To some, Parker the pug is an adorable fixture at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Chicago. To others she’s a health hazard, as one reader eloquently explained in response to our June/July story on pet-friendly hotels.

For everyone who thought Parker and Roxy and Millie were adorable in our pet-friendly hotels story this June/July, comes the other side of the story. “What looks so inviting for some is just the opposite for others,” writes Mark Liston, director of special projects for Neighborly and former president of Glass Doctors.

He goes on to eloquently explain the problem. “I’m an asthmatic. Have been for nearly 65 years. My daughter is an asthmatic. She is 45 and has been for life. For all of the people who might read this who are saying, ‘We have a dander-free dog … no you don’t!’ Nor are there any dander-free cats.”

Liston is well-known in the franchising world, serving on the International Franchise Association board of directors among others. His wife, Mary Kay, was president of Five Star Painting for Neighborly before they moved to Michigan for her new position as president of Molly Maid.   

As for pets on airplanes, don’t get him started on the trend toward purported service animals onboard. “Flying can also be a nightmare. Airlines are very accommodating when someone wants to bring their service animal on a plane. Want to see how easy it is? Just go to the Google machine and type in, ‘How to make your dog a service animal.’ We have so many rights for people who choose to make their animal a service animal. One of those rights is not the right for other to breathe,” he writes.  

“I travel often and was on a flight recently with at least four service animals. I had a great seat but had to move at least twice to get away from the dogs so I could make it the entire flight without an asthma attack.”

I shudder to think how Liston would have fared had he sat next to Sheila Ronning and her dog Roxy (whom she calls her child), both featured in the June/July story. Roxy spent one recent first-class trip sitting on the armrest between the chairs. 

“We look for hotels that are not pet-friendly. Dander can linger in carpeting, drapes and beds for several months. I’m also allergic to down. Every time we go to a hotel we request a feather-free room and check out the pillows before retiring,” writes Liston.

Liston suggests hotels limit their pet-friendly rooms to a certain area of the hotel, and to ask incoming guests if they have allergies to pets before checking in. 

As for me, I too am against the trend toward dog-friendly everything, especially offices, for the crotch-sniffing and other awkward encounters rather than any asthma problems, so you can call my pet-friendly hotels story an example of objective reporting. And I always appreciate reminders there are at least two sides to every story.


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