The Disservice Dog: or, why would you bring your dog?

In the parking lot of the Supermarket, I saw a girl with an adorable puppy with a flourished bandana around his neck.  He reminded me a lot of my own when he was that young; the young dog was clearly a larger breed, adorable, playful, energetic, and curious.  As she stood, bent over and fumbling with something in the backseat of her car, he pulled on his lead this way and that wanting to say hello to this person and jump on that one.

And then she started to make her way towards the Supermarket entrance.  


Now, I’m a dog-lover.  I really am.  My dog has been with me since he was 26 days old and has moved with me from Italy to Tenerife to Fort Lauderdale then back to Italy and then back to Fort Lauderdale.  Over the years it has been a lot of stress, a lot of heartache, and a lot of money (that I didn’t have).  But it was all worth it – for him.  I could never give him up, no matter how much fiscal “sense” it would make.  I. Could. Never.

However, I am also very considerate.  When I see someone walking with a toddler, someone with another dog, someone with a cane, etc, I cross the street.  Don’t get me wrong – my dog doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his 100lb body.  He doesn’t even seem to comprehend aggression when other dogs express it to him.  But he is very friendly.  He wants to know everyone, play with everyone, get attention from everyone – I know not everyone wants to give it to him.  Though I will sometimes take him to a caffe or something where my husband can go inside and get our coffees and bring them to us at the farthest, most isolated outside table, I would never bring him inside a food establishment.

The law regarding “service dogs,” I have heard, is somewhat unclear.  However, especially being in plastic South Florida, I so often see women with their $3,000 “anxiety” chihuadootese.  Whether or not they have actually been deemed as such by a physician or psychiatrist is left up for debate – but, oh, these women will milk that cow until it’s bone-dry.

This girl, however, was a younger girl.  I couldn’t believe that she was bringing this overly-excited, large-breed puppy into the Supermarket.  People are allergic to dogs.  It’s one thing if your dog is well-behaved and trained to be a service dog; those dogs know not to jump on people, jump on displays, pee on the floor.  This puppy had never seen a trainer in it’s life, you can be sure.

She stood inline to buy lotto tickets, ignoring the puppy that pulled on its lead, trying to jump on the elderly woman with a can in line behind her.  She paid him absolutely no mind.  The poor older woman kept backing up uncomfortably, trying to stay on her feet while not causing a scene.  She didn’t want a problem.  She just wanted a lotto ticket.

The general manager of the Supermarket came up and quietly, respectfully said something to the younger woman about her misbehaving canine.  Then the sh*t hit the fan.  She threw a fit.  She started yelling about “her eye” and asking if the manager wanted to see her license that said something about “her eye.”  (This “eye” thing I don’t really understand – I’m not a doctor, but if she has this massive issue with her eye, I would think she would 1.) not be driving and 2.) have a well-trained service dog.)  The manager stood there as she finished her transaction, unable to really do anything about the situation other than monitor it and make sure nothing happened.  The young girl complained, heated, to the girl scanning her lottery ticket, asking with whom she could “file her complaint” about the well-mannered GM just trying to keep his respectful customers happy.

This bothers me.  Let me reiterate.  I LOVE DOGS.  I would take my dog everywhere if I could.  I know the places that I should not.  And even in places where I can, I still remain respectful of my co-inhabitants of the World.  This is the kind of person that gives dog-people and dogs (especially larger breed ones) a bad name.  I treat people respectfully as I would hope and expect them to treat me.  Why do some people not live to a similar moral standard?


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