A friend of mine, Ms. Beverly Goldenstein, has a blog I follow religiously 1) because it’s hilarious 2) because sometimes I need to make sure she’s still alive and 3) she’s not afraid to speak her truth. On Sunday Bev finally decided to speak her truth about something near and dear to her, a touchy subject for a lot of people – as you’ll see – because the world is full of canine elitest. Bev does not like dogs – like, at all – and, because of said canine elitest, she also has a growing disdain for clueless dog owners. Before anyone gets defensive, let me say I am a dog person – I’ve always grown up with them and, generally, I love them BUT there is some sort of entitlement happening with dog owners these days. We all know them, the ones that don’t pick up their dog’s shit, the ones who’s dogs are so adorable they’re allowed to jump on, lick and sniff strangers whenever (and wherever) they please, the ones who are free to roam the neighborhood because they’re just so friendly and everybody knows them. Listen, if my kid shit anywhere outside of my yard (come on, even in my yard), I’d be cleaning that shit up A-SAP. If my kid was persistently trying to be up in someone’s business, I’d be apologizing profusely. And if my kid was roaming any neighborhood, someone would call social services on my ass without hesitation. SO, hear Bev out – she makes a great point. Owning a pet, much like being a parent, is a privilege but it’s also a choice – your choice, not everyone else’s.
It’s no secret here (or anywhere) that Bevvy G hates dogs. Like, for real, hates. This is a loaded hatred. It’s not easy to live with…
For starters, when you hate dogs, people hate you. When you meet someone new, and tell them you dislike dogs (even if you don’t use the H word), they assume that you must be some kind of sociopathic, homicidal maniac. I’m sorry, but stand. the hell. down. You don’t know me. For all you know, I could donate thousands to charities dedicated to getting clean water to underdeveloped countries. Maybe, instead of vacations, I take mission trips to build homes for those in need. It’s possible that I am the kind of person who gives money to the people begging for it on the corner. What if my life’s work has been dedicated to teaching impoverished kids in rough neighborhoods? You don’t know whether or not I have taken unpaid leaves from my job to work with the Red Cross after a natural disaster occurs. Now, to be fair, I certainly don’t do all of those things, but these Judgie McJudgersons don’t know that. They know that I could. not. give. less. of. a. shit. to see pictures of their new puppy1, and therefore, write me off as a terrorist.
Second, here’s a public service announcement for you all:
You don’t get to choose what you like and don’t like.
I mean, if we could, wouldn’t we all choose to just love chicken breasts and broccoli, and absolutely abhor burgers and fries? Like, I’m sorry that I naturally, innately, want to vomit when I watch you pick up your dog’s poop and put it into a bag. I am absolutely not kidding when I tell you that if I think about that for long enough, I could probably make myself throw up (new weight loss program?). Thinking about holding warm dog poop in my hand, shielded only by a thin layer of plastic, is enough to send me over the edge. But, back to my point… think about something you don’t like. Brussels sprouts? Olives? Now, pretend that you meet someone at a bar, and somehow, it’s brought up that you don’t like Brussels sprouts, and everyone at the table looks at you like you just stabbed the waiter, and then starts asking you anywhere from 5-15 questions about why you don’t like Brussels sprouts. “Did you have a bad experience with Brussels sprouts when you were young?” “Have Brussels sprouts ever attacked you?” “Did you have Brussels sprouts as a kid?” “Do your parents like Brussels sprouts?” “Would you ever date someone who eats Brussels sprouts?” And then you just sit there, trying to be nice, because these people already think you’re a jihadist. My personal favorite of the ‘Why don’t you like dogs grill session’ is, “You grew up on a farm and you don’t like dogs?” Yes. Like, I don’t know what the hell you want me to say, people. I mean, “You grew up with a garden, and you don’t like Brussels sprouts?” You lunatic.
But, you know what I’m learning as I get older? I don’t hate dogs as much as I hate dog owners. Some dog owners, that is. Some dog owners are totally cool. My best friend owns a dog. And I don’t hate that dog. I don’t hate that dog’s owner. Because that dog owner is sane and stays in her lane. Listen, people, you can do whatever the hell you want with your dog in private. Kiss it. Lick it. Let it lick you. Touch its poop without a plastic bag. Smell its breath. Sleep with it. Talk to it like it’s a human. Share spaghetti with it à la Lady and the Tramp. Whatever. But when it comes to public places, know your role. If you don’t, here are some basic ground rules.
*Keep your dog away from other people’s food. Period. This includes grocery stores, restaurants, etc. I mean, I can’t be on my cell phone and order a bagel at my favorite spot, but you can bring your 100 pound soaking wet/snow-covered dog into a coffee shop and let it bark at anyone and everyone who comes near it? Oh, yes, it’s a “therapy dog”- more on that in a moment.
*Keep your dog away from children, unless the child and its parent approach you. Yes, we all know that your dog would never attack or bite. Not your precious pet. Look, Ace Ventura – did your dog wake up this morning and tell you how much he loves kids, and that if he sees a kid in a stroller at the farmers market2, that he’s not going to try to eat the fresh, locally-grown, organic snack out of that kid’s hand or mouth (possibly injuring the child in the process) because it looks and smells delicious? I didn’t think so.
*Business or pleasure? Look, people. I totally understand that sometimes dogs are a necessity. I get it. And I can totally deal with it. If there is someone near me who actually needs a dog to function in daily life, I can deal with that dog being in the grocery store. Bring that pooch into this restaurant, sir. Hell, I would let that dog in my house (I would have to have a steady buzz, but I would do it). Allow me to tell you a story that really chaps my ass. I once rode on a plane with a man who had a ‘service dog’ of some type. I (obviously) didn’t sit next to him, but I heard him telling the person next to him how he didn’t really need the dog, but that he had gotten it ‘certified’ (?) so that he didn’t have to board it or whatever. Now, I don’t know how true this is, or if it’s possible, but dude seemed to know what he was talking about, and the chick on the receiving end of that information sure seemed like she was going to do the same so she could travel with her furball for her next trip. There is a special place in hell for people who do this.
*Don’t assume I like your dog, or want to pet it, or let it get within five feet of me. Maybe I’m allergic. Maybe I’m scared. Maybe I once watched a big dog literally kill a small dog. Maybe my childhood friend’s sister got mauled and killed by a dog. Maybe none of these things have happened to me, but all of those things have happened to people I know. Maybe I just don’t want your dog to come smell my crotch and get dog slobber or hair on my clean black pants. That’s me. Now, if we are in a canine zone (pet store, dog park, dog obedience class), that is a different story. You can make different assumptions about people who are there with you than you can about people walking down the street.
*Keep your dog on a leash in public. See above, but also, I can and will kick your dog if it comes up and tries to sniff me, bite my ankles, any other bullshit dogs like to do (if it’s small dog, that is. I ain’t messin’ with your big dog, but I might kick you). If your dog jumps on my car and scratches it with its claws, I reserve the right to call 911 and press vandalism charges against you if that’s possible (this happened to me recently, and if I had a newer car, I most certainly would’ve contacted the authorities. I am not kidding.). Where I come from, dogs get shot for being in the wrong place. Know. Your. Role.
To make a long story short… It is your right to own and love a dog. I respect that. I need to you to know that it is just as much my right not to own or love a dog. And I need you to respect that.
OK, I’m stepping off my soapbox, because there’s no champagne up here.
-Beverly TotallyPreparedToLoseFollowersForThisOne Goldenstein
1If said puppy is in costume, pictures welcome. Obviously.
2I did extensive research on the use of an apostrophe in farmers market, and I see the argument for both a) farmers market and b) farmers’ market. I mean, farmers is plural, so a could work, but do these farmers own the market, necessitating the apostrophe in farmers’ market? I don’t know. Let’s just focus on the task at hand here. Which is you keeping your damn dog away from me.
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