On my courses I cover the Equality Act of 2010. One of the many areas covered by the act is how we, as B&B owners, treat guests with disabilities.
One aspect of the Equality Act 2010 is, that as a B&B, you must accept assistance dogs, even if you have a no dog policy. There’s a great leaflet provided by the Guide Dog Association which gives advice to B&Bs on accepting assistance dogs ( see the link at the bottom of the blog ).
But what I wanted to know was how B&Bs could really make assistance dogs and their owners feel as welcome as possible. Making people feel welcome is, after all, what we’re all about as B&B owners!
I’ve recently “virtually met” a new Twitter friend, Karl Denning. Karl and I are both from the Black Country so immediately found common ground to chat! Karl lost all of his useful vision in a work accident in 2009 and is now owner of Guide Dog, Quasia.
Karl very kindly agreed to write a post for this blog. At the end of Karl’s post I’ve included a link to the Guide Dog Association’s leaflet for B&Bs and hotels, providing information about accepting Guide Dogs at your B&B.
My name is Karl. I am a Guide Dog owner (still think of it has more of a partnership). I had an accident at work in the winter of 2009 that took all my useful vision. I got partnered up with my first Guide Dog Quasia 1 year later. She transformed not only my life but that of my family.
My youngest daughter was 6 months old when my sight went. As a family we have had several refusals that have resulted in me missing out on 2 of my daughter’s birthdays. As a family we are really keen to let people know how great a Guide Dog partnership is, not only for us, but how business can gain market place by being more accessible for the disabled.
So why make it easy for an assistance dog (guide dogs being just 1 type) and owner to stay in your B&B?
Besides it being a requirement of the Equalities Act 2010, Assistance dogs give a normality of life to their owners that their disability has already tried to remove. So letting someone else’s dog into your home & business may seem an inconvenience, but to an assistance dog owner it can be a massive deal, one that can pay back in repeat business and recommendations.
How can you make things easier for an assistance dog owner? The first thing I would say is ask if there is anything they need, each person is different and has different needs, the same can be said of their dog.
Have somewhere where the dog can go and spend (toilet), most guide dogs are trained to spend on a hard surface, but again not all are. Next make sure there is a bin for the waste. Ask if you can show the owner the place you have planned to use.
Try and make the route in and out has clutter free as possible and as easy to enter/leave as possible. This might sound like a lot of fuss but Assistance dog owner are members of an ever growing group of people, not all are dog owners, but all love that a place gives good service to an assistance dog and their owner.
Mostly use common sense, ask if you can fuss their dog, never offer treats or your food to the dog. The bond of an assistance dog and owner is one of love respect but also that the owner is connected by feeding their dog. Most assistance dogs cost the charity that supplies them an awful lot of money and you’d not want to be the personal that ruined part of their training by being too kind or trying to feed the dog.
The main thing I would recommend is to always ask, be honest with the owner if you have never had an assistance dog stay before. Most importantly be proud that you have helped an assistance dog continue with their amazing work.
Thanks again to Karl ad here’s the link to the Guide Dog Association Information