Clerk gets lesson in privacy from owner of a service dog

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I was in a retail store with my service dog. The clerk asked me what kind of service dog she was and I replied, “She’s my service dog.” She kept pressing me as to exactly why I have one, so I asked her if she was inquiring about my disability. When she said, “Yes,” I politely informed her that federal HIPAA laws protect my right to privacy. Please let your readers know how to be around a person and their service animal: 1. You do NOT have the right to ask about the person’s disability. . Most people prefer strangers not know their medical condition. The dog may be for PTSD, a hearing or seeing dog, or to alert the person to a medical emergency. 2. Children (and adults) need to understand that when service animals’ jackets go on, the dogs know it’s time to go to “work,” and they take their job seriously. If a child rushes a service dog, the animal may react badly. 3. You may ask to pet the dog, but don’t assume it will be allowed. If given permission, the dog should be scratched under the chin ONLY. -NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS DEAR N.O.Y.B.: Accor-ding to the Americans With Disabilities Act website (ada.gov): “Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability.”

DEAR ABBY: I have been friends with a woman for the last 30 years. Our children are the same age. My daughter, who is in her late 20s, has a number of tattoos on her arm that she can cover with clothing if she chooses. However, she doesn’t cover them often because she likes them and they mean something to her.

Recently, I showed my friend a picture of my daughter that showed one of the tattoos on her upper arm. My friend said, “Oh, I am so sorry about the tattoo,” and proceeded to cover the tattoo with her hand, implying that my daughter would be attractive if it weren’t for the body art. I was shocked.

I have always been supportive of my friend’s children and have never criticized any of them, even though I haven’t agreed with everything they have done. I was so hurt by her comment that I was speechless. I’m not sure I can continue the relationship feeling this way. But I’m hesitant to lose a 30-year friendship over something I might be overblowing. Am I being too sensitive? How do I resolve this? — COMPLETELY THROWN BY THIS

DEAR THROWN: For a friendship of 30 years to end over one thoughtless comment would be sad for both of you. Sometimes people say things without thinking, and this is an example. Resolve your feelings by talking to her in person and telling her how deeply hurt you were by what she said. It will give her the chance to apologize and make amends.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Sue Roush, sroush@amuniversal.com.)

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Started working with the Press in the Circulation Department in 2006 and moved to Editorial in 2008. Previously worked in Circulation and Advertising at the Asbury Park Press.

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