Our hotel has a no pet policy. It’s clearly stated on the paper that people have to sign. I also make sure to point it out before they put the pen to the paper. Our hotel also has a policy that requires us to accept anyone with a service animal. I think it is obvious that we respect that, but we aren’t allowed to ask for anything showing that their pet is a service animal. Our policy is just to take the guests word that it’s true. I assume that is to prevent possible lawsuits.
We had a married couple arrive on Christmas Eve, who had a small dog with them. I don’t know the breed, but it was extra tiny. I reminded them that the hotel doesn’t allow pets. The husband told me it’s a service animal, and they have stayed here many times in the past with their dog. I looked for a history, and it turns out that they have stayed at the hotel every year, for the last three years. I looked at the dog, and the lady who was cuddling it in her arms like a fluffy toy. Service animals usually have some sort of identifying tag, or little vest. Companion pets don’t necessarily have those things, but they still count as far as the policy goes. I think they just don’t like to travel without their little rat-dog, and they know how to take advantage of loopholes. I let them check-in, but I made sure to make a note about it in the logbook for the rest of the desk staff. I also informed them that we have another location that is pet friendly. “Yes, we know, but we like it here, and it’s closest to where we are visiting.” He said.
So, they are disregarding the hotels no pet policy, and taking advantage of a rule that prevents us from requesting proof that their dog is a legitimate service animal, while also not giving-a-shit about the other guests staying in the hotel. (Some of them who might have pet allergies.)
I had a situation. A woman walked inside and asked if we had a room available. I offered her the AAA rate, and she was happy with it, until she asked me if she could bring her pit-bull inside. I had to tell her no, and showed her the no pet policy on the paperwork. She looked disappointed, so I told her if she needed to bring her dog inside, I could call the pet friendly location for her, and arrange for them to hold a room for her. That’s when the previous guests walked through the lobby with their little rat-dog on a leash, and exited the building. They smiled and waved at me, and I politely smiled and waved back. I also felt my anxiety kicking in. “You just told me that you don’t allow pets here.” Said the new arrival.
“Yes, I did say that. We don’t allow pets here.” I waited for the obvious argument that was about to happen. It took her a few seconds longer to reply than I expected.
“Those people have a dog.” She said.
“That is a service animal. We have to allow service animals. I’m sorry for the odd timing of that, but I still have to ask you not to bring your dog inside.”
“This is stupid. You just told me I can’t bring my dog inside, and those people are here with a dog.”
She wasn’t wrong. I couldn’t argue with her. I could only wait for it to be over. “I completely understand why you find this confusing…”
“I’m not confused. I think this is stupid.” And it is stupid.
“I’m sorry. There really isn’t an excuse that I can offer that will make this whole situation less awkward…”
“Awkward for you, maybe. I just think this whole thing is dumb.”
The guests with their rat-dog walked back inside. They smiled at me again, then said hello to the lady who was quietly hating them. “We just love this hotel. It’s always nice and clean, and you are always so accommodating.” Said the lady holding the leash.
The woman trying to get a room gave me dagger-eyes. There was an uncomfortable silence, as we waited for the couple to walk away.
“So, do you want me to call the pet friendly location for you?” Her eyes widened. I prepared to jump backwards because I half expected her to dive over the counter to strangle me. Instead she shook her head, and walked away.