Jacob Roloff thought he was sharing a cute social media post when he uploaded a picture of his dog. The image that he shared on Instagram showed the celebrity hugging his beloved pooch and snuggling with her. Although fans swooned over the image, some were appalled that Roloff called his dog, Luna, a “service animal” when in reality, she had not received the grueling training required to give a dog such a title.
“I have loved this dog for almost seven years,” Roloff wrote. “She has been my companion, my protector, my buddy, my confidant, my soother, my peacemaker. My service animal. My lovely Luna, who without regard for the cliché, has done as much rescuing of me as I of her.”
Because Roloff decided to call Luna his service animal, fans were quick to point out his error. A service animal is a trained animal that helps people navigate the world. People who rely on service animals need dogs in their lives because they can help them with any number of tasks. Service animals can help guide the blind, they can help warn an epileptic that they’re about to have a seizure, and they can help veterans struggling with PTSD cope with their debilitating symptoms.
While most people shared their adoration for Roloff’s dog, Luna, some were eager to point out the actor’s mistake by calling her a service animal.
“Beautiful pup Jacob. Because I know you can take feedback at face value and reflect, I encourage you to look into the definitions of service animals versus emotional support pets. I could be wrong, but I don’t know that your terminology is correct. Sadly, this is a much-abused system, and I always want people to join me in learning more.”
Despite the comment, Roloff lashed back with a pointed comment that eviscerated his fan’s concerns.
“I have received similar messages many times, yes. In the US, service animal is the broader term that includes emotional support and emotional service animals. Service animals are not federally required to be ‘certified’ by any recognized body, thankfully, but are still service animals if the animal is trained to ‘do’ something in response to physical, psychological, or emotional stresses. Abuse of the system is real but by no means a reason to curtail or overly-restrict the system itself, in my opinion.”
Although Jacob Roloff might sound like he knows what he is talking about, technically, he was incorrect. According to the industry standard, Americans with Disabilities Act National Network, a service dog is “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability,” and emotional support animals or therapy animals are “not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals.”
However, Roloff’s dog still provides him so much support. The actor recently came forward with allegations that he was molested by a producer while on the set of Little People, Big World when he was a young child. His Luna can help him cope with the trauma of that sexual assault.
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