Why do people bring their dogs to Lowes and other stores? They pee on product. They could bite the faces off kids.” – actual quote of a Lowes customer, 2/18/17
The dog in question was an adult female brindle greyhound, whose owner and I just had small-talk about greyhounds, their habits, my mother’s greyhounds and my Comet’s parentage. This all occurred in the garden center where the dog was absolutely calm and obedient. About this frustrated man next to me in checkout line, I felt pity that he probably did not have a dog. I would like to think that someone with as even-tempered an animal as the greyhound was would be responsible at all times.
In conversation today, one of my mentors revealed that he had not had a pet dog for thirty years. While he admitted he had a great dog as a child many decades ago, the most recent dog was a disagreeable mutt that kids –the now-grown adults wanted thirty years ago. It growled at children and ran whimpering at the sight of ‘varmints’ – I assumed raccoons as they had been prevalent in the area decades ago. While this man was accustomed to working dogs, his line of work put him in contact routinely with very disagreeable and dangerous types. A pet dog had to at least have the internal fortitude to be useful as a defender of home and hearth.
My grandmother was never a dog-person. She exhibited fear at the sight of a dog – which was difficult for me as I had dogs all my life. But the only dog in her family while my mom was a child was a Scottish Terrier. Tippecanoe ( Tippi ) – I was studying the War of 1812 at in high school at the time I got her – always wanted to greet my grandmother when she came for a visit. What a fuss.
My father was the one who got Nicky, a toy poodle when I was a toddler. Nicky would ride in my red wagon with me when my dad took us down the block. Later, after my mother and he divorced, he got a gray standard poodle. Pierre was an energetic animal. A continual series of ‘accidents’ in the house to which my dad cleaned up and dismissed. It may have been a reason his second marriage was short-lived.
My mother was a big animal lover. She took in animal rescues some of which I’ve described in prior writings. She had two greyhounds rescued from a Mexican dog track. A more docile and loyal dog would be hard to find. She also took in cats, horses and a burro.
Dog-people trust the instincts of their dog toward strangers. If the dog likes you, I will like you. If the dog allows you to hold the leash when two or more of us are on a walk, he trusts you. I will trust you. If the dog has a ‘skelly’ look ( misgivings) toward a workman in my home, I will keep a weather eye out. A couple of workmen who came to my home and we contracted to do work; the dog was very comfortable around another dog-person and so was I.
People can have a bad day; politics, traffic, business, home repairs can make you irritable. I don’t care for people who don’t like dogs. I feel a little sadness for others who don’t want to have a dog at home. I get blood in my eyes when I hear about dog abusers. I think all dog-lovers would.
But then I have Dexter, Comet, and a long walk to soothe my emotions. I do not know what became of that frustrated customer. I haven’t heard reports of dogs peeing in stores – well perhaps in Petco. I haven’t read about children being devoured by a greyhound in Lowes. Maybe in Dixieline? But maybe he needs an emotional-support dog.