02 May 2008


I am not a dog lover. Lately, seems as if I'm announcing that I'm anti-apple pie, anti-baseball, and anti-American when I say I don't like dogs. *roll eyes* Yeesh, you'd think that people's dogs are ranked right up there with baby Jesus.

I don't like anything with more legs than me, truth be told. Dogs, cats, ants, spiders, hamsters, squirrels, DEER... Animals just aren't my thing. They're OK, but I chose not to share my home with one.

I was terrorized by a neighbor's dog as a young child, a dog that had been bred for protection. I can never remember if it was a German Shepard or a Doberman, but I learned how to climb the trees in my yard to get away from that dog. Neighborhood kids had what we called a "Dog Alert;" we'd shout the words at the top of our lungs whenever a strange dog came in to the neighborhood, due to our experiences with the guard dog. And we'd all scramble for the trees.

More than 25 years later, I'm still very, very skittish around dogs especially. People say to me all the time,

"Oh, you'd LOVE my dog."

No. No, I wouldn't. I. Don't. Like. Dogs. It has nothing to do with your dog; it is about my irrational fear.

I've worked on it over the years, trying to not react with unadulterated terror when confronted with a dog. Just when I think I'm getter better with it....last week a neighbor's dog attacked me. If I hadn't had on a baggy sweatshirt, I would have a nice wound on my stomach from where he tried to bite me. Instead, he got a bite of my polar fleece pullover. Scared the crap outta me, obviously. He's a little bitty bit of a thing, a miniature something or other. I could step on him and crush him. But that terror still exists. My neighbor was horrified, and scolded the dog, apologized profusely. It wasn't anyone's 'fault' and I'm not angry or anything. Just frightened.

On Ravelry this week, in the weekly newsletter, there's a question to the agony aunt about what a knitter should do about a yarn store owner who has started bringing her dogs into the yarn store. I'd link to it, but if you're not a member of Ravelry, you can't see the newsletter. If you are a Raveler, check out TWIR, issue 13, the Aunt Bobopants column.

The agony aunt gave great advice, but IMHO, she missed one small point. Both the letter-writer and the agony aunt are doggy people, they have dogs themselves.

Those of us who are NOT doggy people see this from another angle. I would stop patronizing any local business that allowed their dogs to freely roam their business. Period. And I'd tell the store owner the true reason for no longer stopping by for whatever the product or service might be. I don't want to browse the yarn bins with a dog sniffing at my heels. Ew. When I lug my vacuum cleaner to the repair shop for its annual check-up, I don't want a dog checking me out, sniffing my crotch, yapping at me. No. Thank. You. I support local businesses whenever and wherever I can, but if you bring your puppy to your office, you're going to lose my patronage.

If you own your own business, and you want to bring your pets to work, go ahead; it is your business. Allow me to be clear: I am not suggesting that business owners do not have the right to run their businesses in any manner that they see fit. Knock yourself out, dude. It is my considered opinion that unless you're running a pet store, there just isn't a really good reason to have your kitty-cat, puppy, or pet iguana roaming the aisles and climbing on the shelves.

Nor do I think pets have any place in professional environments. Law firms, accounting firms, doctor's offices, temp agencies. When I worked for the non-profit, I was frequently in a hospital as part of my job, and I was horrified the first time I encountered therapy dogs. Besides overweening terror, my first thought was, "ugh, how unsanitary." But as time went on, I discovered two things. One, hospitals are all absolutely filthy places. Even with a top-notch cleaning staff, they're still very dirty. Two, the therapy dogs helped people. They didn't cure cancer, or fix a broken leg, but they did bring smiles to people's faces, made them laugh. Intangible sorts of things. And the trainers handled them well. They'd go into the patient's room without the dogs, and ask if the patient wanted a visit from the dogs. If the patient did not, they'd go on to the next room. No harm, no foul. I respected the dog handlers for that.

But puppies in a yarn store? Ick.


Dawna said...

I don't blame you and I see your point entirely. However I am a pet person. One of my old employers used to allow her pooch to run amok in the store and it would drive me batshit crazy.

There is a time and place for animals- at work is NOT one of those places. When someone takes upon the responsibility to be a pet owner, they should also realize that pets are VERY unsanitary and need a lot of care. There are many dogs, cats, and people I know who are pet owners that I simply won't associate with because the proper care isn't taken.

Pets can be very gross.

So yeah, I like animals. I have two cats and want a dog. I still say "ew" when I walk out of anywhere whilst covered in their pet's fur.

Don't worry, people look at me like I'm a freak too. "Oh, you'd like my dog." *snort* Hell no I probably won't.

Lucy Arin said...

I left out the overwhelming responsibility that owning a pet is! Huge, huge, huge. Taking good care of them is super-important too. Yet again, you bring something to the table I'd forgotten. :-)

Why don't "they" just let you and I run the world? LOL

The Wrath of Dawn said...

If you are afraid of dogs, the size of the dogs doesn't matter. I started out as a dog lover and used to frighten my mother by flinging my arms around the necks of large dogs. Then I experienced a very nasty incident (that was not initiated by hugging a dog) when I was about 4 and was very frightened of dogs after that. For years, even something as small as a chihuahua would terrify me if it barked. But then I got cured. By being bitten. Ironic, huh?

Now I own a dog (You'd love her! Right...) but I still respect other people's phobias because I know exactly how it feels.

There is a time and a place for dogs. Not only are plenty of people phobic, but many are very allergic. No responsible business owner should bring a dog into the workplace, especially if it's a retail outlet.

Dawna said...

LA, we SHOULD rule the world. LOL

Lucy Arin said...

Wrath of Dawn-
Are you sure the cure (being bitten) is better than the disease? eeeeep, they'd have to pry me off the ceiling if I got bitten. I think. *shudders for a moment*

Good to know that it can be overcome, though. :-)