Life with My Guide Dog: Our Crazy Hotel Adventure

Recently, Nestle (my black Lab guide dog extraordinaire) and I had quite the adventure. We almost got kicked out of a hotel, and there wasn’t even a wild party!

We recently decided to take a quick trip out of town with some good friends. Nestle did her usual thing, guiding me around obstacles and charming everyone we met.

Well, OK…not exactly everyone. That’s the point of this post…

We’d planned this trip in advance, and for a number of reasons, wanted to spend the night at a particular hotel. We arrived about 9:00 in the evening, unpacked and made ourselves comfortable. Shortly after we got to the room, we got a knock on the door from hotel security.

They wanted to know why we had a dog with us.

Naturally, that’s a legitimate question for them to have, so I explained that I am blind and Nestle is a guide dog. No problem, right? Since guide dogs, and other service dogs, are legally allowed to accompany their humans in public places, I thought they’d understand this and I could move on with my life.

Naturally, that wasn’t good enough. Hotel management wanted me to provide legal documentation proving I need my dog with me! Such paperwork doesn’t exist because, well, it’s illegal for businesses to ask for it! However, Nestle does wear a special harness identifying her as a guide dog. But I’d taken it off after we got to our room.

So to fend off the unhappy hotel management, I had to wake up my dog, put her harness on and actually work her for a moment to prove she was an actual guide dog, before the hotel staff would go away and let my friends and me get some sleep. Evidently, the harness was not proof enough. Ultimately, everything worked out for the best, and the remainder of our trip went very smoothly.

Nestle and I rarely experience discrimination like this, but I have heard far more serious tales of woe from other service dog handlers. Access issues are definitely one of the most challenging aspects of working with a service dog. Luckily, most people understand the important work these dogs do, and are happy to welcome them wherever they go.

Have you heard similar stories, or have you had an experience like this if you work with a service animal? Please share below! If you have questions about service dog access, or just want to say hello, feel free to leave me a comment below as well.

Photo Attribution: Dogguides (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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