A dog is man’s best friend. No truer words have been spoken.
When I was just a young whippersnapper, I had a dog. His name was Rascal. He was my best friend while I traversed my teenage years. We had to put Rascal down when I was fourteen due to a recurring back problem.
That was one of the saddest days of my life. I still remember walking out of the veterinary office and looking at Rascal, who was afraid and looking at me.
When we think of dogs, we think of the unconditional love they can bestow upon their caretaker.
They love us no matter what.
Therefore, when I read this article about a woman who refused Uber service 23 times because she has a dog, I was both frustrated and disappointed.
In this article, I will share Uber’s policy on service dogs and why I feel it is unacceptable to turn down a passenger with a dog. I will also share a story about one of my favorite Uber rides with dogs. Yes, that’s right, with dogs!
Here is the article that bothered me. A blind woman is refused an Uber ride 23 times.
Dogs have two legs more than we do. They have more hair. They have a much better disposition. They never wreak of drugs or tobacco.
In most cases, dogs are more welcome in my car than humans. But apparently, there are drivers out there who feel differently.
Let’s jump in by looking at what Uber says.
1. Uber’s Service Dog Policy
According to Uber and Lyft, we should treat dogs like people.
Here is what Uber’s website has to say:
Service Animal Policy
State and federal law prohibits drivers using the Uber Driver app from denying service to riders with service animals because of the service animals and from otherwise discriminating against riders with service animals.
Uber makes it very clear. If you break the rules, you can be deactivated.
That is a very real deterrent for most drivers. Yet, many still refuse a service dog.
Why? What is it about dogs that some drivers don’t like?
2. Why Do Drivers Say No To Dogs?
While most drivers readily welcome these highly trained canine companions, some express concerns and reservations about allowing service dogs in their cars.
Allergies and Personal Health
Some Uber drivers may hesitate to allow service dogs in their vehicles because of allergies or health-related concerns.
It’s important to recognize that certain drivers may have severe allergies or medical conditions that can be exacerbated by exposure to pet dander or allergens.
For these individuals, the presence of a service dog may pose a risk to their well-being, potentially leading to discomfort, allergic reactions, or even triggering serious health issues.
This is rare and can not account for 23 refusals in six short weeks.
Vehicle Cleanliness and Maintenance
Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene within their vehicles is crucial to an Uber driver’s profession.
Service dogs, like any other pets, can sometimes shed fur, drool, or leave traces of dirt behind, which might require additional effort and resources to clean the vehicle properly.
However, after driving over one hundred dogs during my career (seven years, 29,800 trips), I have only had one dog dirty up my car. It was raining. The owner did not seem to care. I got some paw prints on my back seat.
I filed for a cleaning fee and used the money to clean all my car interiors. Most passengers with a dog are hyper-sensitive to cleanliness and even tell me their dog is clean ahead of time.
We all want a clean car. But I bet those drivers who refuse a dog allow a human that wreaks of pot to sit in their car.
Damage and Liability Concerns
Uber drivers often rely on their personal vehicles to provide ridesharing services. While service dogs are generally well-behaved and trained, there is always a risk of accidental damage to the car, such as scratches, chewing, or shedding.
Additionally, in rare instances, a service dog might become unruly or aggressive, potentially endangering the driver and other passengers. These concerns over potential damage and liability can make some Uber drivers hesitant to accept service dogs as passengers.
Here again, this just does not happen. Service animals are trained for all situations.
They are very docile. Super chill.
If anything like this could happen, it would have happened to me already. It doesn’t.
3. How To Manage Your Dog Experience
As I stated, I prefer dogs to humans.
However, you may be a driver who is super obsessed with your car’s cleanliness. I recommend you carry a blanket in your car.
If you feel the dog may be wet from rain or have dirty paws, you can use your blanket to dry off the dog or clean its feet.
This situation is extremely rare, but there is a solution. If you worry about a smelly dog, keep Ozium in your car. I use it every time I have a human smoker who gets in my car.
They leave, and I spray. Works every time.
I also recommend you talk to the dog as it gets into your car. Show yourself to be a calm and friendly person. I do this, and the dogs always want to lick me.
You can also insist that the dog sits on the ground behind one of the front seats.
This will keep the dog off of the back seat. I don’t mind if the dog jumps on the back seat as long as it sits down. I don’t want the dog to be moving while I am driving. The owners know to keep their dogs calm and quiet for the ride.
4. Dog Story
When I first started driving, I drove in Sacramento. There was one woman who I picked up on three different occasions.
Let’s call her Betty. Betty was blind, so she had a beautiful golden Labrador service dog. He was a big dog. He sat behind me while I drove Betty to her destination.
On my second ride with Betty, her husband joined us. He was also blind. He also had a big golden Labrador service dog. At the time, I was driving a Toyota Prius.
Needless to say, both dogs sat behind the front seat. My human passengers fit in nicely. Off we went. I will never forget the ride as the five of us crammed into my little car and navigated the streets of Sacramento to get to the Arden Fair Mall.
They were the nicest people, and their dogs were remarkably well-behaved. More than any other ride, I felt honored and of service.
5. Show Some Compassion
Nobody wants to have a service dog. Life can be hard. Sometimes we need help, and a service dog often makes one’s life a little better.
Imagine if you were sight impaired. That’s a tough road. And then, imagine some Uber drivers refuse your ride after you have been waiting for pick up.
That is cold. And it is harsh.
I implore you to show some compassion and help out your fellow human. The dog is only there to be helpful.
Any issues you have can be eased with a blanket and some Ozium. Be like me and be happy when you see a dog.
You get to be a good person and be of service.
It is essential to recognize and respect the concerns of Uber drivers, who may hesitate to accommodate service dogs in their vehicles.
While service dogs provide invaluable assistance to their owners, drivers have legitimate reasons for their reservations, including personal health, vehicle cleanliness, and liability concerns.
However, as I have shown, the driver can easily handle all these issues. Is it worth getting deactivated over?
I hope I have flipped your dog discrimination ways and brought you over to the light side. Dogs are awesome. Let them in your car, and you will see.
They mean no harm. They only want to love and be loved. Is that so bad?
Take care, and be safe out there.