A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine died in her sleep. Some of my readers may have been familiar with her - she was my accountant as well as my friend and she wrote the article about tax deductions for service dog-related expenses here on my blog.
A couple days ago, I traveled out of state to attend her memorial service. But before that, I had to check with the church where the service would be held to make sure I could attend with my service dog.
Churches, you may already know, are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act. I don't think they should be exempt, I don't think it should be legal for churches to discriminate against people with disabilities, but that is the law currently.
I resented the fact that I had to look up a phone number for the church and call them to ask if I could attend my friend's memorial service. Of course, the person who answered the phone did not know. Remember a couple years ago when I wanted to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and kept getting people answering the phones at churches that did not know if I could attend or not? So I had to leave a message for the person who would know. Fortunately she called me back the same day. And I was able to attend with Isaac.
But I resented having to call. It was two days before the service and I needed to make plans because it was a six hour round trip for me to go and I had to reschedule a medical appointment and I needed to know whether or not I would be allowed to attend. And someone who is grieving should not have to deal with calling to ask, "Hey, can I come to the funeral or do you prefer not to have disabled people in your church?" That's not the way I phrased the question, but that's basically what the question is.
Service dogs are permitted in funeral homes, by the way. Churches are exempt, but not funeral homes.