Ohio Service Dog Awareness Week

This week, we are shining a spotlight on Uber Columbus rider, Chris Cooley, the inspiration behind the Ohio legislature’s establishment of Service Dog Awareness Week (July 24th-July 30th).

We caught up with Chris—and his service dog, Conrad—to give us a bit more information about his efforts to advocate for Ohioans with disabilities and spread awareness about the importance of service dogs.

In your own words, what is Service Dog Awareness Week?

I wanted to educate folks about service dogs and the laws while raising awareness for how service dogs give people freedom and independence. They help folks get out and allow them to go where everyone else goes.

I wanted to help the community understand what service dogs are and encourage folks to welcome them, and open their doors to service dogs. It’s about education and understanding.

You’ve also organized a Service Dog Awareness Walk on Friday, July 29th. Tell us more about it.

The walk was just something that came up. Me and my partner Jess Casamassimo thought, ‘Well, we passed a bill [to create Service Dog Awareness Week] and what’s a better way to educate the community than by getting out there and spreading the word?’

This is our first walk and I plan to walk every year until Service Dog education is where it needs to be! My vision is that other states will adopt this bill and to continue service dog awareness education throughout the entire US. In Ohio, the ADA law is good, we just need people to know about it.

More than anything, this is also a celebration of our dogs and a way to thank them for helping the community be more independent.

What else should we know about service dogs?

I created a “Guide Dog/Service Dog Night Out” Facebook group to educate people about service dogs. For example, about why petting service dogs, or distracting them, can lead to the owner getting misled and hurt, while also raising awareness that service dogs are where general public is allowed to go.

I would love for people to come join us on Facebook. You don’t have to have a service dog to join group outings. Come ask questions and have a good time with us.

In support of Ohio’s Service Dog Awareness Week, we are happy to highlight the work of Chris Cooley to raise awareness for Service Dog accommodation.

Want to get more involved with Ohio’s Service Dog Awareness Week? Join the Ohio Service Dog Awareness Week walk on July 29th at 11am. The group will meet at the Capitol Building by Broad and High Street.


Team Uber Ohio

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