Rory Diamond, the CEO of K9s for Warriors, shed some light on the difficulties retired veterans face when traveling with their pets, particularly when it comes to air travel, reported NPR.
"Most of our graduates would rather not fly. We realize that their life is getting smaller because of fake and poorly trained dogs and we want their life to be big. We want them to have every opportunity," Diamond said.
As a non-profit organization, K9s for Warriors trains, and pairs service dogs with retired veterans. Based on their website, service dogs who graduate from K9s are specially trained to help veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma. As one may have noticed, K9s service dogs are trained to help deal with impairments that are not physically apparent, otherwise called invisible injuries. As a result, these furry little heroes are classified as psychiatric service dogs.
Emotional support animals and psychiatric service dogs are often clumped together and misunderstood. However, there is a difference between the two. One significant difference is that the American Disabilities Act protects and recognizes psychiatric service dogs as animals who offer support and perform tasks for individuals with a disability. Emotional support animals are not recognized as service animals.
This distinct difference between any service dog and emotional support animals is a line most establishments can't seem to understand, especially airlines. As a result, people with emotional support animals often take advantage of the ADA's definition of service animals to gain access to certain privileges reserved for people with disabilities and their service dogs.