The Only Thing That Could Divert My Attention From the Final Episode of Project Runway (A Veteran’s Tale)

28 Oct

First, I had a few possible titles for this post including The World’s Worst Boss; The Most Insensitive Person on the Planet; How to Screw Over a Veteran in One Easy Step, and a few others that are not fit for print.

A Service-Disabled Veteran asked me today if we had a policy regarding Service Dogs for our employees. I replied that if it were up to me, we’d all have dogs at work, and that Service Dogs were not only welcome, but also legally protected – as are their owners.

During the course of our conversation, I learned that this 10-Year Combat Veteran of the U.S. Army, who currently works for the Veterans Administration AT a VA Hospital in Ohio serving Veterans just got his own Service Dog to assist with his disability. This is not unusual; many Vets have Service Dogs and I’m sure that there are many who work for the VA who also have Service Dogs.

So, imagine my shock when he revealed that his boss told him that the VA was not bound by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and that he was NOT permitted to have his new companion at the office. 

Surely, I said, people are not that dense. How, I asked, can someone who works for the VA not be aware of the ADA? It is their livelihood to protect and assist our Veterans – not to make their lives difficult.

Here’s the issue – he does not have a physical disability. He has PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Because he has an “invisible” injury, this shrew wants to know exactly what this dog can do. I told  him to tell her that she typed, filed, and fetched coffee on command. My co-worker was less congenial, she said to tell her the dog’s job was to bite her in the ass.

His Doctor prescribed the dog as a part of his therapy and recovery. Cruella Deville has decided that it is her job to override the professional. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. He indicated that he had been advised by others to retain counsel. Easier said than done, this is a man making a modest salary with a family and a wife who stays home to raise their children. Money for legal fees is not something they keep lying around for a rainy day.

I’ve offered to call in a few favors and get the ball rolling on an Amendment to the ADA that prohibits anyone from discriminating against service dogs for unseen injuries. If anyone knows an attorney or firm in Ohio who would take this case pro bono should he wish to pursue this legally, please let me know. Litigation is not something I mention lightly; as a rule, I’m against lawyers and their blood-sucking ways, but this case is different. We are speaking of discrimination against an entire class of people. People who have served our Country proudly and made personal sacrifices that the rest of us can never comprehend. As our Warriors return home, we are going to see more incidents of PTSD, not fewer. And more doctors are likely to see the value of Service Dogs in their treatment.

In the meantime, we’ve made him – and his dog – an offer to come to work for us. AT the same VA Hospital. And Cruella can’t do a damn thing about his new girl coming to work with him if he does.


Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Service Dogs, VA, Veterans


2 responses to “The Only Thing That Could Divert My Attention From the Final Episode of Project Runway (A Veteran’s Tale)

  1. P. Henry Saddleburr

    October 29, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Whoa! Project Runway??? Crikey! I thought you’d blown a gasket with that title, but you snared me instead.

    This is a worthwhile crusade and I’d like to say that I can’t believe some brainless bureaucrat could be so heartless, but that would be disingenuous. Think Major Frank Burns.

    We’ll try to figure out a way to shame them into relenting while we figure out a way to toss up a tip jar.

    Honestly. I don’t know why dogs aren’t welcome pretty much everywhere. I have my dog Liberty in my office every day.

  2. Veteran

    November 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Wow what wonderful people me and my family are about to have in our lives. (Well if I pass 😉 )

    Still working with the people that I think don’t like having a dog in the work place. Let me tell you, the few months I have had my dog have been great. My service dog knows that I am stressing out and comes to me. She has a lot more training to do and I am excited to do it. She knows when a panic attack is coming or when I am uncomfortable in public.

    Well now to the good stuff a few comments I have gotten from Cruella are “that being disabled and rated from the VA does not mean I am disabled and they just gave me that to make up for a loss of income”. Not True!!!!! I told her that I am service connect for PTSD (and other things) for my time in Combat time in Iraq and she had the nerve to tell me that “it has nothing to do with combat”. I had nothing to say to that because I was shocked what was coming out of her mouth.

    I am very confused on how they are acting with this. I have everything a normal employer would get if someone was requesting to bring in a service dog. I have a doctors letter stating that a service dog is needed for my ongoing treatment and my service dog is needed at my work place. Well that is not good enough for them and telling me that will be turning down my request to bring her in.


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