I'm not sure when it became the norm that dogs would, and could, be literally anywhere, but to be honest, I've had enough. Before you write me off as a dog-hating bi---, I'll preface this article that this is not the case -- I actually love dogs. I just refuse to be OK with them being everywhere. Maybe this is a California thing, although I doubt it, but there seems to be an epidemic of dog owners who think it is okay to bring their dogs places they do not belong. I'm not talking about services dogs because that's a completely different story, with a dog that has been trained and certified. I'm not talking about having your dogs on sidewalks, or in neighborhoods. I'm also not talking about hiking trails, parks, or beaches. Those places make sense to me, but not others, so let me explain.
Dogs at the Grocery Store
This past week, I saw three dogs in the grocery store! As soon as I entered, at the Starbucks' kiosk, inside of a Ralph's grocery store, a smaller dog was relieving itself, and I watched in annoyed horror as the owner smiled, said "sorry," but proceeded to walk out of the door. She actually left the mess for the store employees to clean up! The customer had looked slightly embarrassed, so at least there's that, right? I walked further into the grocery store to the produce section, and no sooner a huge dog and their owner walked past me. His, or her, tail wagged, hitting multiple things, but that's not the worst of it. The dog was fluffy, and more importantly, filthy. The dog had an odor to it -- you know, that cross between damp mildew and heated corn chips -- and..., before you ask, yes, that's a thing. After a couple of minutes of it checking out the fruit along with its owner, you know, nose all up in the food, it did what dogs do, and shook itself out. Plumes of dirty dog hair and slobber went everywhere. Have any of you seen Turner & Hooch, or Beethoven? Yeah, picture all that nastiness on your food. The owner than petted him/her heavily, perhaps congratulating the dog on the success of cross-contamination, and afterwards went back to examining the food. He picked up pieces of fruit, deeming it unworthy, and put it back with his dirty dog-haired hands. Yum, right? Disgusted, I left that section, because I definitely am not paying for any of that nastiness, and I went to the aisle with bread, and such, and found a third dog licking at all the loaves, and hamburger buns on the bottom two rows, while it's owner examined pre-packaged donuts. To say that after that I was just done would be an understatement.
Dogs at Restaurants
Just like dogs at grocery stores, I feel the same about restaurants.
This is a huge no, no, at least in my opinion. I used to be fine with dogs on outside patios, but I have since changed my tune. If you live in, or close, to the valley in Los Angeles County you have probably heard of, or been to Aroma Cafe. The place is usually packed for good reason. However, because of the atmosphere, and neighborhood, many people walk and therefore, their dogs are usually in tow. Well, again, another experience where a dog decided, or needed to relieve his or herself, coupled with the Santa Ana Winds left my appetite blowing in the same direction. Another incident, this time inside, involved the cutest Labradoodle on the planet. The dog laid under the table as a couple enjoyed their lunch. The dog was so precious that my normal hate-dog-in-public-brain melted. That was until the dog decided to bathe its tiddly bits. Normally, I'd just turn around and mind my business, but the excess slurping sounds of licking its down-stairs region just couldn't be ignored, and yet again my appetite was out the door, like I was.
Dogs at a Dental Office
Nothing says open wide like dog dander, right? Wrong! Here's the thing, I don't even want to be at the dentist office in the first place. I don't know too many people who find it entertaining, but to subject me to mouth torture while there is also a dog on the premises is ba-ba-bagusting!
I'm not even talking about therapy dogs, even though I'm still not comfortable with that one either. This incident was not that, though. I was at the dentist office and an older woman sat in the lobby. Beside her was her identical dog twin. All was fine except this sweet pooch kept scratching, which led me to believe the dog had fleas or something. Hair was flying everywhere! Looking at her black pants this lady was wearing a layer of it herself. Things got worst when the dog got up, limped over to me, and proceeded to sit on my foot. All I was thinking is, "Ummm..., I don't know you, stranger dog!" I leaned toward the lady and said, "Excuse me, but do you think he should be in here?" He, and I knew this because again, he had his bum on my foot (insert shudder). This sweet looking older woman had the audacity to roll her eyes at me. The kicker, the assistant comes out and calls her name, and even says "hello" to her dog. That's how often Alastair comes to the dentist. Is this the twilight zone?
I get these dog owners, I do. The dogs are a part of their family. They love them. But, get this. I love my children. They are a part of my family, but even I know there are people who don't like kids, or my kids are having an off day and the chance of a public tantrum is almost guaranteed. What do I do? I leave them at home. The dog owners who decide that they will break the law and bring dogs into places they shouldn't be are not thinking about anyone else, only themselves. What if someone is allergic? What if someone else is afraid of dogs? What if someone doesn't like dogs? And...what if they're like me, and don't want dog drool and hair in their food? And, what about the dog? Do you really think the dog wants to run errands with you? Where there is no true freedom to run around a yard, or take a nap in the living room? They'd rather be told to sit, and heel, or spend hours in a purse, or doggy stroller while you pick out what you're going to eat. Sounds fun!
The truth is, you have rights; at least if you are in California. I'm not sure about other states, so if you're concerned, like me, you should look that up. In California (and New York), dog owners who bring their dogs anywhere where food is sold, unless it's a certified service dog, is in violation of health codes. You can ask them, or have a store manager ask them to leave. People who have abused the system, who bring their untrained, or aggressive dog have ruined the whole dog-in-public for me, and when I see a furry friend, no matter how cute, all I want is for their owner to take them home. I leave my animals at home, and in some cases my children and husband as well. I'm tired of the fear that my food is contaminated because you couldn't order out, or get delivery. Seriously...transference is a real thing, people! So, if we could just leave dogs out of places with food, or places for oral hygiene, it would be greatly appreciated!