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Enough with the Fake Service Dogs

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fake service dog

How on earth is this a service animal? (image from Dogtime)

Fuck you and your fake fucking service dog. You know who you are.

This is a restaurant, it serves food. Dogs are outside creatures. Lord forbid you leave them at home where they can sleep and fart and drool to their little hearts content. If you’re blind, well that’s one thing, but you are walking in here, in your barely manageable heels, with a fucking Shih Tzu in your purse and plopping down at a table next to other patrons who are here to enjoy their dinner. You need emotional support? Really? You are not too emotionally fragile to be a bitch about how much dressing goes on your salad, you seem perfectly competent when it comes to complaining that we don’t serve rosé, and you are obviously comfortable feeding bits of grilled chicken to your dog off one of my bread plates. You do know that people eat off that plate, right? When you eat at home do you serve yourself dinner in a dog bowl? No? Then why the hell would you use my human designated plate as a platter for your pricey purse pooch.

And ya’ know what? Just don’t bring the dog to dinner, because we have a patio – it’s goddamn January and if I get pneumonia schlepping your dinner out onto the freezing-ass sidewalk, then I’m out of work for two weeks just so you can maintain the delusion that you are some sort of considerate person. Oh, and while you’re out there, your dog’s thirsty? Great. I’ll get you a to-go container with some tap water. Please don’t let you dog drink out of the water glass. Water glasses are for people. That is just not sanitary.

Do you really need a service dog in a busy restaurant? If you go into cardiac arrest I’m here and I can call 911. Hell, any one of the 6 people you are splitting the bill with could probably manage to stop instagramming their food long enough to make an emergency phone call. My coworker, the one who is allergic to dogs, can even perform CPR in the event of an emergency, but she won’t be coming anywhere near you in the meantime because she is violently allergic to your cutesy creature comfort.

You love your pet? Awesome. I love mine too, but you will never see me imposing my cats on complete strangers who are shelling out a hundred bucks for a bottle of Brunello, or dropping a considerable amount of coin on a special and rare family dinner. I have a great pets, super cute, you know what I do? I take pictures of ’em. I probably have twenty pictures of them on my phone right now. It’s great, I can show people how good looking they are, provide visual aids for my comical bits about being a cat lady, and when I’m out to dinner myself, nobody has to worry about whether my cats will take a crap in my handbag while they are having dessert. Because seriously, lets be honest with ourselves – of all the things that we need in life – all of the things that we wish for, and pray for, and desperately need, the last thing any of us needs is more shit in our purse.

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The Genius Waitress

The Genius Waitress

Ahem, excuse me--your entitlement's showing.


  1. Vanessa Demske
    April 10, 2017 at 1:03 pm
  2. Timothy Pifher
    April 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    And if you deny me service because of my dog and you are to ignorant to know the law I might end up owning your business s

    • SMILEY C.
      April 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Actually, Emotional support dogs are NOT covered by ADA law. Also a dog that is actively working with it’s owner is not hand fed or fed from the table. That would blur the work/home lines for the animal. So, let’s try this again without showing your entitled sue happy inner-self.

      Also because I am being super petty… it is “TOO ignorant” not to.

      • Jared Janhsen
        April 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

        True, Emotional Support animals are only protected by federal housing laws and FAA regulations. However, service animals in training may very well be given rewards for completing certain tasks (though typically not off a human plate). In several states in-training service dogs are permitted to go wherever their handler is permitted to go.

  3. Jared Janhsen
    April 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Oh my, you are an ADA complaint just waiting to happen. Service animals are trained in a whole manner of tasks to assist persons with more disabilities than vision impairment. They’re even trained to assist disabilities that aren’t apparent to the untrained eye. Some of those tasks do not require a dog with immense physical strength or size. Regardless of breed all dogs share common physical characteristics, one of which is their sense of smell. Even small dogs’ noses are sensitive enough to detect the changes in body chemistry prior to the onset of an epileptic seizure, or detect when their handler’s blood sugar is dangerously out of normal.

    Do you start throwing hot rolls at your blind patrons like you’re at Lambert’s ( just to make sure they’re not faking being blind too?

    Mind you, the law provides exceptions for animals that aren’t under control of their handlers and are otherwise disruptive, service or not. However, the fact the mere presence of a dog offends you is not reason enough to exclude a person with a disability that’s aided by a service animal.

    • Robyn Banks
      April 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Fake service dogs won’t get any money for you. Good luck!

    • defhigh
      April 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Your dog is ADA compliant, great show me his papers? Oh no papers? Yeah GTFO.

      • Moon
        April 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm

        There are no papers for a service dog. actually most dogs with papers are fake. ADA literally says that there is no certification or papers and that it’s illegal to ask for them.

      • defhigh
        April 11, 2017 at 2:50 pm

        exactly, they have no papers, because they are not real service dogs.

        “Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”

        “Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered,”

        “When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited
        inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a
        service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or
        task has the dog been trained to perform.”


      • Moon
        April 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

        The ADA makes no mention of papers. Service dogs (real ones) do not have papers.
        “There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.”

        Proof of a service dog is i the training. It’s on in the tasks and the public access training the dog has. You can ask for an example of tasks to verify a dog. You cannot ask for papers of any kind.

      • defhigh
        April 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm

        Q32. Are restaurants, bars, and other
        places that serve food or drink required to allow service animals to be
        seated on chairs or allow the animal to be fed at the table?

        A. No. Seating, food, and drink are provided
        for customer use only. The ADA gives a person with a disability the
        right to be accompanied by his or her service animal, but covered
        entities are not required to allow an animal to sit or be fed at the

      • Moon
        April 11, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        Okay? No where have i said that they should be on the seats or fed from the plates? A service dog should always be on the floor unless tasking oe it is dangerous for the dog to be on the ground. I was simply explaining the there are no papers for a service dog.

      • Jared Janhsen
        April 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

        In many states you are Explicitly not permitted to ask for a demonstration of the dog’s service. You are only allowed to ask if the dog is for assistance with a disability and the nature of the dog’s services.

      • Hannah Schoolcraft
        April 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

        If you would read a little further into the ADA (the same exact thing you just replied with) you would find out there are no real papers.
        Q17. Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
        A. No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.

      • casey
        April 12, 2017 at 12:43 pm

        A dog can be a real service dog even with out papers in fact now days many service dog are owner trained so they wouldn’t have no kind of service dog papers and yes you can owner train a service dog like my real service dog is owner trained

      • Jared Janhsen
        April 11, 2017 at 5:51 pm

        This is a great video from the state bar of Texas that outlines Service Animals in accordance with the ADA and the specific laws passed in Texas.

        One big take-away from that video is that no licenses nor physicians’ orders are required nor are businesses allowed to demand them.

        Now, obviously that’s only one state. However, Texas isn’t the only state to pass laws that take away some of the ambiguities in the ADA.

      • Belinda Williams
        April 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        defhigh; You seriously need to read what the ADA states on service dogs before spouting off. Go educate yourself, then offer an apology. In the USA, if a person provides you with “registration,” chances are actually better than most that the “registered” dog is a fake…. unless their certification is with ADI or IGDF (that’s Assistance Dogs International and International Guide Dog Federation- and those presenting you with those are likely both legitimate and international).

  4. Moon
    April 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    She’s small yes. But she’s trained for years to be able to help me. She will walk in at a heel. She will lay down under the table, she will ignore everything. But she is trained to do several things so you don’t HAVE to call 911. To stop self harmful or maladaptive tics and stims (which have sent me to the ER). To preform room checks and upon command alert to approaching people. To help with stimulation overload and find me help, or my house, or even my car. If a dog is being disruptive you can ask them to leave and you can ask for them not to be fed from your plates (which is rude and Something most handlers won’t do). And I’d like to enjoy my lunch just like everyone else. You wanna break ADA whatever but be prepared for a lawsuit.

    • GBannis
      April 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      @Moon: Seriously, this isn’t about you. It’s about *fake* service dogs, which are not protected by ADA and give real service dogs a bad name. So-called “emotional support” pets are not ADA service animals.

      • Moon
        April 12, 2017 at 6:48 am

        While I get the. Frustration off dealing with fakes, The author says that unless the handler is. Blind they don’t. Need a service dog. Because the author or another person can call 911 (the point of the dog is too give warning to prevent er trips as much as possible). The author is not stating just fakes, they’re basically saying only guide dogs.

  5. Stella
    April 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    It would have been lovely for you to get some insight from an educated health professional before publishing this article. First of all, you implied that the woman in heels had an emotional support dog, not a service dog:
    “You need emotional support? Really? You are not too emotionally fragile to be a bitch about how much dressing goes on your salad, you seem perfectly competent when it comes to complaining that we don’t serve rosé, and you are obviously comfortable feeding bits of grilled chicken to your dog off one of my bread plates.”
    1. You implied she had an emotional support dog. Emotional Support Dog does not equal Service Dog
    2. People with “invisible” disabilities, that is, those disabilities you can’t see by looking at them, need service dogs too. Service dogs can be trained to alert to an oncoming seizure, to smell ketones on the breath of a diabetic (small “lap dogs” work better for this), and to lead PTSD sufferers away from triggering environments, among many many other tasks.
    3. A service dog can, in fact, be a shih szu.
    4. Some people with disabilities can, in fact, wear high heels (look how much we’re learning!!!)
    5. Some people with disabilities can be assholes in restaurants, and complain about salad dressing and your restaurant not having Rose, while wearing high heels.

    Did you really not do any research before writing this??

    What restaurant is this so I can never ever go? The ignorance of this article really kills the appetite.

    • defhigh
      April 11, 2017 at 8:27 am

      It’s not “article”, it’s an internet blog. Internet blogs are places where white people go to bitch about their first world problems.

      • Stella
        April 11, 2017 at 11:55 am

        I guess that makes more sense then. This showed up in the news feed on my phone, which usually shows me actual news. I assumed I was reading a journalists article who went on a rampage while the editor was on vacation.

    • Stella
      April 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      P.S. It is bad form to feed a service dog table food. Once the dog gets used to eating table scraps it’s easy for them to pick up begging as a bad habit. Though, it’s my personal opinion that this article far worse.
      Gut reaction to a person feeding their service dog table scraps: Eye roll.
      Gut reaction to this article: Side eye with a heaping pile of shade.

      I’m glad we don’t know each other.

    • GBannis
      April 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      @Stella, and why are you so sure that Shih Tzu was a real service dog? You do know it’s common for owners to pass their “emotional support” dogs as service dogs, right?

      • Stella
        April 11, 2017 at 4:10 pm

        I do not believe I said I had any level of certainty over whether this dog is a real service dog. Similarly, the author of this blog can’t be sure it was not a service dog.

  6. Nancy Duggan
    April 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    My husband’s SERVICE DOG is 17 pounds. She goes everywhere with him 24/7. She is fed and given water before hand. When she is in a restaurant she is basically invisible unless needed. Never ever fed food from the table, most servers are kind enough to ask if she needs water. We were lucky enough to have traveled 7 months to 49 states and happy to say we only had one incident. Believe it or not it was in the dirtiest restaurant we ever had eaten at, after a train ride from Silverton Colorado . The server was rude saying that she was going to have to fumigate the area after we leave. The owner was nice after I told them that the ADA as well as the health department should be called. We just went on a cruise in February and to take my husband’s SERVICE DOG it cost him over $1000.00 to have tests done for the countries we were visiting $600 For a rabies teeter test. Due to the changes made 1/1/17. Had to pay an extra fee to expedite the test. Then all kinds of shots. Then 2 days before we had to travel 3 hours up to have all the papers signed by the USDA. So, a true SERVICE DOG handler will go to the ends of the world to keep their SERVICE DOG with them. You cannot take a pet on a cruise. Sorry for the rant but the fake service dogs put my husband and his service dog at risk when a fake service dog lunges at her in a restaurant.

  7. Amy Zucker Morgenstern
    April 11, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Please be aware that people need service dogs for other reasons than blindness. Dogs can also be trained to help people with movement disorders, seizures, and other conditions that would otherwise seriously hamper their ability to move around independently.

    Otherwise, yep, I’m with you. I especially hate it when people come to no-animal zones with pets that clearly haven’t even passed basic obedience training.

  8. Bay City News
    Broke-Ass Stuart
    April 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

    The author of this article obviously struck a nerve with it and your comments got me thinking about how this all plays out.

    So much so that I’m gonna take a deeper look at it and write a more balanced article in the SF Examiner for my Thursday column that looks at both sides of the issue. Stay tuned.

    • defhigh
      April 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      thanks BAS. please read what I quoted above and the longer FAQ.

      around here, there the whole “you can’t ask the person” rumor has spread to every eating establishment it seems, staff are literally afraid to confront people with dogs, ever. and certain people seem to be taking advantage of this by bringing their damn dogs everywhere and starting a huge ker-fuffle if anyone even glances in their direction.

      you CAN ask some specific questions, and “emotional” support dogs are NOT service dogs.

      (I love dogs btw, I just don’t bring them to food area and don’t want other shaggy beasts near my food…)

      • Jared Janhsen
        April 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm

        Laws definitely vary from state to state. Texas, for example, limits inquiries to “Is this a service animal to assist with a disability?” and “What assistance does the dog provide?” the second question does not have to be answered with specifics if specifics would reveal the nature of the person’s disability (which explicitly does not require an answer).

      • Belinda Williams
        April 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm

        Actually, ADA is Federal law. It doesn’t vary. You’re thinking the laws for service dogs in training, which do vary state to state.

    • Jared Janhsen
      April 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Do look into the patchwork of state laws regarding service animals. Several states have their own disability protections that remove some ambiguity from the ADA (and may pre-date the service animal amendments to the Act).

      • Belinda Williams
        April 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

        The law that allows for the most freedoms is the one that applies in this case. State laws cannot take away provisions already made by the ADA. They can ADD to the provisions, but they cannot remove them.

  9. defhigh
    April 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I was at a salad bar the other day and some lady had her chihuahua tucked under her arm while leaning over the food… I was tempted to call her out, or call management, decided just to not patronize the salad bar at that establishment…ever.

  10. notsoaveragemama
    April 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    You might want to educate yourself a bit on topics before you make a complete ass out of yourself again…

  11. Jenn Tate
    April 12, 2017 at 12:29 am

    My husband has a seizure alert dog who alerts him to seizures a few minutes BEFORE they happen so he can be in a safe place when they hit. Find him a human being who can do that and then you can tell him to leave his dog home.

  12. casey
    April 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Excuse me but my service dog may be small at 10 pounds but she has a big job and no I’m not blind she helps with my autism meltdowns finds me if I bolt alerts to migraines alerts to my heart rate and blood pressure alerts to blood sugar and more and she would never eat off of a plate and when we go to a restaurant she comes in stands next to me until I sit down then lays under the table ignoreing everyone and everything she is very well behaved like she should be

  13. Patrick Shannon
    April 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm
  14. missjax81
    April 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I get the fake service dogs but you are incredibly ill informed. You maybe able to call for medical attention once something has occurred but can you sense it coming on before for said person can take meds, get safe and remedy the situation BEFORE medical needs to be called? Probably not, try reading up more on real service dogs because you sound like an idiot. Rant all you want on the fake ones, real ones are legitimately train medical equipment.

  15. Ken Newman
    April 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    This is a great piece. Hysterical and well crafted. And I respectfully suggest that readers who have a serious problem w/ her point of view, lighten the fuck up. There are way more important things to get bent out of shape about …

  16. […] this week, published a debut article — “Enough with the Fake Service Dogs” — from an anonymous service industry professional who’s taken the pseudonym The Genius […]

  17. […] with a lot of people on both sides of the issue, and the comments section on both Facebook and the article blew up. So, I thought I’d dive into it a little deeper […]

  18. Raven Luna Tikke
    April 16, 2017 at 8:19 am

    The problem I see here is not the issue of service dogs, but the misconception that disabilities MUST be apparent. There are many people with disabilities that look “normal.” Then you start talking to them and realize that nothing is amiss. So what’s the deal? You disabled or not? Well that’s not really anything a lay person can determine, only a doctor. Ever had 3 or 5 panic attacks in a day or had a panic attack last for hours? I have. Functionality is deceptive when it comes to disability. I think mostly because those of us with invisible disabilities are wont to “not complain or whine” about the immense obstacles we face when merely having a conversation, especially strangers. I have a lot of friends with invisible disabilities. Some them need dogs. Some of them need emotional support dogs. Some of them are in constant pain. But we all get bills in the mail every month and they have to be paid. Some of us like to have fun and go out with friends too. You know, have a life despite one’s disabilities?

    But on to the dogs. When I had my dog certified as a service dog, the ADA had no differentiation between service animals and emotional support animals. Then the law was changed so that only dogs could be service animals (though a service monkey makes a lot of sense) and emotional support dogs were set apart from service animals. However, state and local municipalities could and do have specifications that differ from the ADA. In San Francisco, emotional support dogs are to be considered the same as service dogs, even in housing law. But the dog has to behave themself. And according to the Health Dept, dogs cannot use dishes that are meant to be used for hoomins. So there is a lot of right to this article as well as a lot of ignorance.

  19. Shih Tzu Expert
    July 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I had never heard of Fake service dogs until now 🙂 The poodle looks really cute BTW. It is a pity that there are not that many doggie friendly restaurants where we can enjoy a meal with our fur babies, without offending anyone.

    • Kristi ?
      February 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      The poodle is actually a real service dog. His name is jarvis and he was trained by a company called trained and maintained.

  20. FRHS & SPCA
    February 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    My god that poodle, must be an ESA! People with ESAs always dress them up as if they where children.