Saturday, December 10, 2016

Service Dogs and Funerals

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.

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