Pet owners–entering public spaces shouldn’t give us paws

As a responsible pet owner, I see my dogs akin to human children.

While I understand that they are not a replacement for a child, the desire to parade my well behaved pups in public is always on my mind.

Like an excited parent, I’m going to brag about my four-legged companion’s behaviour because in near all cases I’m complimented on their exemplary citizenship.

Solomon gets excited about meeting new people and dogs, so his behaviour still requires temperance, but on the whole, my companions shatter prejudices giving many people a glimpse into what a family pet should be.

It’s a huge compliment and slightly off-putting to have people ask me to train their canines; and it happens more than often. Truth be told, it has crossed my mind to have my dogs accredited so that I can share their companionship with the world, not just my friends and family. As I started to do research, I found that no such accreditation exists and the only way my dogs could go on public adventures was if they were service animals.

I also discovered that claiming Sheba & Solomon were service animals was easier than I initially thought. However, that’s a crime, punishable by imprisonment and a fine.

Apparently I’m not alone, but where I stop, others continue.

The problem with faking Fifi as a service animal occurs when the¬†illusion crumbles–as she tinkles on a¬†$3000 Oriental rug at the furniture store.

Sure, smaller breeds fit in purses, but a bigger, untrained Fido may not be as comfortable with strangers. There’s even been an instance where a fake service dog attacks a person or a real service animal. It seems often times that parents of all types live under the illusion that their child is infallible; a truly dangerous notion.

No person or pet is infallible, and the most well-behaved and successful individuals in our society were reared at some point. Boundaries are recognised but rarely broken because those limits are in place for a reason.

You wouldn’t urinate in a public space or scream in a crowded mall, your pet shouldn’t either; my Sheba doesn’t. Service animals are trained to become invisible in public spaces for everyone’s protection and to benefit the life quality of handler. These people and their companions face increased scrutiny everywhere because of a few bad apples.

Similarly, there are restaurants facing a battle with parents who don’t teach their children to behave in public, and, in response, the business places restrictions on the admittance of children. The parental units, aghast at the exclusion, claim their rights are violated and the parallel is easily drawn with pet parents passing their unruly paws as model citizens.

If a certificate was available for Sheba to prove that her good behaviour should allow her into all public spaces, you can bet we’d do it.

Until then, we’re relegated to pet friendly establishments, which is okay too.

We could cheat, like all those other people, but entering public spaces should never give anyone paws.

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