Need a service animal?
Ever since the legal definition of “service animal” changed on March 15, 2011, we have seen an increase in public awareness about the many disabilities that a service animal can help with and even how many different animals can be used for this purpose. This doesn’t mean all the questions we have are easily answered. The following ten websites are a great resource for those wanting to know more about obtaining, training and keeping a service animal. They are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating, except for the first one.
Global Alexa Rating: no rank
Normally a website that does not have an Alexa traffic count rating does not make a top ten list, but an exception is being made in this case. ASAS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enabling disabled veterans to live a more productive life through the use of service animals. The Dogs4Vets program is a way to get help or provide help to those that have answered the call to protect our country at great cost to themselves. This alone makes it worth the number one spot on this list.
Global Alexa Rating: 3,458
You may not have thought about the USDA as a resource for information about service animals, but the truth is that they are a fantastic resource for just about anything. They do a great job of presenting information about animal welfare. You’ll find a number of articles about service and working animals on this page including FAQs, traveling with a service animal, discrimination rulings and a link to a table of state assistance animal laws.
Global Alexa Rating: 209,098
This site offers fantastic advice for traveling with your pets, even those that are not service animals. They have a specific section on traveling with service animals that will prove helpful. It discusses those transportation methods that allow service animals and how a service animal is defined for this purpose. The site also includes airline pet policies, pet passports, pet insurance, pet friendly hotels and much more.
Global Alexa Rating: 366,374
This site is a community of service dog partners and trainers that are working to bring you their knowledge about service dogs. The site includes information on specific kinds of service dogs, service dog training and handling, access issues, rights and legal issues and more. The site also includes a community forum. Be sure to check out the FAQ section, especially before posting a question on the forum.
Global Alexa Rating: 427,239
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act protects those that use service animals and by law you and your animal must be granted access, and the law even says they are not allowed to ask you to prove your animal is a service animal, it pays to be a step ahead and have certification so you have all the documentation you need. The NSAR is a service that does this. They specialize in registering service animals including those that are ESA (Emotional Support Animals) even though these are not as protected under the federal law. The site includes a service animal database, information about service animals, housing rights and much more.
Global Alexa Rating: 456,639
Pet Partners is a non-profit organization that is involved in research that demonstrates how animals can help people with a number of conditions. They train volunteers and provide resources for professionals that want to incorporate therapy animals in their practices. They have a service animal program and companion animal programs. They offer online courses. Be sure to check out the service animals section of the website for things such as a trainer directory, service animal basics and advice on getting a service animal.
Global Alexa Rating: 511,702
This is another place that you can register your service dog, emotional support dog or therapy dog. The site also includes information about what these different types of dogs are and who they can help. Be sure to check out the FAQ section for general questions as well as those specific to the type of dog. The Understand the Laws section is also informative for understanding the federal laws that govern service dogs and emotional support dogs.
Global Alexa Rating: 672,608
This non-profit organization was founded back in 1975. Their foundation includes a breeding program that uses advanced technology to meticulously select and pair dogs for breeding. They train four types of assistance dogs to master over 40 specialized commands and then they are teamed with a graduate for an intensive two-week training period. They deal with service dogs, skilled companions, hearing dogs and facility dogs. Their dogs and services are provided free of charge.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,155,020
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a coalition of not-for-profit assistance dog organizations. They have an accreditation system for members. You can use the site to find regional chapter, upcoming conferences & events, locate members and use the program search to find an assistance dog program in your area. The site includes information on the standards they set forth. Be sure to check out the FAQ section as it includes a number of resources including a dog breeds & behavior area.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,948,076
This is another organization involved in registering your service animal. They cover emotional support animals, service animals and therapy animals. Although only dogs, small horses and pigs are allowed as service animals, any animal can be an emotional support animal (ESA), so they are open to registration for any animal for that classification. The site explains about what limited protection is given for an ESA.
Although more than one site has been given for registering your service animal, you do not need to use all of them. Just choose the one that fits your needs. While you do not have to register your animal, it may save you from frustration when dealing with those that are not familiar with the laws. As research continues to show the benefits of service animals and emotional support animals, awareness increases and those with disabilities will face less objections. Use these sites for yourself, someone you know or to donate to any or all of the non-profit organizations working to help those with disabilities lead a better life.