Recently one of my best friends received the backing of her doctor for a service dog. The thing that's really frustrating me is that it seems everyone has an opinion about whether or not she actually needs one because it's NOT anyone's business. One's need for a service animal is not your business because their medical situation is NOT YOUR business.
Not only that but she recently had an encounter with an older lady who asked her about the dog and then proceeded to say "Well you don't look like you need a service dog." Like seriously that's not any of your business. The handler of the animal has absolutely no need to justify their need of said animal. That's their private business.
First off there is a large variety of conditions that constitute one needing a service animal but absolutely none of them are your business. You wouldn't go up and ask someone in a wheelchair why they need a service animal so the same to apply to anyone who has one.
Also on that note when you see an animal in the red vest that says SERVICE that is not an invitation to pet them. I know dogs are adorable and everyone wants to give them pets and love but they have an important job they are doing. Getting pets from strangers distracts them from the important task they are performing. Trust me when I say that the handler is giving that good girl or boy plenty of love.
On the note of petting without permission it's not ok to distract a dog that may literally be allowing their owner to be safe from their task. For one it's illegal to do so. For another, petting a dog can be dangerous for you, not just service ones. You never know a dog's background and should therefore always ask permission sometimes it's ok and other times the owner probably has a great reason as to why they are not allowing you to pet their dog.
This also goes along with calling the dog or trying to distract them. Many service dogs are trained by the handler as buying one already trained costs an arm and a leg. The handler will spend months and sometimes years training their dogs to perform the necessary tasks that make everyday life easier.
Following this, watch the careless comments. The "I wish I could take my dog everywhere too" is not at all appreciated. In fact one it comes out condescending as it sounds like the person just brings their dog everywhere with them. Also no, you really don't because the person with their service dog has a debilitating situation that makes it so they physically would not be able to do simple tasks without this animal. For another thing, bringing a service dog also means the handler has to think about their needs. The same care that goes into caring for a family pet goes into caring for a service dog. They have to use the bathroom, eat and be given attention.
At the end of the day, all of these points shouldn't be needed to convince you that a service animal need is NOT YOUR BUSINESS.