Finally it is beginning to feel a lot like summer! With this in mind, this weeks’ Lean’s Lessons focuses on people with a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog booking a stay in a Bed & Breakfast or Airbnb.

If you work in the tourism industry, this week’s Lean’s Lessons may be of particular interest to you!

Let’s look at Lean’s Lessons as shared by Lean Kennedy, Advocacy and Policy Coordinator and do not  forget to pack your sun hat and sun protection lotion as we get ourselves ready for our summer holidays.

 

Does the B&B need to provide a Doggy menu, Doggy toy, a Doggy bowl, a Doggy bed, a Doggy house and a Doggy toilet?

Well let’s look at what a Guide Dog or an Assistance Dog needs when staying in a B&B and Airbnb. The short answer is B&B and Airbnb owners will be surprised to hear how easy, and low maintenance, it is having a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog visit and overnight stay on their premises with their owner.

Is there a need for a Doggy menu?

No! The owner will bring their Dog’s regular food with them, so there is no need for B&Bs to provide food for the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog. In fact Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are on a special diet to maintain optimum health so it is important their owner oversees their working Dogs’ food. So please do avoid the temptation of cooking up a typical Irish breakfast as a working Dog will not be allowed to have it, tempting as it is.

Is there a need for a Dog Bed?

No! The owner will bring bedding for their Guide Dog or Assistance Dog so there is no need to provide a bed for the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog. A Guide Dog or Assistance Dog should never be separated from its owner, and so, the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog will stay in the bedroom the owner is staying in; on its bedding on the floor. Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are impeccably groomed so fur shedding is kept to a minimal level.

How about a Doggy toilet?

B&B and Airbnb owners may also be surprised to hear how easy and simple it is to facilitate a relief area for a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog.  Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are impeccably well trained. The Dog will relieve itself on or off lead and will return to its owner. The Guide Dog or Assistance Dog will not go on paw patrol around your premises. If would be helpful to let the person with the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog know where the best area is to bring their Guide Dog or Assistance Dog to relieve itself. For example, an area where there is grass / gravel / clay which is enclosed by a hedge / wall/ fence / gate, situated away from the public roadway would be a good place to recommend. It would also be helpful to let the person know where the outside waste bin is.

dog sitting under table

How about a Doggy bowl?

It is good to  offer to get a bowl of water for the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog when the owner is dining in the dining room; with the Guide / Assistance Dog lying quietly next to their owner’s feet. Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are permitted on to food premises, such as B&B breakfast rooms.

Will a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog interfere with my business?

No. Guide Dog and Assistance Dogs are highly trained, sociable working animals and do not disrupt the everyday running of B&BS and Airbnbs. In fact you may be surprised at how other customers are welcoming of our working Dogs.

Are B&BS and Air Bnbs obliged to facilitate Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs with their owners?

Yes. The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2015 prohibits B&BS and Airbnbs from discriminating against people who own a Guide Dog as a mobility aid or an Assistance Dog as a safety aid.

Who enforces the law?

The Workplace Relations Commission mediates and arbitrates cases of discrimination under the Equal Status Acts.

Where can I find out more information?

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission provides information to the public and to B&B businesses.

So there you go, fundamentally it is easy to facilitate Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs, with their owner on B&B premises, with no need for doggy accessories.

If you would like further information, please contact Lean Kennedy, our Advocacy and Policy Coordinator, on: [email protected]

Happy holidays to you all.