Finding comfort, support from a furry friend | AS I SEE IT

Finding comfort, support from a furry friend | AS I SEE IT

  • Friday, December 1, 2017 11:20am
  • Opinion

I believe that one of the most misunderstood, and maybe, because of that, the most abused laws of this generation is the federal law pertaining to emotional support and service dogs. We have entered a time in the history of our country where we have increasingly shared our lives with various species of animals.

I remember just a few years ago when, if one wanted a dog for the family or for a personal friend, a visit to the local pet store would take care of the empty spot in our homes. The dogs were always purebred, or we were told that they were and had papers, just so we could brag on the lineage of Scrappy, kept in the enclosed back porch with a rusted coffee can for drinking water.

If your parents were more the blue-collar variety, they may have taken you down to the dog pound to walk the “Long Green Mile” to the end of the wire cages, so you could pick out a jumping, yipping, mongrel puppy. They were usually a reject or stray that was a lot less expensive, but no less different, just minus the handwritten certificate of origin.

Our thoroughbred family cocker spaniels were found in a cardboard box by a bus stop, or were black with white and headed to the euthanizer, until we saved them, promising the “breeder” that we wouldn’t breed them, because spaniels only came in a solid color, unless some were somehow mixed when nobody was looking. That one we got with not even the handwritten certificate.

So times changed after pictures of dogs were paraded before our television screens in rusty cages that they called puppy mills, which we discovered we were buying as purebred dogs. People went from getting a dog for the kids to getting a companion for a parent. The parent somehow realized that it was really comforting to sit before the television at night, with this little warm, furry, slobbering animal on their lap. All of a sudden, people were walking the neighborhoods with three and four leashes pulling on them in four different directions and proudly calling out that they were rescues, and “I love them all.”

Then someone saw a news story about soldiers in Iraq, or somewhere else, training a dog to do things other than guard duty. Some dogs did fantastic things like protecting soldiers from bombs and land mines. Some dogs loved their handlers so much that they warned them of impending danger, actually saving their lives, and some giving their own lives in exchange. Some were retired and came to a new home in America to assist their disabled friend, who once needed their protection and now needs their everyday help to exist, both emotionally and physically, on a day-to-day basis.

As a veteran from several different arenas over a 42-year period, I found that my old military retired body was coming apart from years of abuse as a Navy photographer who chose the front sides – facial expressions – of sailors and Marines to photograph them in the field, as opposed to their back sides. So the photographer had to run ahead of the Marine, usually twisting backward to catch him coming at you, a feat only duplicated by an Olympic athlete.

I have a wonderful, legitimate service dog that should be duplicated in every combat veteran’s life. Benny has been followed in department stores and watched in restaurants and small shops by many professional dog trainers’ incognito, across the country, who all informed me after the spying that they believed him to be one of the best.

In a short series I want to share with you the laws, rules, courteous behavior and functions of a real, honest-to-goodness service dog and emotional support animal and their owner. My hope to help you to understand what they do and what is only a service dog of someone’s imagination.

The goal is to convince more veterans and vet families to get help from this kind of friend. More veterans are dying by their own hand than were lost on the battlefields. Stay tuned.

Don Dinsmore, a longtime Kent resident and Navy veteran, regularly contributes to the Reporter.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Robert Whale can be reached at robert.whale@auburn-reporter.com.
If you’re right, and you know it, then read this | Whale’s Tales

As the poet Theodore Roethke once wrote: “In a dark time the eye begins to see…”

Robert Whale can be reached at robert.whale@soundpublishing.com.
Grappling with the finality of an oncologist’s statement | Whale’s Tales

Perhaps my brain injected a bit of humor to cover the shock. But I felt the gut punch.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Legislature back in session next week | Cartoon

State lawmakers return Jan. 8 to Olympia.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Santa doesn’t drive a Kia | Cartoon

Cartoon by Frank Shiers.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Salute to veterans | Cartoon by Frank Shiers

On Veterans Day, honor those who served your country.

File photo
Why you should vote in the upcoming election | Guest column

When I ask my students when the next election is, frequently they will say “November 2024” or whichever presidential year is coming up next.

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
Here’s a column for anyone who loves their dog | Whale’s Tales

It is plain to me in looking at dogs small and large that a decent share of them are exemplars of love on Earth, innocents who love unconditionally and love their chow.

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
Please protect your children from BS spreaders | Whale’s Tales

Among the most useful things I studied in college were debate, and… Continue reading

Email editor@kentreporter.com.
It’s time to change Kent’s City Council elections to districts | Guest column

If you were asked who your city councilmembers are, would you have an answer?

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
Dear government: Hold your horses when regulating trucks | Brunell

Next to gasoline and diesel, natural gas also has the greatest number of refueling stations.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Mariners get red hot | Cartoon

Cartoon by Frank Shiers