Having recently embarked on another tour of dog ownership after a pause of five years, we’ve decided that this time, we’re not going to patronise establishments unless they are dog-friendly.
With our previous dogs, in previous years, it was often a matter of feeling like a third class citizen, being excluded and not wanted (“No Dogs” signs) or being consigned to sitting outside the pub or cafe concerned. Now that’s OK when the weather is fine, but it’s a no-go area when it’s not, like when you’re visiting a town as a tourist, it’s pelting with rain and you’re wanting a drink.
So this time around, unless the cafe, pub or other establishment is dog-friendly, we’re passing by and not spending our money there.
It’s very different in France. Travelling with our last dog, we tended to ask if we could bring the dog into cafes and restaurants, and were greeted with a surprised, “Mais, bien-sur!” (“Of course!”). Our dog was even offered a drink of water in a champagne bucket in one restaurant.
Things have changed in the UK though. There are many more places advertising their dog-friendliness with a notice in the window or on the door. One cafe in our local town welcomes dogs, and has a short set of expectations for dog owners and dogs displayed on the window. All of them are commonsense. Dog-friendly cafes, restaurants, beaches etc. are listed on line – a quick search before a day out will indicate where you and dog will be welcome – and there are apps, too, giving similar information.
There seem to be many more dogs about these days – things have moved on in the five years we’ve been dogless; equipment, toys and tolerance of dogs has come on in leaps and bounds. A local shopkeeper, on hearing we had a new dog, said “Bring him in to see us, we welcome dogs and it’s good for his socialisation.” Said new dog was perfectly behaved when we did visit, sitting quietly and proving that some of the training was taking effect!
The bottom line for me, as a dog owner, is that the owner is always responsible. The dog shouldn’t be blamed. It should be on a lead and under the control of the owner.
But don’t get me started on people who pick up their dog’s poos in a plastic bag and then hang the bag on a nearby tree branch or leave it on the ground. There’s another blog post in that, for when I’m in need of a rant!