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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nashua T.J. Maxx banishes marathon bombing survivor’s service dog

NASHUA – What started out as a stop on an afternoon shopping trip to Nashua on Thursday suddenly descended into a stressful encounter for Lowell, Mass., resident Sydney Corcoran when a manager at T.J. Maxx told the 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing survivor she couldn’t walk her service dog into the store.

Corcoran, who adopted Koda to help her deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder with which she was diagnosed in the wake of the explosions in which she suffered leg injuries, told Boston television station WCVB that the manager at the T.J. Maxx clothing store told her she needed to put Koda in a shopping cart or she would have to leave. ...

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NASHUA – What started out as a stop on an afternoon shopping trip to Nashua on Thursday suddenly descended into a stressful encounter for Lowell, Mass., resident Sydney Corcoran when a manager at T.J. Maxx told the 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing survivor she couldn’t walk her service dog into the store.

Corcoran, who adopted Koda to help her deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder with which she was diagnosed in the wake of the explosions in which she suffered leg injuries, told Boston television station WCVB that the manager at the T.J. Maxx clothing store told her she needed to put Koda in a shopping cart or she would have to leave.

Shaken, Corcoran said she picked up Koda and left.

“I was ready to burst into tears,” she said.

She then called her mother, Celeste Corcoran – who lost both her legs in the bombings – to tell her what happened.

Celeste Corcoran headed to the Nashua store, where she confronted the unidentified manager.

“She said, ‘I’m sorry,’ but I said that’s not good enough,” Celeste Corcoran said.

“ ‘You should have known. You just made someone with an emotional disorder so much worse.’ ”

A T.J. Maxx spokesman told WCVB on Friday that the company deeply regrets the incident and that it is reaching out to its stores to make sure managers and employees are aware of the laws covering service dogs.

It wasn’t immediately clear which of Nashua’s two T.J. Maxx stores Corcoran visited.

Mother and daughter reported the incident to TJX Cos., the parent company of the T.J. Maxx chain, and received an apology.

According to WCVB, Koda was wearing his service dog vest on Thursday.The Corcorans said that shouldn’t matter. The vest is not required by federal law.

“The public needs to be aware that service dogs are lifelines for many people,” Celeste Corcoran told the TV station.

Sydney Corcoran said Koda “is crucial to everyday life for me now,” adding that the dog’s calming presence has helped her sleep better.

“It was so hard to fall asleep. … My mind would go into overdrive,” she said. “I’ve been sleeping much better since I got Koda.”