Hotel owner doesn’t understand why horses have to travel with so many emotional support dogs


HALIFAX, MASSACHUSETTS—A New England hotel owner near the upcoming Silver Oak Jumper Tournament glanced at his reservations for September and was gravely concerned.

“We generally don’t allow dogs in our hotel, with a few exceptions here and there. One of them is Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), and as of September I think I have six dozen ES dogs registered at the hotel,” says Elliott Shreve, owner of the Super property. Sleep in Halifax.

“We always see the horse people as the unflappable heroes of every story: Velvet in national velvet, Albert in Battle horse, John fucking Wayne. I had no idea people in sports were so emotionally fragile.

For Shreve, the repercussions of fostering emotional support dogs have been costly.

“Horse show dogs generally behave quite well. But there are cleaning costs for waxing and additional challenges for our staff working with animals in the room that we need to consider. I will accept most dogs for show season if our guests pay an additional cleaning fee, but getting them up to speed has become a challenge.

Shreve says that after the Department of Transport cracked down on the airline last summer, he started asking customers to show their ESA registration card when checking in to waive the fee.

“People were trying to sneak onto planes with their emotional support peacocks and so on and luckily we haven’t gotten to that point yet at the hotel. And I know the recording of the ‘ESA is, in many cases, just a card that people can pay for online – no one actually rates dogs or humans,” says Shreve. “But at least it’s Somethingand I would be ready to take it.

Unfortunately, the horse show community as a whole operates by its own set of rules.

“I was so sick of fighting tooth and nail with all the show guests that came through the door, I finally gave up after a certain point,” Shreve said. “Now we have dogs hanging out in the lobby drinking wine with their owners until all hours of the morning, bichons peeing on our decorative planters, Chihuahuas barking unattended in their bedrooms. .

“I love animals and I’m all for mental health, believe me, but this hotel has literally gone dog friendly.

“I had a rider who showed up last fall with four Jack Russell terriers. Four. And when I asked her if they were everything Emotional support dogs, she looked at me like I had five heads. ‘Of Classes‘, she tells me, and then she gets super mean about it. ‘This one, Toughie, helps with my anxiety; Jack-a-Roo is for my sports therapy; Allie alleviates my stress; and Jilly is my daughter’s medium show pony ESA.

“So I point out to him that his daughter’s average show pony isn’t even stay at Super Sleep—because, you know, we absolutely don’t take ponies – and she gets even more angry and refuses to pay the fee. She threatens to report me and starts opening her Yelp app as we talk. At some point it just isn’t worth it. »

Shreve says that due to the constant pressure of dealing with horse show patrons, his own sanity took a hit.

“I loved this job, and I especially enjoyed the one-on-one time with the guests,” says Shreve, who could barely be heard on the phone over the incessant din of barking dogs.

“I probably need my own emotional support animal for that. But I’d be fine with a vacation.


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