(112) Reason to Celebrate: Another Legal Victory for Veterans and their Service Dogs

 Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

The headlines read, “Vet wins service-dog trial.” We celebrate this victory thanks to Juan Alonzo-Miranda and his service dog, Goldie, who took on Schlumberger Technology Corp. of Texas for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Alonzo-Miranda’s attorney commented to the San Antonio Express-News, “Today is a blue-ribbon day for America and the veterans who have protected us. San Antonio can be proud to be the place that lit the way for our veterans who suffer PTSD and who served us so well in war, and now want to serve us in peace.”

Alonzo-Miranda received a settlement of $5,386.50 for lost overtime wages due to his employer’s failure to provide reasonable accommodations for his disability. He also received $23,205 in compensatory damages for pain and suffering.

Veteran Alonzo-Miranda served two tours in Iraq as a Marine and one with the Texas National Guard. The San Antonio Express-News reported that he was honored for fighting in some of the war’s fiercest combat. He served as a mechanic on large oil field equipment when employed by Schlumberger.

Goldie is an eight-year old female Labrador mix trained for PTSD services by the nonprofit organization, Train a Dog-Save a Warrior. According to court documents, Alonzo-Miranda’s employer required him to submit a number of medical reports and documentation explaining why he needed the dog at work and what other accommodations could be made instead of the service animal. ADA does not permit an employer to make such a request. It took Schlumberger six months to approve Alonzo-Miranda’s request to bring his service dog to work. The company terminated his employment shortly after he filed the lawsuit.

Juan Alonzo-Miranda joins Veteran Jeffrey Crockett in Miss Molly’s Golden Paw Award program for daring to challenge the system and prevailing! Because of the courage and tenacity of these two Veterans, life will be a bit easier for other Veterans and their service animals. Truly, news of this victory makes it a good day to celebrate!

Happy Birthday, Miss Molly 

DSCN2301Although August 1 is the date we chose as Miss Molly’s birthday, we celebrate today to share her birthday party with you. We cannot be there when you celebrate your service animal’s birthday so perhaps we can share this day together on behalf of all service dogs. Happy Birthday, Miss Molly, and to all of you wonderful service animals across the country. We know our Veterans rely on you and that you make their lives more manageable.

Miss Molly comments, “Happy Birthday, fellow pup’sters and congrats, Goldie. You give us plenty of reason to celebrate! Bark-outs to you all.”

Post your Comments: 

Do you have a story of a Veteran, who challenged an ADA violation and prevailed? Please reply below. 

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

Sources cited:

  • Danner, Patrick. “Vet wins service-dog trial” in March 23, 2015, San Antonio Express-News as retrieved on July 29, 2015.
  • Danner, Patrick. “Iraq War veteran’s service dog trial set to start” in March 16, 2015, San Antonio Express-News as retrieved on July 29, 2015.

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.