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.
Quick quiz to determine if your dog is a legally-protected service animal:
Did you answered yes to ANY of the even numbered questions? Your dog may not be a legally protected service animal.
At Adventure Refined, we do love animals and we love dogs in particular. My whole family would agree that the vital role of dogs in our lives should not be minimized. A few year's ago, my husband almost died from a rare, sudden spine infection. After he was released from the hospital he was weak and unable to function normally. Our Thor never left his side and provided weeks of protective, doting attention and aide.
For my dad's PTSD, for my son's anxiety, for more than one teenage broken heart, our dogs have provided ready, willing, constant relief. But our dogs are pets.
On the other hand, I have observed legitimate service dogs as they lead the blind, calm panic attacks, aid the paralyzed, signal dangerous blood sugar, alert prior to epileptic seizures. I recognize that persons diagnosed with disabilities and reliant upon the work or task of a true service animal should have the freedom to be with that dog at all times.
I've also observed and experienced what it takes to train a true service animal. I've seen the frustration of trainers who spend years training these individual animals only to have their work minimized by online certifiers looking to make a quick buck -- all the while minimizing the legitimacy of these necessary, highly-trained, professional animals.
For that reason, we take the Americans with Disabilities Act very seriously. We respect the law, just as we respect authentic service animals and the people they aid.
Below is our full service animal and pet policy.
Please note that pets require approval and a fee. You can access a copy of the pet approval form here.
We comply with ADA requirements regarding Service Animals. A service animal is one which is trained to do specific work or perform a specific task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Your service animal is welcome at any time but we do need to be notified in advance since some of our spaces (balconies, foyers, garage, etc) are shared and we need to be good neighbors.
Pets which provide emotional support, well being, comfort or companionship are not recognized as service animals under ADA guidance and must be hosted under our pet policy.
House Rules for Pet and Service animals: