Ret. Staff Sergeant Daniel Wright’s left arm was badly injured by an IED during his 11 years of military service in the Army and the Marines. Because of this injury, Wright has a registered service dog, a Pit Bull named Tank. Tank has become a crucial part of Wright’s life, helping him achieve some everyday normalcy. And he thought that people understood.
Until this happened…
Last week, Wright was boarding a bus on his way home from school when the bus driver told him that Tank couldn’t board with him, despite the New Jersey Transit system allowing service dogs on their busses. This driver claimed that there were no dogs allowed on board and that Tank needed a muzzle, despite Wright showing the driver Tank’s service tags. The driver drove off, leaving Wright and Tank to wait for another bus to come. And when it did, Wright almost ran into the same issue until he showed the next driver his military ID.
Tank has become an extension of Wright’s left arm, performing tasks for him ranging from pushing elevator buttons to opening up the refrigerator and getting him bottles of water. Wright often loses feeling in his injured arm, making Tank’s help undeniable.
But some people don’t see Tank as a helper; all they see is a Pit Bull.
Service dogs tend to be Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Wright told Fox and Friends, “[People] think those are the only dogs that can be service dogs. Pit Bulls can do the same job.“
He did get an apology from New Jersey Transit, but Wright’s plight raises a bigger issue regarding service animals. It is important that, as a society, we understand that some people depend on service animals to get through the day. If someone has a registered dog helping them, that means that they need that dog. Wright wasn’t out to take advantage of anyone, he was just trying to get home. His story teaches us that service dogs, like people, shouldn’t be judged at first glance.Whizzco