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Shelby-free zone


One thing I never saw mentioned anywhere in my research on owning a dog, was the lifestyle change involved in owning a dog. I've never raised an animal that needed consistent care. Shelby wants to be a part of the family, and we want her to be with us. But the reality is that you can kiss some of that bachelor and bachelorette life good bye. Shelby was turned away from the mall parking lot yesterday. Apparently there are no dogs allowed anywere on the property, even the parking lot. And there are a whole lot of other places I used to go to, that I don't anymore because I can't bring Shelby with me.

For example, I'd love to take Shelby car camping, so we'll need to find a campground that allows dogs. A lot of national parks don't allow dogs because they could eat animals, mess up the fauna, and poop. I'd love to take her shopping, or to the farmer's market, but she's not allowed in. Since pugs are so friendly and expensive, they also have a tendency to be stolen. So tying her up outside while I go inside to get a cup of coffee is not feasible.

Not that I have any regrets about Shelby. It is amazing to watch her grow up. And I'm amazed how such a tiny animal can trust such large people. The lifestyle change is just something additional to prepare yourself for, if you're considering your first dog.

Luckily there are books and Web sites that list parks, businesses, etc that are dog friendly. For example, "Doin' California with Your Pooch" and www.dogfriendly.com. I suppose another option is simply to sneak her into places. Ask forgiveness if we get caught. Here's a site that has some awfully cute but sometimes pricey pet carriers. I have purchased antying from them yet, but I'm awfully tempted. www.trixeiandpeanut.com.

Margo Kaufman in her book Clara the Early Years mentions this evolution of dog ownserhip. When she bought her first pugs, a dog was not expected to be treated as part of the family. These days, the attitude had shifted to treating family dogs like children.

The problem is that even though the attitude has shifted, that has not been reflected in the attitudes of property owners. Too bad.

April 8, 2004 | Permalink


Europe, on the whole, has much more progressive attitude about dogs. It's not unusual to see dogs in shops, restaurants, and so forth. I imagine part of this has to do with a realization that dogs needn't constitute a health or safety hazard by default, and a greater sense of responsibility felt by owners concerning their pets' behavior.

Posted by: James | Apr 9, 2004 6:00:00 AM

Yes, I wish we were that progressive about dog here in the States, but I sometimes think that maybe our malls would be overrun with fighting dogs and their poop if we don't put some limits on it.

I think it would be great to adopt an airplane policy with dogs. If Shelby is in an approved carrier, and I clean up after her, I think I should be able to bring her along. This way, I can bring my dog, but she will not be intrusive in public.

Right now, I'm feeling a little like a step up from how California treats its smokers and skateboarders. :P

Posted by: Winnie Wong | Apr 9, 2004 11:16:22 AM

Winnie, I feel your pain. I live in Toronto, and it's much the same here (though I can't imagine getting kicked out of a parking lot - too crazy!).

My solution was to get a backpack carrier for my pug - she loves it because it means she gets much more attention, being at eye level - and shop owners don't seem to mind so much when all you can see of her is her cute little head and shoulders poking out.

As well, the backpack is much easier on the shoulders and back than an over-the-shoulder carrier for longer trips out shopping.

Posted by: Angie | Apr 9, 2004 10:14:57 PM

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