Service Dogs Come to Campus this Fall at TAMIU

Service Dogs on Campus
at TAMIU this Fall

service dogThere are some new faces on campus this Fall at Texas A&M International University and they’re quite furry. They’re TAMIU students’ service dogs.

A service dog is a specially trained assistance dog that is trained to perform tasks to help a person who has a disability. The addition of assistance dogs to the campus has prompted an on-campus change in etiquette.

When coming in contact with service dogs it’s important to follow certain etiquette, because you’re not dealing with just a dog, explained Rita Hernandez, counselor, TAMIU Office of Student Counseling Services.

“It’s proper etiquette to speak to the service dog owner before thinking of greeting the dog. It is also not in the best interest to pet the service dog or touch its owner without asking permission. Touching the service dog might distract it from its work and touching the person might be interpreted as an assault by the service dog, explained Hernandez.

Hernandez said there are certain things one should do when approaching a service dog.

“When coming across the service dog, please resist the temptation to treat the service dog as you would a regular pet. Refrain from offering the dog treats or making noises such as barking, meowing, whistling, and making any other rude noises, it just makes you look silly,” she said.

“If you don’t like dogs or are afraid of them, place yourself away from the service dog. If you are a business owner, discreetly arrange for someone to assist the person. You may ask the person to have the service dog lie down if it does not interfere with its work,” she explained.

“At TAMIU we aim to foster greater awareness both of, and for, persons with disabilities in our multilingual, multicultural and international environment,” said Hernandez.

“Counseling and Disability Services for Students at TAMIU combines its efforts to help students with challenges and disabilities to complete their academic career. Services have been created to make sure that every attempt is made to grant equal access to students with permanent or temporary disabilities, explained Hernandez.

Recently, one of the service dogs, that wear shoes while in service, lost a shoe, prompting a campus-wide search.

For more information, about service dogs at TAMIU, call the Office of Counseling and Disability Services for Students at 326.2230, or visit offices located in the Student Center, room 124.

-- by Student Intern Rebecca Martinez.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu