Who needs a therapist when you’ve got a cat?

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Lately I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly had time to think, much less keep up with my blog. Between work and ongoing renovations at home, well… busy is a bit of an understatement. At times I’ve been completely overwhelmed.

But there’s a bright side. I haven’t spent a dime on therapy, anti-anxiety pills or any other medicine, for that matter. There’s no need for any of that. I have a cat.

No matter what’s going on, Eli knows how to make me laugh. Last night, he did it by “hunting” the ribbon I was using as a bookmark. This morning, he brightened my day by chasing a little scrap of paper across our new hardwood floors. It turned out his “toy” was a Chinese fortune that said: “When you begin to coast, you are on the downgrade.”

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Go figure…

When he’s not entertaining me, Eli’s a great listener. He lets me vent without interrupting. In fact, he doesn’t say a word and he always agrees. Unless I raise my voice. Then he bites me. What can I say? He hates angry voices.

Eli also helps me keep my stress in check at work. He makes sure that I get up to pay attention to him every so often. And once he’s had enough of that, he curls up at my feet to keep me company…

He always knows when I’m upset. He knows when I need space, and when I need comfort — and acts accordingly. He lets me cuddle him when I’m sad, and he doesn’t fuss when my tears soak his fur.

Technically, Eli isn’t an emotional support animal or a certified therapy animal. But he’s definitely my “therapy cat.” And I love him to pieces…

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Harassing service animals could soon be illegal in Connecticut

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Pestering or harassing service animals could soon be illegal in Connecticut.

According to published reports, people who rely on service animals to help them engage in the daily activities most of us take for granted have pushed for the legislation now being considered by Connecticut lawmakers.

Back off!

Unfortunately, Bristol resident Christine Elkins recently shared with some Connecticut legislators and the media, many people just don’t respect boundaries when it comes to interacting with service animals and their handlers. Requests to refrain from approaching or petting the animals usually go unheeded, she says. Some people are ignorant… and others are rude, Elkins adds.

For Elkins, it is no laughing matter. As the Associated Press reports, she has “balance and mobility problems.” In her case, the potential ramifications of a fall caused by someone distracting her service dog are frightening.

The current Connecticut law

Current Connecticut law only prohibits other dog owners from allowing their dogs to interact with service animals. Section 22-364b, Control of dogs in proximity to guide dogs, stipulates:

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

“The owner or keeper of a dog shall restrain and control such dog on a leash when such dog is not on the property of its owner or keeper and is in proximity to a blind, deaf or mobility impaired person accompanied by his guide dog, provided the guide dog is in the direct custody of such blind, deaf or mobility impaired person, is wearing a harness or an orange-colored leash and collar which makes it readily-identifiable as a guide dog and is licensed in accordance with section 22-345.”

A violation of section 22-364b is an infraction. However, the law also stipulates that an owner whose failure to control their dog results in an attack on and injury to the guide dog is liable for “any damage done to such guide dog…”  Specifically, the owner is liable for:

  • Vet bills (for treatment and “rehabilitation)
  • The cost of a new guide dog, if necessary
  • “Reasonable” attorney’s fees

Under the proposed law, any person who deliberately interferes with a service animal would be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. The maximum punishment would be three months in prison.

Bill does not prohibit ‘friendly’ interactions

In response to concerns raised by some of their colleagues, Connecticut lawmakers recently changed language in the bill to reflect that it is “only targeting any person who “intentionally interferes” with the service animal’s duties.”

The bill is currently pending review by the House of Representatives.

For information about existing laws in other states, click here.

New year, new laws

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

“The AKC was proud to support this important legislation.” – American Kennel Club

A brand new year always brings changes – some of which are good and some of which we can almost certainly do without. Among them are new laws, some of which affect all of us and some that affect only those of us who live in, visit or travel through certain areas.

In any case, the new rules always get their share of ink and generate plenty of conversation. And that makes for copious blog fodder. Have no fear, I’m hardly about to discuss, or even list, every single law that took effect January 1. In this post, I’ll focus on just one – an act changing the New York State social services law regarding victims of domestic violence and their pets.

Black and white photograph of New York Police Department barriers taken by Alexandra Bogdanovic
NYPD barriers. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The authorized amendment allows those in need of refuge to bring their service or therapy animals to emergency shelters. You can view the full text of the bill  backed by the American Kennel Club that was ultimately signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo here.

On its website, the AKC said it made sense to support the legislation.

“Victims of domestic violence are in a vulnerable and frightening situation, and the practical assistance and comfort that a service/therapy animal provides can be essential,” the organization said. Furthermore, the AKC said that knowing they won’t have to leave their animals behind makes it easier for victims of domestic violence to leave dangerous situations.

For more information about the AKC’s support for the new law and related issues, click here.