Key to understanding this policy is the distinction between pets and service animals. Here’s how the Disability Rights Section of the Federal Government explains this difference:
“Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.
Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”
Service animals, which meet the above definition, are welcome at all of Amma’s programs and have full access to all of the program areas, except for the stage where Amma receives guests.
People wishing to bring pets should understand and follow the hotel or venue’s pet policy. As individual policies vary, please contact the location you wish to attend before arriving. Also, please understand that whatever the local venue's rules may be, pets are not permitted in the main program hall where Amma embraces guests.
IF YOU BRING A SERVICE ANIMAL
- When you arrive at the program, please ask to be put in touch with someone from the Assisted Darshan Team, or look for someone wearing a blue scarf. These volunteers will guide you through the process of how to receive a token.
- When it’s time for you to receive Amma’s embrace, a member of the Assisted Darshan team will remain with your Service Animal. After your embrace, you will be offered the opportunity to sit near Amma for a period of time, or be brought directly back to your service animal.