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Owner Doesn't Stop Pet From Bothering Service Dog During Flight, Claiming She's 'Very Friendly'

Photo: finnianthegoldie/ TikTok
Dog, Emotional Support Animal, Service Dog

Service dogs play a vital role in society, allowing their disabled owners to lead more independent lives. So, if you ever see a service dog in action make sure not to bother them — they're working!

While humans should know better, other furry friends may not always get the memo as seen in one TikTok that shows a dog trying to interact with a service pet.

When the owner of the service dog shared a video of the incident online, she called out owners of emotional support animals (ESAs) who may not be following the correct rules with their pets.

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The video shows the ESA sniffing and tugging away from its owner, trying to get at the service dog. 

The video was posted by a popular service dog account, Finnian the Goldie (finnianthegoldie). 

Finnian, the service dog, sits calmly at its owner’s feet while the other dog (a supposed ESA) continues to get in Finnian’s space. 

Finnian’s handler, who runs the account, took to their summary section to detail the differences between an ESA and a service dog- and why this situation was not okay.

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“Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and service dogs in training are not service animals and are not covered by the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act)⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣,” the caption reads, also detailing how unfortunately this hasn’t been the first time something like this has happened.

Many people unfortunately confuse ESAs and service dogs when they are two completely different things.

Service dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks for the betterment of their owner, including but not limited to “a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

ESAs, on the other hand, offer emotional support for their owner but are not protected under the ADA.

Service dogs require specific training that most ESAs aren’t required to go through. 

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Finnian’s handler, unfortunately, recounts that these sorts of encounters like the video above have happened more frequently in recent years due to many confusing the two animals, also detailing that it can put service dog’s lives at risk when they come in contact with a ‘ESA’ who hasn’t been properly trained. 

“⁣⁣⁣We’ve had these kind of interactions with ‘service animals’ too often since the law changed in 2020 and it’s really alarming the number of ESAs that suddenly became [service dogs] with zero training.”

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Users were both outraged and confused about the situation. 

Of course, it’s easy to get the two mixed up if you aren’t familiar with the terms but many were failing to see the severity of the situation, claiming that this was okay in their eyes. 

“All dogs should be allowed on flights not in cargo, use any loophole you need,” one user commented. 

“I understand your frustration, but my frustration is that there are no options for medium/large dogs other than cargo!” another user commented. 

But people were quick to shut down these users. 

“I agree they should be in the cabin but NEVER claim a service animal that isn’t a legit service animal,” one person replied. 

So why does this matter?

The biggest thing people fail to realize is that if a proper service animal is distracted, it could distract them from an emergency situation and prevent them from saving their handler.

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Victoria Soliz is a writer with YourTango who covers news and entertainment content. Her work explores pop culture trends, film and TV, and celebrity news