Public Access, North Star Dogs, and the Fighting Irish

by Patty Dobbs Gross

I was on my way home from a visit with my Mom in NH, blissfully alone in my car and rocking out to tunes from the 80s that I missed the first time around (busy as I was "early intervening"), while my friend Krista Davidson Dooley was on her way to a week of her Mom's timeshare in Waterville Valley, NH, a six hour round trip drive to an Inn she has been going since she was the tender age of five.

I received two calls in a row from Krista on my journey home and so pulled off the highway to take her call. Krista and her husband. Lee, along with their four children and NS dog Maverix, were all at their timeshare, but not able to check in, as the people at the front desk were denying Maverix the public access we worked so hard to earn together. My blood began to boil despite the plunging temperature of the day, for by the time Krista called me this business establishment had already broken two federal laws, one by denying Maverix access to be with his boy Mason, and the other to have inquired what need the service dog was filling.

I actually have a large degree of empathy for businesses who don't yet understand the law here, as we have the benefit of our sixteen years and counting in the business; even if I know the law like the back of my hand, still, this is a relatively new field to John Q. Public and not used to different breeds (such as using a hypoallergenic Samoyed named Maverix) for different reasons other than blindness (such as for a boy with autism named Mason) is a new concept to some, and so I asked Gail politely to let them in, as she might not want to be breaking federal law.

Richard was the next person I called in the deserted parking lot off Rt. 190 as the sun was setting and cars were piling up on the Mass Pike, all trying to get home before dark. He was apparently the power that be, at least according to Gail, serving as a President of something or other. I called and politely explained to him that he was breaking federal law by not allowing Maverix access with his child and his parents, and then reminded him that there was a child with autism along with three siblings who were in their waiting room, along with a dog in a cold car, sitting next to a Mom who was growing increasingly and understandably upset. Time was of the essence here for him to travel up this learning curve, this was clear, but instead of moving a muscle Richard first called Maverix a "yippy yappy," and then he called me this, which was when I finally understood that he was just not a man to embrace reason, at least not in his current state of mind.

And so, I had to call the police.

I hated to do this, by the way, as there are so many other things for our men and women in blue could be doing with their time, but I am very grateful to the Waterville Valley Police Department for having the wisdom to show up and enforce the law and allow this family access to the shelter of their rented room at the Inn...

I know it's not the holidays anymore, so we can no longer depend on the kindness of the season, and I understand there are no babies being denied any mangers here, but I also know that there is a lovely family who finally gained access to what the law says they deserve, and so I guess it's a happy new year...

It is 2016, my friends, and I don't want to scare you but I’m getting a touch political of late...some my age may opt for making a downpayment on a rocking chair, but I'm searching for my sea legs to travel forward into a land where people with autism not just have their civil rights, but are actually able to consistently enjoy them without being forced to take such cold detours.
I'll leave you with the pictures of what Mason and Maverix looked like when they finally got all toasty inside...