Dog-Friendly Businesses Aren't So Friendly

Posted by Samuel Nieves on

If it were up to dog lovers, dogs would be allowed everywhere. Should it be a four-star dining experience or an awesome BBQ joint in the middle of Downtown, dogs are trending more than ever and they're right by our side. But another way to look at this is: poop stepped on at a four-star restaurant or poop stepped on at an awesome BBQ joint. Dog lover or not, no one's going to like stepping on dog poop. When dog lovers plan their day, there is a good chance dog is tagging along. Businesses know that foot traffic of the four-legged variety won’t hurt sales one bit; quite the contrary, when you consider the 72 million owned dogs in the United States and $52+ billion pet market they're a part of. Businesses know our pockets run deep for our furry-kids. It's a symbiotic relationship for both business and dog owner, but not so much the dog haters. One interesting experience I had where I told myself, "This is why people hate dogs," was when a well-trained dog took a runny-poo at a pet-friendly deli. Why do I say well-trained without knowing the dog personally? The dog in question is a therapy dog who was suffering from an upset stomach (the #2 spoke for itself). Therapy dogs are trained to avoid these kind of embarrassments. They are the masters of human-dog-social-mixes. The dog's owner was taken aback--he knew (and I knew) deep down his dog is trained, but how does one explain the mess made inside the middle of the restaurant? Oops? I started to process scenarios in my head as the dog's mess was being cleaned up: Imagine a dog owner with no manners? Imagine a dog owner who doesn't have his dog on a feeding schedule? Imagine a dog owner who's careless? The reason my thoughts were taking jabs at dog owners was because there is no such thing as a bad dog, only bad dog owners. I think we, as the dogs owner, know best where our dogs should be allowed. If you as a dog owner have put in the training to have control of your dog, then go for it; go enjoy a burger at a pet-friendly spot. Accidents can happen, but you're doing everyone a solid if your dog is potty trained and well-behaved around strangers. However, if you have zero control over when and where your dog decides to relieve itself, and can't control them from pouncing on random strangers, then you might want to consider taking dog off your birthday dinner reservation. Dog owners' manners should not be left at home. We should not think it's OK for our dogs to make messes outside of our home; especially if it bothers us when they happen inside our home. This doesn't mean our dogs don't deserve to accompany us wherever we go, because they do. Some of us just need to take into consideration that there are people in this world who don't care for dogs. I would probably flip out if I saw a cat inside a restaurant. Weird, I know, since I'm surrounded by 5 dogs. I just don't care for cats. I love animals, but I don't form the same kind of bonds with cats as I do with dogs. The term: "pet-friendly," is overused and isn't really as friendly as it suggests. There is no true place as "pet-friendly," unfortunately. It's rare to find an outdoor space, or business not catered to dogs, that truly accepts dogs on the surface. If there was, no one would be charging for their admission. Here is why businesses charge admission for dogs: Not everyone likes dogs There are people in this world who could care less about dogs. Many franchise owners, managers, and employees are forced to deal with dogs in their establishment because it's good for their social image. Not everyone is a responsible dog owner Some dog owners practice bad habits which in turn result in bad dog behavior. It's very easy to get your mood ruined at a pet-friendly location by watching a dog act out. Bad dog owners give all dog owners a bad image–not picking up after a dog, allowing dog to jump on people, too much slack on the leash and allowing dog to sniff strangers minding their business, letting them run off-leash in "leash-only" areas, or having zero control of a dog when leashed are all reasons for people to form a grudge. Pull out the wallet if dog is tagging along Some places only admit dogs after paying an exorbitant entrance fee, additional to yours. Certain parks, beaches, hotels, and rural outdoor spaces charge admission for dogs, yet claim they are "pet-friendly." Understand this is to curb the expense of irresponsible dog owners. Also, dog poop doesn't biodegrade as easy as you think, and some dog owners love leaving a present on the bed for housekeeping. While pet-friendly entrance fees are tolerable in most places, I think it's safe to say dogs are a nuisance. Dogs are animals at the end of the day, so we're lucky some businesses consider dogs in some establishments, and not cats. I accidentally got put in a smoking-room during my trip to SuperZoo Las Vegas in July, 2013, and in just one minute of being in the room my eyes started to burn and water from the smoke penetrated interior. I'm not allergic to smoke in the sense where just a bit of smoke causes me to react this way; these smoking rooms in Vegas literally have funk blowing out of the AC. And while I'm not going to put the name of this hotel out there, these high end rooms were running about $130 on a Tuesday. I started to wonder how much cleaner the pet-friendly rooms were compared to their smoking rooms? Considering the additional $150 more than a non-smoking room, I'm sure they would at least allow me to breathe clean air. The fact some hotels charge the same rate for non-smoking rooms and smoking rooms is beyond me. I'm more than happy to pay a reasonable fee, or damage fees if my dog decides to shit a storm, but businesses know some of us are willing to pay. So what do you guys think? Are we as dog owners pushing the limits for dogs? Do you have any stories where a "dog-friendly" establishment wasn't as advertised?

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