Tulsa Veteran Says Service Dogs Not Like Other Dogs

Tuesday, July 18th 2017, 10:44 pm
By: Justin Shrair

Service dogs are trained to perform life-saving tasks for people who have disabilities.

That means everyone else nees to be aware those dogs are on duty.

Chyanne Smith says it's never a good idea to pet or distract a service dog.

In fact, it may be illegal.

She has a service dog named Meeko and wants people to understand that service dogs need to be focused on the person they serve.

Smith takes Meeko everywhere.

Meeko wears a vest that reads "Service dog/Do not pet."

Smith, who has post-traumatic stress disorder after four years in the Marine Corps, says her service dog is a lifesaver. 

"The Marine Corps paid for him, and it's because I have PTSD. What he does for me is whenever he helps alert when I'm having an anxiety attack," Smith said.

Smith does not allow anyone to pet Meeko, and recently posted on Facebook about an encounter she had in Walmart, where both kids and an adult tried to pet him.

Smith just wants to raise awareness, and for people to understand that service dogs are working and need to stay focused. 

"I want parents and just adults in general to learn that they cannot just come up and touch a service dog or any dog in general cause you don't know what they could do," Smith said.

Marjorie Satterfield is the owner and master trainer for Glad Wags Service Dogs.

Satterfield trains service dogs that perform a variety of tasks.

She says it's imperative that people not pet or interfere with a working dog.

She said not only is it against the law, but also you could potentially cause harm to that person. 

"Just remember that dog could be saving that person's life, and if you're interfering there could be deadly circumstances," Satterfield said.

Those dogs receive serious training. And if you see one out and about, stay away and ignore it. 

"They're life-saving and life-changing," Satterfield said.

"They're working and that no one needs to distract them bother them or just pet them without asking the owners permission," Smith said.

Smith hopes the public has a better understanding of why it's so important to sit back let the service dogs do their work.