Review of RTZ Hope Retreat

Grief is a tricky thing, especially the grief of losing a child. When my loss was nearing its one-year anniversary, and I was still heartbroken, still processing the grief, I knew I needed more help than a weekly therapy session. So I looked into grief retreats.

I wanted to attend the RTZ Hope Retreat, but I didn’t feel comfortable going because of their lack of understanding regarding service dogs. As someone with a disability, I’m not required to message venues about bringing a service dog. But I always like to give people a head’s up. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s fine, but if there’s a 1% chance that someone won’t welcome my dog, I don’t want to be there.

To their credit, employees wrote to me and told me that having my dog would be OK. But then they wrote to me saying, “service animals do have certification, which emotional support animals do not.” The retreat told me that I would not be able to book specific sleeping accommodations because of my dog.

I explained, “Most people don’t know this, but you’re not required to have a certification to have a service dog. And you’re also not allowed to be segregated to specific areas because of the animal.”

And, “(The information) is available on the federal government’s website and on CA’s info page. Hopefully, once they read the laws they’ll be a bit more welcoming. =)”

Unfortunately, the employees I corresponded with did not admit to their error. I felt like if they didn’t understand the basic laws surrounding service dogs and weren’t willing to look into it then there would be other problems if I went on the retreat. And I didn’t think I could handle trying to deal with those problems while also trying to process my grief.

I wanted to post this review so hopefully the next person with a disability won’t have the same issue I did.

Here is a link to the federal rules regarding service animals:

Here’s another link regarding the federal rules:

Photo Feature Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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