are service animals allowed in restaurants?

To The Person Who Thinks Service Animals Are A Fraud, Your Naivety Is Showing

News flash: Just because you don't see someone with a physical disability doesn't mean they don't need a service animal.

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The other day at work, I had a customer come up and ask me when we started letting dogs in the building after noticing a woman in the booth with a golden retriever at her ankles. Politely, I told him that the dog was a service animal and that it had a right to be in the area. He huffed, said I should have asked for verification and threatened to never come back.

Well, like I told him, I'm legally not allowed to ask someone for verification of their service animal and neither would I. What I didn't tell him is if a person's animal is wearing a vest, clearly they either need them or want them badly enough to come in, risking their presence if in fact the pet is not certified. Regardless, if someone is jeopardizing a lot to them have them, honestly, go for it.

Instead of heading back to his seat and accepting the situation for what it is, he proceeded to fight me and tell me that service animals are "bullshit" and while he was at it, so is mental illness. Once again, I politely accepted his opinion because:

1. People are entitled to their opinions and...

2. I will not act unprofessionally in my work uniform and give my employer a bad name.

Well, now that I'm out of my apron and the walls of the restaurant, here comes my opinion.

Sir, your ignorance is showing.

If you truly believe that service animals are "bullshit," walk up to that blind woman and tell her that she doesn't need help. Her eyes are open, right? Clearly, she can see! So why does she need a dog?

Let's just take it to another level and go tell the man with the prosthetic leg who fought in a war that he doesn't need his dog even though his PTSD is the worst thing in his life.

Wait, PTSD is a mental illness... that doesn't exist, right?

I noticed that when he left the restaurant, this guy who doesn't believe in service animals or mental illness had a pro-gun sticker on the back of the car, and I hate to jump to conclusions here, but I have a feeling that his excuse for school shootings is not because of the gun, but because the shooter clearly had problems. Mental problems. But also mental illness doesn't exist, right?

I deal with people like this too often – they can't keep their stories straight and they have no regard for the people around them. All this man knew was that he didn't want to eat around a dog but did not think about what that woman's life would look like without it.

She definitely wouldn't be at the restaurant alone eating. She would need to hire a person and pay a lot of money to have a permanent companion to help her throughout the day. And she would lose all sense of individuality and freedom if she needed to be followed around by a nurse. If she has gotten around this far with her dog, why can't she continue?

I understand that eating around animals in a public place might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if that animal is necessary to help someone live through their day, you need to put your preference aside for their necessity. If someone else in the restaurant is allergic to said service animal, as a worker, I will be more than happy to move some seats around or offer any aid.

But I will never and could never ask someone to leave who needs to have a service dog, cat, or any other type of animal with then. Those people in need have every right to be there, and if you don't like it, you can leave. No one is holding you hostage and you can do what makes you happy.

In this article, I'm not even going to touch on this guy's stupidity after saying mental illness doesn't exist. I'll tap into that another day but for now, we are only going to focus on service animals here.

If you're confused about the law, please brush up on some resources, such as this one from ADA, UpServe, and Restaurant.org.

If you're confused about ethics and basic human decency, well, I can't help you there but I hope you learn patience, understanding, and compassion for people one way or another. Perhaps watch this documentary about service animals or even, try having a conversation with someone who needs one. There's no better way to learn about someone than actually speaking with them.

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Top 10 Cutest Cat Breeds

These cat breeds are super cute and underrated.
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It seems that the only breeds anyone can actually recognize are those of dogs, cats really don't get enough recognition. There is just as much of a variety of cat breeds as there are of dog breeds, almost anyway, and they deserve love and recognition as well. So, here are the top 10 cat breeds I've deemed as the absolute cutest!

1. Exotic Persian

Exotic Persian cats are one of the cutest breeds in my opinion. Theses are the squished faced cats. The cats that perpetually look grumpy and disappointed. They're also super high-maintenance and believe you're supposed to cater to their every whim. Which, to be fair, you are.

2. Scottish Fold

Scootish Folds are super adorable because they're very unique. They're ears fold over, making them always appear to be begging you for something. They also always look a little bit sad, which, of course, only makes you love them more.

3. Himalayan

Himalayan cats are just magnificent and so prestigious. These cats are fluffy, deserve the best, and expect nothing but the best.

4. British Shorthair

I'm not sure what it is about these cats that makes them so adorable, but my roommate has tried to describe them as "fat and sassy." - Delaney Pulice. She's not wrong. They're pretty chubby and look like they're just a little bit too good for you. In all honesty, what cat isn't too good for us?

5. Maine Coon

These cats are particularly wonderful because they can be giant. I mean, giant. These cats can grown into the sizes of large dogs, which, of course, if everything we could all ever ask for in a cat. Who wouldn't want a giant cat that could probably double as a pillow?

6. Persian

These cats are only a little bit different from Exotic Persians, but there's a difference. Persians tend to have less squished face than Exotics, but every cat is different. The one above is a Silver Persian. He had to eat his food off of a plate because his flat face couldn't fit in a cat food bowl.

7. Munchkin

These tiny little guys never really grow much. Their legs are perpetually short and stubby, making them the ideal cats, because, if you had a choice, wouldn't you want your cat to be either giant like a Maine Coon or tiny like a Munchkin cat? Of course you would.

8. Siberian

These cats are just generally beautiful. They have long, shiny, fluffy coats and are just pretty cats. Plus, they look super cuddly, like they might purr for hours if you brushed them.

9. British Longhair

Another just simply beautiful cat. When you see those posts online that say "This cat is prettier than I am," yeah, that's these cats. They have long, soft coats as well that they like to keep clean. And as all cats do, they look like they're just a little bit above us and we have to cater to them.

10. Ragdoll

Finally, we have Ragdoll cats. These cats look a bit like fluffier Siamese cats. Which, let's face it, Siamese cats aren't necessarily the cutest. However, if you just add a lot of fluff, because the fluffier the better, they become much cuter.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Branch

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The Grief Of Losing A Pet Is Like Losing A Child And It's Never Easy To Say Goodbye

When you've been best friends since middle school, it's hard to say goodbye.

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Losing a best friend is hard no matter what species they are. Friends are the family you get to choose and sometimes their deaths are worse than others. With pets, you're used to seeing them daily and they are the friends who love you more than their own lives. The loyalty of a pet surpasses those of human friends more than half the time. For those who can't have children, it feels like you've lost a child. They say don't blink and your child is an adult, it's the same with pets and their greying faces. I blinked and lost my best friend the next day. The last I saw him, he was sleeping in his doggie bed. People go through experiences differently and sometimes you pour that love into that animal or human then you lose them. Pet parents have the right to grieve as human parents.

My family lost our dog on April 2nd and he was around 15 years old. When I was in sixth grade, we were looking for a family dog. My brother and I had convinced my parents that we were ready for a dog. My mom had grown up with small dogs and my dad had grown up with large dogs. The compromise was that we would get a small dog because my other brother is afraid of dogs and it would make him uncomfortable due to him having Autism. We searched for months; we went to animal shelters. We knew we wanted a small dachshund, and we weren't going to compromise on that. Fast forward to the day we saw our dog. My cousin had told my mom that a friend of hers was giving away an adult dachshund. The dog came in and sat down next to my autistic brother then my brother started to pet him. From that moment, my mom knew that was our dog.

Losing a special dog like that is like being shot in the chest. I know that he's in a better place where he is running around as if he is a puppy again. I've lost a lot of pets over the course of my life, but that dog has been a constant in my life. Having my family and my dog is like having my security blanket and now part of that blanket is torn. No matter what people say, it's okay to grieve over a lost pet. People go through experiences differently and sometimes you pour that love into that animal or human then you lose them. Pet parents have the right to grieve as human parents. I wished could have hugged him one last time.

I know he was old, but up until a month ago, he was doing fine. He was eating and walking to the best of his ability. He was there to greet me every time I would come home from school, dance, and Orlando. He was my snuggle bug when I went through my first break up and my first/only broken engagement. He was there when we lost my grandma, so he's been with us through a lot of heartbreak. He was the one that we could pick up to lay in our lap and he'll let us pet him as long as we want. He would bark at bikes and random strangers in the backyard. He was a wannabe guard dog with a heart of gold.

I will say this once more, It's okay to grieve over a lost pet and the grief can be as strong as losing a child.

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