Is your dog your co-pilot like mine is?
Maybe your dog helps you relieve stress, reduce anxiety or even eases the symptoms of your PTSD. In our family, dogs have filled all of those roles. And like you, I recognize the importance of our dogs' roles in completing our family. In fact, I can't imagine our lives--or our stress and anxiety levels-- without the dogs we've loved over the years.
But are our dogs pets? Or are they service animals, protected by law and allowed to travel freely, regardless of pet/animal policies? You may be surprised to learn that having a certification from an online company, or even having a letter from your doctor does not mean that your dog is a legally protected service animal.
If you know me at all, you know that I love animals of all types. On our ranch we have goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys. We've even had pigs and peacocks. But above all these creatures great and small, I love my dog, Thor, and our new puppy, Pepper, the most. Whenever possible, they travel with us on all of our trips.
So when we started hosting, we naturally allowed pets to stay in our homes. Our dogs travel with us, so why wouldn't I allow other pet people to visit our homes with their pets?
When I was a teenager with permed hair, neon cropped t-shirts, and Hammer pants, I cleaned villas on Hilton Head Island for pocket money.
Back then, Hilton Head was a sleepy, upscale resort, with a year-around population of 8,000 and a tourist influx of a bazillion high-end tourists each year. Gas was $1.25 a gallon. There was 1 traffic light. But cleaning up after guests was still a chore.
As a college student and young woman, I went on to admin level jobs at hotels and villa complexes and realized how important checklists are to standardize cleaning and maintenance tasks and to ensure quality control.