Thirty-three-year old Patrick Stark relies on his service dog Copenhagen since sustaining a brain injury when he was mugged a few years ago. Stark suffers seizures as a result of the injury and is warned of oncoming episodes by his faithful companion.
Which is why he is saddened by a recent experience at a New Jersey convenience store. “Rarely do I get emotional at all, but this was a really sad experience for me,” Stark said.
Copenhagen has saved Stark on numerous occasions, and because of that, the Millville resident says his life would be at risk without him. “At this point, I have so much confidence in him. I would find it impossible to get along without him.”
Two weeks ago, Stark was shopping at the Wawa convenience store near his home. Employees harassed him and accused him of bringing a pet into the store.
“They were saying there’s nothing wrong with you. He’s not a seeing eye dog. Really ignorant things. I tried to reassure them it was service dog and the customers joined in with the yelling. Then I asked who was in charge and I would show them all the paper work she would want,” he said.
Despite the fact that he showed documentation to the manager, Stark and Copenhagen were forced to leave the store.
Wawa has issued an apology and says employees at the store will be retrained in service dog protocols. Stark says he’s considering taking legal action.