It is the policy of Portland Psychotherapy to provide equal access and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to participate in any program, service, or opportunity provided by our center and to comply with applicable law related to service dogs for persons with disabilities. As such, recognized “service dogs”, as defined below, are welcome at Portland Psychotherapy when accompanying their handler. In consideration of the comfort and safety of all those seeking services at our center, we kindly ask that non Portland Psychotherapy employees refrain from bringing a dog or other animal that is not a recognized “service dog” into to the building.
What Is a Service Dog?*
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), a dog is considered a “service dog” if it has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” Also according to the ADA, a ‘disability’ is a “mental or physical condition which substantially limits a major life activity” such as:
- caring for one’s self
- performing manual tasks
- as well as some disabilities that may not be visible, such as deafness, epilepsy, and some psychiatric conditions
A dog is recognized as a “service dog” under the ADA when the following conditions are met:
- The owner or handler has a documented disability as defined under the ADA,
- The dog must be trained to perform a task or tasks that alleviate that disability. To be considered a service dog, that animal must be trained to perform tasks directly related to the person’s disability. According to the ADA, emotional support or therapeutic assistance dogs who do not perform a specific task, but rather provide comfort simply from their presence do not qualify a dog as a service animal (e.g. a dog that helps someone feel less anxious or provides motivation to get out of bed in the morning would not meet this definition of a “service dog”).
- The dog must not alter the environment for others. This means that s/he must be kept on a leash and under the control of the handler at all times in public, must not show signs of aggression, and must be kept quiet and clean.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding our policy, please feel free to talk with your provider or contact Portland Psychotherapy’s Director of Clinical Services, Jenna LeJeune, Ph.D. at 503-281-4852 ext 215, firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Criteria derived in part from the US Department of Justice http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm and Pet Partners http://www.petpartners.org/Service_Animal_Basics.