This past weekend, I attended an 82nd birthday party that was 7 hours away for my family. It was amazing to see 50 relatives from all over the World under one roof. Yet, one relative required the assistance of an emotional support dog, who thankfully assisted her in attending this once in a lifetime event. I loved speaking to her about what she had to do in order to access this special service while staying in a hotel.

First, when reserving this room at the Hampton Inn, she explained to the customer representative that she required an emotional support dog to travel. The person on the phone was caring and made sure to document this special need under her reservation. Unfortunately, the person who checked them in didn’t see the note and gave the emotional family a little push back. So my first piece of advice when using a service dog is to make sure you not only request special accommodations when booking your room but also make a follow up call to remind the staff of your special accommodations, a day or two before the estimated time of arrival.

The families stay was pretty seamless after that with the exception of interacting with other guests. I personally observed one adult pat the dog on the head while a child simultaneously begged to pet the dog while her mom scolded her that you don’t pet service dogs. My family’s vest was not clear in explaining these parameters and I recommended a vest that clearly states how to act around this special dog. Attached is a link to such a vest.

I’m just thankful that in 1990, the American with Disabilities Act legally recognized service dogs and allowed my relative to attend this birthday party. If you want to volunteer to raise a service puppy, here is a link with contact information.