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Service or Support Animals? Training is Key for Helping Disabled Floridians

Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Pet owners are increasingly signing up to have their animals certified as “comfort” "therapy" or "emotional support" animals. The certification can be helpful for some conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety, but significant differences separate comfort dogs from medical assistance dogs, including training, certification, and where they are legally allowed to go under the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Monday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs CEO Carol Borden explains the intensive training required of guide dogs and attempts to clear up some of the misunderstandings regarding comfort animals.

Rebecca Williams with the Southeast ADA Center also joins the program to discuss the difference in these dogs and how the ADA laws impact accessibility for service animals versus comfort animals.

And Mary Ann Gringnon, president of the Southwest Florida Council of the Blind, joins the program to explain  how important making these distinctions are for people who depend on these animals to function day to day.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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