Jeff is blind and works at a custom cabinet shop. After his shift on Fridays, he heads down to the local pub with coworkers for happy hour.
One evening a new employee was working the door. After one look at Jeff’s service dog, he blocked the entrance with his arm. “Sorry. No dogs allowed,” he said.
Jeff kept his cool but answered firmly. “This is my guide dog, not a pet,” he said. “I’ll spare you the details, but it’s my legal right to enter this bar.”
A coworker inside got the bartender’s attention. He rushed outside.
“Sorry Jeff. First drink’s on me tonight,” he said, turning to the doorman. “Next time let him in – and his dog, too.”
CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE
If you see a blind person with a guide dog being denied access to a building or event, say something. A harness that wraps around the dog’s torso and includes a handle for the owner to grasp is a sign that it’s a service animal. Denying access is against the law.
Refrain from petting.
Although it is tempting to reach out and pet the dog, this can distract the dog from its duties. The protocol is not to interrupt a service animal at work.
If you run a public establishment, be sure your employees are aware of the service dog rule and discuss the importance of equal access for the visually impaired.