Monday, July 24, 2006

Further signs of the deterioration of the universe

Whatever happened to common sense? I read an article today on about people who insist on taking their beloved dogs everywhere they go, including to posh parties at their bosses homes and gallery openings.

While we love our two dogs and consider Libby and Cosmo to be part of the family, we would never dream of taking them to public places or to any place where they might not be welcome. To do so is just asking for a disaster to happen. And despite what these misguided souls are thinking, they are not doing their pets any favors by hauling them with them everywhere they go. They are taking their animals into unfamiliar places and situations when the poor dog would probably rather be at home with his toys and water dish.

At our house, the policy is that our dogs are not allowed to ‘attend’ the parties and gatherings we have at our home, unless it is a small gathering and the guests are close friends of the family who are familiar with our dogs. This policy keeps our dogs and our guests safe.

As for taking our dogs with us to a party or any gathering to which our dogs were not specifically invited, we'd never even consider such a thing. Heck, I probably wouldn't even take them if they were invited. I liken the situation to when my children were small. The bane of my existence was the big family get-together. I would look forward so much to seeing all of my extended family, but the truth was that I spent most of my time at these events chasing after my toddlers. I love my children, but chasing after them for hours at a family function and making sure they didn’t get into mischief was not my idea of a good time. Unfortunately back then I didn’t have a choice since these family events were held in towns where I had no access to a babysitter and my mother would have killed me if I hadn’t shown up with the children. It’s literally a rite of passage in my family: the toddler-chasing stage. When my youngest child was finally old enough to not need constant supervision at family parties, I rejoiced. So I don’t understand these people who haul their dogs with them everywhere. When I go to a party or a restaurant or a movie, I want to be able to enjoy myself and my idea of an evening out is not hanging onto a leash or carrying around a little wriggling creature, no matter how cute and adorable.

Having said that, I will admit we do on occasion welcome other dogs to our home or rather our backyard, but only a select group of animals. We are extremely close to some of our neighbors, to the point where we refer to our group as a “commune” since we get together at least a couple of times a week and usually end up eating together. The commune’s canine population currently consists of a sheltie, a corgi mix puppy, two basset hounds, two smooth collies and a West Highland terrier. For our informal, impromptu get-togethers in the evenings and on weekends, all of these animals are welcome in our backyards to romp together. The dogs all get along and play well together. If a pet does become too rambunctious, the owner promptly removes it and takes it home without having to be asked, but that rarely happens. And while the commune policy is to welcome these pets, it’s also our policy to keep our dogs outside during such gatherings. If the event is being held primarily inside, then the dogs stay home. We also all realize our situation only works because from the moment each dog has joined each household, we’ve made it a point to introduce it to the other dogs in the neighborhood and become familiar with their canine neighbors. This would never work otherwise.

As I said, it’s all about common sense and doing what’s right for both your hosts and your pet. And quite honestly, anyone who thinks he’s doing his dog a favor by hauling her to a party or a public venue probably shouldn’t have been allowed to get a dog in the first place.