An event today on the Independence Square, organized by a Boy Scout, is intended to raise awareness about service dogs.

Gabe Maloney, 16, is working on his Eagle Scout project. He’s been at it for five months, and today’s event caps it off.

The event starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Truman statue on Main Street. Speakers are to include Gabe and others, including Independence City Council Member John Perkins reading a proclamation. Gabe’s service dog – Stanley, a 3-year-old border collie/Australian shepherd mix – will be there too.

Then Gabe and Stanley, along with veterans and their dogs, will visit store owners on the Square to educate them about the do’s and don’ts of service dogs, including how to tell if a dog really is a service animal.

This started, Gabe said, when he was denied entry at a local business because the owner didn’t believe Stanley was a legitimate service dog, and a police officer concurred.

He’s worked with police, firefighters and EMTs, and he’s made presentations to service clubs such as the Lions. He said it’s given him a better understanding of people.

“I’ve learned a lot of patience,” he said.