perhaps, of an adaptive setting at your end. I highlighted it to read. Contacting businesses ahead seems like a good idea. You shouldn't have to but with all the "service dog" cheaters out there it could save you hassle. Have a good trip.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manfire View Post

    Hello,
    I haven’t been on this site since 2005 when I hiked the A.T. Anyways, I am planning another thru-hike in year 2020, but this time with my legitimate service dog. Not an Emotional support dog and not a therapy dog either, a service dog. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD and legal blindness. I know the ADA laws, but I can still get hassled when I am traveling with him. Even though it is illegal to denied services/rooms etc… because of Hondo (my service dog’s name), I still try to avoid these confrontational situations as it can really trigger my PTSD. I’d rather just not be where I Hondo and I are not welcomed. This post isn’t about my concern about etiquette while in the woods wit him. I will be avoiding crowed shelters, having him on leash at all times, mostly staying in a tent, etc… My concern is coming into town and getting hassled by hostels and local services. Has anyone hiked with a service dog before? or any dog and what type of issues arose? I was thinking of writting a letter to some of the business ahead of time that I plan on staying at and asking if it will be a problem fro them. There is nothing like getting to a town while being tired and hungry and not having a comfy place to stay to do “town business”

    IF interested: Hondo was trained by Southeastern Guide Dogs in FL for 2 years before I flew down to meet him and train with him for 12 days on their campus before bring him home. I didn’t name him. One of the ways the organization raises money is that people donate $5K to name a dog. So, he is named after a donors favorite John Wayne movie.
    Thought I would repost this for the OP. His font showed up white on my screen and I'm guessing everyone else's screen, too.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for your service! Unfortunately this is an issue that you'll have to deal with. You know the rules but the public mostly doesn't. You can get cards, business size, with the ADA guidelines/rules to pass out when it might help explain. You do not have to explain anything but... Another thing that is by no means a requirement but can help is a service dog vest or patch on the dog. Be prepared with answers when confronted about your need for a service dog. Not all disabilities are visible. Your idea of calling ahead is probably your best route. Good luck and I hope the goodness of the trail and trail magic in the form of acceptance for you and Hondo. Thanks again for your service and sacrifice.

  5. #5
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    I suspect that you'll find the overwhelming majority of folks that support hikers to be very friendly and supportive. I would make sure that Hondo is snake trained though. I'd hate to have him walk over a rattlesnake and get nailed.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Thought I would repost this for the OP. His font showed up white on my screen and I'm guessing everyone else's screen, too.
    I edited it. It appeared very light gray on my end
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  7. #7

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    Thank you!

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    If my local Walmart is any indication, many business have given up trying to figure out who has a real service dog and just let anyone with a dog in. It's probably not going to be a big issue.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  9. #9

    Default

    First, thank you for your service. I know that there are vests that ID your dog as a service dog. Some of them are packs so he can carry some of his own load. I can't believe that you will encounter much negativity in towns that welcome thru-hikers........your dog will have better hygiene than most of them . Seriously, why worry about someone who would not welcome a veteran and his service dog. Forget them. I hope you and Hondo have a great hike!!
    Last edited by DownYonder; 09-20-2018 at 21:24.
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ..........
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  10. #10

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    It's sad that you have to do it, but I think in the essence of wanting to keep yourself as stress-free as possible that contacting potential hostels/hotels etc ahead of time is a very good idea.

  11. #11
    Registered User LIhikers's Avatar
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    Let me suggest that you and Hondo do some nights in a tent together so that he gets used to it.
    Also do some some multi day hikes so you get to figure out Hondo's eating habits while hiking.
    My wife and I hike with a 90 pound Shepherd and her eating habits change quite a bit when out on a trail.

  12. #12

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    Thanks you everyone!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manfire View Post



    Hello,
    I haven’t been on this site since 2005 when I hiked the A.T. Anyways, I am planning another thru-hike in year 2020, but this time with my legitimate service dog. Not an Emotional support dog and not a therapy dog either, a service dog. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD and legal blindness. I know the ADA laws, but I can still get hassled when I am traveling with him. Even though it is illegal to denied services/rooms etc… because of Hondo (my service dog’s name), I still try to avoid these confrontational situations as it can really trigger my PTSD. I’d rather just not be where I Hondo and I are not welcomed. This post isn’t about my concern about etiquette while in the woods wit him. I will be avoiding crowed shelters, having him on leash at all times, mostly staying in a tent, etc… My concern is coming into town and getting hassled by hostels and local services. Has anyone hiked with a service dog before? or any dog and what type of issues arose? I was thinking of writting a letter to some of the business ahead of time that I plan on staying at and asking if it will be a problem fro them. There is nothing like getting to a town while being tired and hungry and not having a comfy place to stay to do “town business”

    IF interested: Hondo was trained by Southeastern Guide Dogs in FL for 2 years before I flew down to meet him and train with him for 12 days on their campus before bring him home. I didn’t name him. One of the ways the organization raises money is that people donate $5K to name a dog. So, he is named after a donors favorite John Wayne movie.
    Best of luck to you! My mother in law was a puppy raiser for SEGD and my old neighbor is head of K9’s for warriors..,both great outfits!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    IIRC Baxter park, getting tired of fakes have been getting a bit more aggressive in enforcing the no dog policy. Not that it applies here, but since it is the confrontation that is problemsome it is something to be aware of.

  15. #15
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    I too have a service dog. I am not,howevr, a veteran. Neither am I blinder deaf. My panic attack, usually along time apart, have limited my life sadly sinceI was 5 years old. Finally, I opened up to my pop. I did not want to try to solve this problem with pills. (previously used for "nervousness" without my mentioning the life-crushing episodes)>. He immediately gave me a prescription, but I did not have the necessary finances. I did though have a 7-year-old prospect that I had raised from her birth. Going to do training lessons with outstanding trainers and reading helpful literature, I was able within a few months to dress her with a vest that declared her status. There were two incidents, one at the Cherokee Museum at Cherokee in which I finally pulled out my prescription. I did not report it to the ADA. The second was at a motel art Wythveille, Virginia. They ended up groveling. She died suddenly in 2015, leaving me bereft. I now have a great niece of hers who is still always (as she was) in training. So is the public. I have met only one of the supposed impostures, and that was one day years before I became a service dog person. The man in question readily offered that he was not legit. Yes, I will take Polly on the trail, but we have some additional prep first.
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  16. #16
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    Big mistake in my post regarding our service dogs: my "pop" should have been "my PCP."
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
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  17. #17
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    Rereading my above post, I see some need for clarification. Namely, my physician did not give my a "pill" to avoid panic attacks. I had not had any pill of that sort for years, but I was requesting consideration of using a well trained service dog instead. My physician knew me well and agreed. There is no governmental certification for service animals. I walked out with a prescription stating that a service animal is required as a part of my medical treatment. I carry a copy of that prescription in my purse at all times but have never shown it to any obstructing person except the ticket taker at the Cherokee museum. It is all that is necessary. The illegal use of service animal claims is punishable by federal law of large amounts of money as is harassment of service animal people. Walk Proud, Manfire and the attentive friend at your side.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Tents View Post
    Thanks for your service! Unfortunately this is an issue that you'll have to deal with. You know the rules but the public mostly doesn't. You can get cards, business size, with the ADA guidelines/rules to pass out when it might help explain. You do not have to explain anything but... Another thing that is by no means a requirement but can help is a service dog vest or patch on the dog. Be prepared with answers when confronted about your need for a service dog. Not all disabilities are visible. Your idea of calling ahead is probably your best route. Good luck and I hope the goodness of the trail and trail magic in the form of acceptance for you and Hondo. Thanks again for your service and sacrifice.
    This ^^^. Also it might smooth things for you in the event you're questioned or that it seems you're being unlawfully discriminated against if you carry and communicate you have accreditation papers from Southeastern Guide Dogs in FL. I remember them from when I lived in Tampa going to USF's main campus but having friends attending the St Pete campus. Pretty cool story about how the dog received it's name.

    Have a great hike.

  19. #19

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    How about going through the Smokies, Shennies, and Baxter? I know he is legally allowed there, but I feel like I should contact them as well to let them know Im coming thru with a service dog. Probably need a specific permit?
    In response to the the Fake service dog comment on here: I agree it is frustrating, against the law and ruining it for the people who have and need a real service dog.

  20. #20
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    There is no permit for taking a service animal thru GSMNP... but from what I understand basted on past discussions here on WB, they follow ADA guidelines for service animals.

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