Woman with Service Dog Denied Treatment at Two Mississauga Clinics


Published September 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm


For people who need them, service dogs are generally supposed to make life easier. But that wasn’t the case this past weekend for Mississauga woman Christine Coutts.

According to a recent article from CityNews, Coutts claims she was denied service at two walk-in clinics in Mississauga. The reason: Her service dog Autumn, an Australian Shepherd that’s trained to help her with seizures, anxiety disorders, and also acts as a guide dog since Coutts is blind in one eye.

Coutts said that on Sunday she visited MCI The Doctor’s Office at Mississauga West for her back and breathing issues. The doctor told her she would need to keep her dog outside.

“I said I have disabilities that allow me to have this service dog, and by law he has to accept me like a wheelchair or cane, and he said he has a mental disability and he’s afraid of dogs,” Coutts told CityNews.

Coutts then went to the Multi-Specialty Walk In Clinic on Queensway, where she said she had to wait several hours before a doctor was willing to see her.

“He didn’t understand how I could be denied treatment with a service dog, and he took me in gladly,” she told CityNews. “He even asked to pet my service dog as an apology.”

The situation was frightening for the 24-year-old woman, and she hopes no one else has to deal with the same experience. “Sometimes my seizures are just focal, so I get really confused and Autumn keeps me really grounded. She’s the only familiar thing when I’m in a strange place.”

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