Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6th, 2011

busy day ahead-- but lotsa help scheduled..
 luckily allison sent 2 emails   for me to cut and paste her trip to penna with spot
only black eye was in newburgh----days inn--- i hope she nails them for this behavior
Hi Carlene,
We just got back from PA (I'll send you a different email about our adventures, particularly the zoo) but coming back, we stayed in a Days Inn in Newburgh, NY.  When they saw me enter with Spot, they immediately got all defensive and said that I needed to fill out a form.   On the form were the questions:

1) Are you legally disabled?

2) Is your service animal a requirement of your disease/disorder?

The next paragraph said a vaccination record was required and the next paragraph had the ADA definition of a legal disability.  The last paragraph said that any damages caused by the dog were my responsibility, etc. and then  a signature/date line.

I gave them a hard time about it, saying that it wasn't legal, but it was late and I was really tired, so I signed it anyway.  I'm kicking myself for signing it now.  Are they allowed to ask #1 and 2?  I know they aren't allowed to ask for the vaccination record, but I gave them the SDP certified service dog card and they were satisfied.

On the way out this morning, I again brought it up and they had the same angry attitude, saying something about NY law and how they had to abide by ADA but could essentially make up their own rules to add to it.  Granted I was pretty mad by this time, but wasn't going to deal with their being completely disrespecful of a person using a wheelchair and basically ignoring me and speaking to my husband, so I left.  I have every intention of taking this higher, but want to make sure I'm in the right before I do.

It was my understanding that people are allowed to ask me 3 things only and nothing more.

1) What is my disability?
2) Is the dog a service dog and what services does she provide?
3) Ask for her ID card.
i did not think it was legal to ask what her disability is.
and i wonder if she has a copy of that paper?????
and then her trip to the zoo-- spot's doing well !

Hi Carlene,
We returned today from a 4 day trip to Philadelphia.  Spot was great in the car the whole way, as she always is.  It's an 8-hour drive from here, but less stressful and much cheaper than flying, so we put up with the drive.  Before we got to the city Thursday night, we stopped at a grassy area to let her pee and it's a good thing we did because she wouldn't go again for 24 hrs. The next morning was my appointment with my neurologist, but I work in a hospital so that appointment was no big deal for her.  She pulled me along in my wheelchair through the parking garage with my husband steering a little.  That afternoon, we went to Reading Terminal Market which is a market run by the Amish with fresh produce, meats, chocolates, etc and it's always been jam packed with people when I've been there before, so I was a little hesitant to bring her there with the chair since we take up so much space in the aisles.  But I did it anyway and she was great.  She pulls on the chair in varying degrees according to her anxiety and she pulled moderateely at first, but backed right off toward the end.  We went to a restaurant 10-12 blocks away and ate outside which was perfect for her and then we walked to a few different parks, where eventually she peed.  (The noise of the city was really distracting to her.  She was fine with buses and trucks, but the noise of the trains and honking bothered her.)  After that, we walked to Independence Hall, which was quite aways, so she was pretty tired by the end of the day. 

We had one incident where she started jumping around and then it looked like her back legs were collapsing.  It scared me until I realized that we had stopped on a sewer cover and it was too hot for her to stand on. I never thought of her feet until that point, but after that, we tried to walk in the shade when possible.

Saturday we walked some more in the morning to the Mint and then went to the zoo in the afternoon.  That was an adventure!  It was packed with kids and people, so she was pulling pretty hard to begin with.  Unbeknownst to me, we entered the Big Cat House allmost immediately.  (I wish she had had time to acclimate to the surroundings first.)  She was fine with the lions but I don't think they saw us.  The next exhibit was some cat about the size of a lab who had the markings of a cheetah but wasn't a cheetah.  It was pretty close to the glass when we got there, just sniffing around.  It quickly saw us and came right over to investigate and clearly wasn't happy.  Spot saw it and backed up as fast as she could.  We left quickly when I realized what was going on.  I didn't know when we left the first cat that the next house was a puma.  When we entered, it was lounging way on the other side of the enclosure but came over fast when it saw us.  It came with an assertive look, not hissing or growling....yet.  Spot freaked out when she saw it, rightly so, and pulled me out of there at top speed!  She was pretty worked up for the next 20-30 minutes but eventually calmed down.  We did go see the gorillas but were far enough away that I don't think they saw Spot.  I wasn't taking any chances after the puma!  The bears and hippos and most of the other animals just ignored her.

We drove a few hours north yesteray and the rest today.  She's sleeping by my side as I write this and I know she'll be happy to be back in her routine tomorrow.  She did so well on her first trip to the city that we're taking her again in October.  No zoos this time though!