Let’s Talk About Fido
Mrs. Abramovitz loves dogs, but we need to talk. Humans domesticated dogs to provide work and companionship; and the dogs need us, too. While the relationship is deeply symbiotic, it doesn’t mean we have to have our dogs with us everywhere we go, all the time. I can hear your purse barking.
The problem is that not everyone likes dogs. Many people have an aversion or fear of dogs. Others have allergies that can cause physical discomfort or even grave illness. Not everyone wants to meet a dog, and if a stranger has no choice but to interact with your Fido, that’s a poor choice of place to bring your dog.
Now hang on, we do have room for legitimate service animals, animals that are trained to assist people with disabilities to navigate a world not adapted to special needs, even to keep them alive. Folks benefit greatly from “emotional support” animals.
The problems arise when people co-opt the privilege by “registering” their pets on bogus, unregulated websites and put their untrained animals into similarly unregulated service vests. These dogs, without the temperament and painstaking training of legitimate support animals, are often the cause of public conflict and the reason many businesses reform policy altogether – and that hurts everyone.
Courtesy, common sense and the law dictate that we stop thinking selfishly and start treating others, human and canine alike, with empathy and respect. So, pull the dog out of your purse, stop putting them in your shopping cart and give a little room to the person with the real service dog.
Let’s do better!