I wanted to bring my dog into a grocery store in Pacific Heights in San Fran for just a minute. I didn’t see any sign that said “don’t bring in your dog”. As soon as I walked in, they jumped on me like a pack of rabid wolves. “No dogs allowed.” “Take your dog out of here.” And they weren’t nice. I felt like a second-class citizen and all I wanted was a quart of milk and a free-range chicken.
Dog owners wrestle with this issue all the time. Last month we addressed the “tethering situation” and most everyone agreed that it’s a bad idea. So, now the logical progression is to discuss the next question--if you don’t choose to leave your dog in front of a store, why can’t you just bring the dog inside?
I think it’s a legitimate question. I’m a 100% dog guy, so my attitude is people should be able to bring their dogs wherever they want, within reason. I’m still not completely sure that dogs should be allowed in restaurants.
Many restaurants will allow your dogs on their patios, which is the right way to do it, I believe. Some people cite health concerns about pets in restaurants, and that’s a separate issue, but I think it’s a joke. I eat with my dogs every day and I’ve never picked up any canine-borne diseases, so what’s the deal? The other day some guy sitting right next to me in a café on Fillmore coughed in my face without covering his mouth. At least my dog will turn his head away when he sneezes.
If a restaurant has rules and it keeps dogs out, that’s cool. But if an eating establishment will so graciously allow our mutts as our dining companions, I’m going out of my way to eat there, because I obviously like dog-friendly places. For instance, Judy’s Café, The Grove, Bechelli’s and Meze’s, all located on Chestnut Street, allow dogs in their outside dining areas. (In addition, I found out that every Apple Store in the country allows and actually welcomes peoples’ dogs. So bring your iPup!)
Also, if you want to find out where the dog friendly places in the city are, there’s a list on www.wikifido, a great site that’s called “The Dog Lover’s Guide to Dogs & Dog Rescue”.
Common sense always plays a role, obviously. And the problems start when irresponsible dog owners let their animals run rampant and create chaos in a store or restaurant. It’s an issue throughout the country, as I learned. I found some interesting quotes online:
“Animals are joining the ranks of small, bored children who must accompany their grown-ups just about every place,” Barbara Rosenblatt of NYC said. “Perhaps what it will take to keep animals out of stores is a few too many paw prints on the merchandise, or a deposit that mistook a rug for a sidewalk.”
A woman in Memphis wrote, “People are so irresponsible and their dogs feed off that. I saw a poodle the other day drop a little gift at the grocery store and the owner just kept walking. Is it our obligation to clean up after that dog?”
“I love dogs but some of these yuppies want to take them everywhere,” Jim Schriver of San Diego, Calif. said. “To the ballgame, to night clubs, even into their health clubs—I’ve seen it all. It’s great to have your dog around, especially if you love ‘em. But they don’t belong everywhere and if their owners stopped for even a moment to be conscious about the rest of the world around them, they’d realize it.”
So to get the local perspective, I went back to the same dog parks I regularly haunt to get answers from dog owners. My wife says I’m a “dog stalker” and in the next few years I’ll probably be carted away for talking to peoples’ mutts.
And the consensus is—bring your dog (if it can behave) to anyplace that will permit your animal on its premises. Don’t try to bring your mutt into stores or restaurants that don’t allow them there. And please don’t let your dog go crazy in a store or sniff and lick everyone in the room. It’s like a loud drunk at a party. One bad dog experience for non-dog lovers can give all of us a bad name.
And one more thing—you don’t have to bring your dog everywhere you go. Dogs do just fine without you around all the time. They don’t mind sleeping half the day at home, so don’t feel like taking them to the movies or to your health club. They won’t fully appreciate the 3-D and their hair will undoubtedly clog the hot tub.