A Massachusetts diner owner is looking like a Class A idiot right now. Over the weekend, an Iraqi war veteran named James Glaser showed up for breakfast with his service dog ... and got kicked out of the restaurant.
According to Glaser, the owner of the Big I Diner refused to believe that his dog, Jack, is a true service dog, even when he explained he suffers from PTSD after more than 20 years in service to our country and showed off the pup's certification.
And it gets worse.
Glaser says Big I’s owner, Russell Ireland, mocked him for needing the support of a dog to eat breakfast. After telling him to "get that (expletive) fake service dog out of here," Ireland later said, "How much emotional support do you need when you are eating breakfast."
Ireland has since apologized -- although predictably not until after the disabled veteran went public with his story and threatened to file a complaint under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The matter seems to be resolved ... at least for this one veteran.
But America, let's just consider this your wake-up call.
Not only are service dogs serious, but PTSD is not a laughing matter!
The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates as much as 20 out of every 100 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom) suffer from PTSD. That number rises to 30 percent of Vietnam vets. And no wonder -- a look at the statistics from Afghanistan and Iraq show as much as 97 percent of Marines report being shot at, 95 percent of folks in the Army report seeing dead bodies.
Then consider this from the VA:
VA data show that from 2002 to 2009, 1 million troops left active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan and became eligible for VA care. Of those troops, 46% came in for VA services. Of those Veterans who used VA care, 48% were diagnosed with a mental health problem.
Those are big numbers. And for servicemen and women suffering with PTSD, it's a big problem.
Some will struggle to hold down a job. Some will see their marriages disintegrate. Some will sink into alcohol or drugs.
This is where treatment comes in, including the use of service dogs. James Glaser says Jack senses when he's panicking, and the dog is trained to wrap his little "arm" around his owner, comforting him. And yes, that can happen anytime ... even over breakfast.
Instead of mocking people who have PTSD, instead of challenging them and the therapies available for them, perhaps it's time we as a country start learning about what is going on with our soldiers and how to HELP them ... instead of making life 10 times harder for them back home.
Check out this vet and his service dog:
Do you think it's fair for veterans like James to bring their dogs into restaurants?
Image via Fox 25