I am writing to express my concern over possible discrimination and totally uncalled-for closing of Pet Paradise in Rio Rancho.

My dogs have gone to this facility for over 19 years, and the employees were complying with the social distancing mandates: No one in or out. Employees would come to your vehicle, take the dog and bring it back to the car at the end of the day.

Today (Wednesday), while my dog was there and playing in the pool with other dogs, Pet Paradise employees called to tell me that they were contacted by a State Police officer and told they had to close except for first responders and health-care workers. What about people who work at Intel, food service or car repair? The list goes on.

My dog is a therapy dog and as such should be considered a health-care worker.

Before the virus, she was visiting hospitals and nursing homes, and went to an elementary school once a week for three first-graders to read to her. She also went to Barnes and Noble, colleges for stress relief and to the high school when they had exams scheduled.

Since the virus and closing of school, hospitals and nursing homes, she cannot perform her work as a therapy dog and Pet Paradise was her stress relief.

I feel the decision to close this facility should be re-examined. It is, after all, a form of discrimination.

Yes, I agree health-care workers and first responders — which I consider my dog to be part of — are important, but so are others working in essential industries who do not fit in that category.

Candace E. Sanchez

Rio Rancho