Friday, August 29, 2008

~Written With No Offense Intended~

I don't like dogs (or cats). And I say this with no apologies. Plus, the Bear is allergic to dogs, well pet dander. He also almost had his ear bit off by a dog when he had a paper route. Mona Lisa is afraid of dogs. Ratchet is afraid of dogs; he was actually bitten on his face by one just a few weeks ago. Dogs just don't work for our family. And I don't feel it necessary to apologize for this.

So, why do SOME (not all) people who own dogs feel as if they need to force their pets on us? In the past few weeks:

Mona Lisa had a friend stop calling when she told her she was afraid of her dog (which wasn't a problem, she didn't really enjoy her company anyway).

While at the park, someone let their dog off their leash and didn't seem to care that it was pawing and licking us.

At a rest area a man tried to force Ratchet to pet his dog.

And this was really weird: we were on the Oregon Coast and parked at a store next to a woman who was sitting in the drivers seat of her car, window down, music blaring, and dancing with the dog in her lap. When I opened my door she asked if she had awakened our sleeping baby. Since we don't have a baby, I said no, and started to walk away. Then she told Ratchet to come over and pet her dog (What?). I told her no he was afraid of dogs and had just been bitten by one. And she told me (in a loud voice now since we were walking away) I needed to bring him over to pet her dog because her son had been bitten by a dog and "Lola" had helped him overcome that fear. I said no and continued to walk and she (yelling by this time) told me she would wait for me to change my mind and bring him back to overcome his fear. (Now I'm not wrong, that is really weird, right?)

While at Multnomah Falls last Saturday a man with a dog on a leash was pushing a double-wide jogging stroller across the rather narrow bridge and bumping into people, with no apologies by the way. As I manuevered my family as flat as possible against the side of the bridge so he could get by, I notice that he doesn't have a child (or children considering it was a double stroller) but a dog sitting on the floor of the stroller. I suppose I should just be happy the animals were being contained. Okay, so he wasn't forcing his dog on us, it was just annoying, yet, once again inconsiderate.

(Okay, so the last paragraph reminded me of the following Dear Abby. Just substitute dog for cat.

DEAR ABBY: I dress my Siamese cat, "Belle," in clothes and pajamas. (Yes, they make apparel for cats.) I also push her around in a stroller. My friends think I'm crazy, but I consider Belle to be my daughter.

One time, a teenager came up to me as I was pushing Belle in her stroller and asked, "Where's the baby?" I told her that Belle was like my baby.

Is it nuts to treat a cat like a child? -- MOM OF A FUR KID IN N.Y.

DEAR "MOM": Nuts? No. A bid for attention ... perhaps.)

Now, most of these I can deal with, but when they invade my personal space . . .

So, today I'm in the fabric store (which we all know is my personal space) and I see a woman holding her small dog and leaning over fabric, therefore rubbing him/her all over the fabric. Bugged, I went to an employee (actually there were two of them) and asked them to have the dog removed from the store. They acted as if it was the oddest request they'd ever heard. I explained that my children were afraid of dogs and that my family had allergies and I didn't think it was acceptable for me to be expected to buy fabric that had dog dander all over it and possibly give my husband an allergy attack. They proceeded to give one another the "roll your eyes this is ridiculous" look. So, I repeated my request and they asked me what they should do. I told them to go to the lady, tell her it was against store policy, and ask her to take the dog out of the store. That's when they decided to go get the manager. Over 10 minutes later (which is 10 minutes of dog dander being rubbed all over the calicos) the manager appears and I point the woman out to her. She tells me that what happens is that people have their dogs groomed next door and then bring them into shop on their way out to their car. I tell her that isn't my problem and repeat that there is fear and allergies involved and that I'm pretty sure it's store policy. So, she goes over to the woman, points me out (did I emphasize enough that she pointed me out?) and explains that another customer has asked for her to take her dog out of the store all the while apologizing profusely to her. There were no apologies to me. So tell me was I in the wrong, because I felt as if I should have felt bad. Which I didn't. But, since I felt as if the situation was handled inappropriately, I did what I do best. I called corporate and lodged a complaint. The woman at corporate apologized for my experience but did tell me she didn't know what store policy is.

So, maybe I'm making assumptions, but don't most stores (not including pet stores) have a no animals except service animals policy?

And doesn't everyone have the right to not have something they like, fear, or are allergic to forced on them? Maybe I'm being insensitive to dog owners, but I feel as if they (once again, not all) are being insensitive to others. I think allergies to pet dander are fairly common. Fear of a specific animal is quite common. And just disliking something is extremely common.

Is it too much to expect others to respect this? Am I asking too much?

Hmm, I'm actually contemplating closing down the comments on this entry because I also fear the hate mail. But, I won't because this is my blog and I'm entitled to my opinion.


JRV said...

No negative comments from this gallery.
When we moved here to the NW I found it sooo bizarre that stores allow people to walk around with their dogs here. You never see that in the SW.
At the grocery store the other day, a dog riding in the front of the cart and I feel like I was the only one giving this lady the evil eye.
Dont get me wrong. I actually like dogs and cats but they are...animals!

Julie said...

I am so with you. People ask me what kind of dogs I like and my answer is the non-dog kind. Same goes for cats. So I am equally angered/annoyed by people who assume everyone else loves their pets as much as they do. So annoying.