Posted by admin on May 2, 2016 in Defies Description |

Let me start by saying I am a dog lover. I have been all my life. I have owned five wonderful dogs in this lifetime, or should I say, they owned me. Barney was such a great companion that he saw me through the tragic death of my brother. The other saw me through that other tragedy that took me to Florida. Jasper kept me high and dry even on the darkest days down there, right up until his passing.

He was and is irreplaceable and I don’t know if I will ever be able to have another dog.

That’s O.K. though. I still love my friend’s dogs and even dogs I come across in public, such as area parks.

I do not, however, love dogs who invade public spaces. Somewhere along the way, in the last several years as far as I can tell, dog owners seem to think their dogs are actually children, best buddies or dates. They take them everywhere with them.

Not a week goes by that I don’t see one of these damninals in a store around here. Sure, I get that you bring your dog with you to Petco. It’s a pet store. They even encourage it. But a home improvement store? Are you freakin’ kidding me?

Not one dog, mind you. Five in a recent visit. These are not service dogs. Some are at best mutts. They are poorly trained and they certainly don’t look like they are having any fun going through the aisles of Home Depot.

It really ticks me off. I’d rather you bring your three screaming kids with you than bring your dog along to shop for paint, flooring or lumber.

I would have never brought Jasper with me to the hardware or fabric store. First, he would have stressed out and crapped in a very liquidious way, up and down every single aisle of the store. You’d hear a constant drone over the P.A.: “Clean Up in Aisle 5, no 6, no 7.”

Perhaps more important, Jasper knew that he was a dog. Oh sure, he’d have a pork chop for dinner with me from time to time, but when it came to shopping, Jasper knew that he should stay home. It was, after all, his territory, his domain. He was the most comfortable there. The smaller the space, in fact, the better, right down to the bathroom at times. But never a kennel. The “Boo-Box” was punishment so he would never go there voluntarily.

Jasper was happy at home. He knew his place. He knew that rides in cars most often meant a trip to the vet, a ride he dreaded. Other times, he may end up at the doggy hotel for an extended stay, but on at least one occasion, the car ride meant the loss of his nuts, so cars were never a favorite of his.

He also knew that stores could be dangerous. Especially hardware stores. Obviously, these supposed responsible pet owners have never seen me with a cart in a home improvement store. I have dumped entire loads of lumber onto the floor and I’m not talking about wimpy trim pieces. I’m talking 4x4s. A Chihuahua wouldn’t stand a chance. A momentary squeal, then silence. Even a Great Dane would have walked out with a limp after passing me and my carts overloaded with attempted home improvements.

Some stores have begun to tackle this issue. I was in a store last week that had a sign that said, “Service dogs only.” Now we’re getting somewhere. In one swoop they eliminated service cats, lizards and guinea pigs. Service dogs only.

I was more than a little pleased. But not one aisle into the store, there was a young woman with her dog. I really wanted to say “stupid” dog but as I said, I’m a dog lover. I don’t want to impose the owner’s traits on the dog. It’s not fair.

I assume these are the same people who have decided that it’s O.K. to talk on the phone while on the bus trip downtown. Banalities flow like wine. If I were to silence the music streaming through my headphones, I would most likely hear them talking about their dog and how they went on this lovely weekend trip to the local Home Depot together where everyone had an ass-sniffing good time.

It’s a shame they won’t let me take a load of 4x4s onto the bus with me. Maybe I could accidentally dump it on them there and take them out of my own misery.

Dogs certainly have their place. I love them in a park. I even like them in some restaurants. Famously, there was a dog in Key West that would walk into this one bar and jump right on the stool next to me. The bartender would dutifully bring him a short glass of milk, which he would lap up and then head off for parts unknown.

I’m sure it wasn’t to a home improvement store. He didn’t seem the type.

I can hear the chorus of exceptionalists right now, saying, “but, but, my dog is different. He needs to be with me!”

Does he? Or do you need him more? Perhaps you’re projecting your own needs to have a companion onto your dog. Perhaps you just need to get laid, or at least go out on a date with a two-footed friend. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Here’s what I recommend. Next time you need to go to the home improvement store, take someone with you. Go shopping with a human and leave the dog at home. Both of you will be happier. You will have someone to help load the lumber or settle on a paint color. Your dog will have the extra time he needs to lick his balls clean on your carpet.

Believe me, he will really appreciate the extra two hours you’ve given him back to do some really thorough ball licking. And your back will thank you because you’ll finally have someone with you at the hardware store who can help you load your truck to the gills with potentially dog-maiming home improvements.

In the Emerald City, no longer on a tight leash and thankful for that fact.

– Robb

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