...or, "Love me -- Love my Dog."
Many of us know that current laws protect the rights of certain disabled persons (such as the blind) when it comes to bringing your "service animal" along with you as you travel. Hotels and motels, restaurants, and other public businesses are required to allow you equal access to their establishments, within the guidelines set forth by the ADA. For a nice FAQ on those guidelines, and how a business owner must comply, see here. For the rest of us (abled and disabled alike) a pet is often not just a simple animal. They also offer us comfort, support and companionship. They are a beloved member of our family.
For someone with a cognitive or emotional disability, a "pet" can be an anchor to stability (or at least familiarity) while on an extended road trip or vacation.
Some disabled people live in near isolation, and for them, the idea of being separated from their "best friend" is unbearable, even if it is only for a few days. What if you have no close by friends or family who can shelter your pet while you're away? You could just stay at home... or, you could try and find a hotel at your destination which will love your dog as much as you do. Thankfully, that's no longer as hopeless a task as it used to be.
Allow me to introduce you to DogFriendly.com. Dog Friendly provides a service that any pet owner will immediately appreciate... they collect data on hotels and motels which have "open door" policies that include your dog (and sometimes cats too.) This can save you a lot of work and worry if you're planning to take Fido on your next family vacation. They offer online searches, guides, a newsletter, and even a blog for tips and tricks of the trade for dog lovers. Oh, and yes, it's free.
So, as vacation season rapidly comes upon us, give DogFriendly.com a closer look. You'll be glad you did. Just be sure if you're planning to take your furry friend on a long cross-country trek that you make allowances for his (or her) special needs. Food, water, frequent stops for "rest" and most important of all, remember that dogs don't wear seat belts. Drive safely!
This Just In: Blog visitor Amy was kind enough to let me know of yet another great resource out there called GoPetFriendly.com. Not only do they provide up-to-date info about Pet Friendly accommodations, but they also have information on just about anything else you might need if you plan to travel with your pet... er, best friend. I was very impressed with their site, and I think you will be too. Thanks Amy!