Jamie Freeze Baird
Disabled veteran and his service dog denied entry
By Jamie Freeze Baird
December 8, 2013

Saturday, my husband, an honorably discharged disabled combat veteran, went to a new store to look around. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, and we recently acquired a service dog, "Ichiban," that my husband has been training. Little "Ichi" helps my husband combat anxiety and other issues associated with PTSD. Without Ichi, my husband's PTSD and anxiety would prevent him from enjoying a normal life.

We've taken Ichi to many places the VA hospital, restaurants, grocery stores, the mall, etc. and we've never had an issue. Until today.

When we walked into the business, the guy behind the front counter said, "You can't have that dog in here."

My husband replied, "Oh, he's a service dog," as he pointed to Ichi's tag that identifies him as a service dog in training.

The man replied, "I don't care! The last service dog that was in in here [expletive] on my floor. You'll have to take him outside."

So we left.

But that's not where this story ends.

Many soldiers come home with visible wounds. Most soldiers come home with invisible wounds like PTSD and anxiety disorders. Would a business owner ask an amputee to leave his prosthesis outside? Of course not. So why is it deemed acceptable to ask a man with PTSD to leave his service dog – his source of comfort and healing – outside?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects my husband from discrimination, but not every business or organization honors that Act. Clearly, the business in question tonight believed the Act was negotiable.

My husband's service to his country and subsequent battle scars are not negotiable. Today, we didn't argue and we didn't cause a scene. But I refuse to stay silent and let discrimination against people with disabilities flourish. PTSD is real. Support from service dogs is real. It's time every business respects that.

© Jamie Freeze Baird


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Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.


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