Accommodating Service Animals

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

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Accommodating Service Animals

PCMA Convening Leaders 2023 Convention


The service animals. She's asking, "What would you provide for people using service animals?" And as you know, they're they're required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. So, we have to have a space for the service animals for relief. Today is cold. Would they go outside? Is there a park area? Yes. So they could still go outside. However, I've talked to some people who said my dog will not go in the snow or the ice. They will hold it. Another person said, "we go to the airport where the indoor relief stations are." If you've ever seen them, go look at them. Take a picture of them. They have usually Astroturf there, and maybe a fire hydrant and some water. And he says, "my dog will not use the indoor relief stations because they don't smell so good to my dog. Either they've been sprayed with chemicals or they're just so putrid. My dog won't do his business." And he goes, "I'm so embarrassed." This guy is blind. He goes, "I took the dog into the relief station at the airport. I'm walking down the concourse, and there he deposits his present right there." It's like, "Why wouldn't you do it? When I told you to?"

I was just on the cruise ship with Royal Caribbean and I asked them I was an accessibility observer. My newest article is on my website at, in Accessible Journeys magazine. And it was The Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. I asked, "Where does a dog? Because I was with people that had a service dog, where does it go?" And they said they would bring a box to your cabin, if you would like it. Or I went on the jogging track and there was a little wooden area that they had created, like a little landscape area with mulch on it. And that was designated as the relief station on the cruise ship. So that made it happen. Realizing you do not charge any more for a service dog. You don't ask questions, just let them come in. If someone in the audience is afraid of the service dog. I've had this happen where the people come in at the back with the service dog and then someone turns around and they're really upset about it. I say, "All right, here's what we're going to do. Would it be okay if you sat up front since you don't like dogs, and we'll make sure that you don't turn around and you don't even realize that dog is here. It's going to be underneath laying down." It's it's it's okay. It's trained to be a service animal. This person needs that animal either for picking up things, or supporting maybe an attack for epilepsy, or they have an oxygen system and they they respond when the oxygen system is malfunctioning. I said, "Will, that serve you if the animal is in the back?" And that has worked. So, and a funny question, I got in a meeting. A meeting player raises her hand. She goes, "I had someone with the service dog and they asked me, the meeting planner for the event, if they could provide raw meat for my service dog during the conference." And she goes, "Do I have to provide raw meat for that dog while they're at the conference?" I said, "No, no way." Usually they have their own food with them. Now, if they want to contact the catering department and arrange a purchase of raw meat, that's between the owner and the catering department. But you are not responsible for feeding that animal. Now, as a as a courtesy, you could bring a food dish and a dish of water. But typically they've got folding water bowls and dishes with them. These people use this animal all the time.