It was the barking that seemed strangely out of place this evening.
Maybe I really am a relic of a more sane epoch. As much as I love my furry companions, I cannot comprehend why people think it is normal to bring your dogs with you while shopping. Take this evening as an example. I jumped into the car to trip to Target, a “big box” retail and grocery store, to pick up dog biscuits for Comet and Dexter. (There is little more compelling than Dexter pawing at the kitchen cabinet, and having no biscuits – an after-meal treat – to give them.) I do not consider myself an unsympathetic person, but I saw not one, but three different shoppers, two women and a family, with small terrier-breed dogs, two in shopping carts, and one walking alongside as they went into the checkout lines on either side of me.
All three were outfitted with attractively-colored halter/vests, which did not seem to raise any undue attention from cashier or the management folks. At the end of the second decade of the new millennium, it is de rigueuer for people who pass off everything from Schnauzers to Chihuahuas, as a “support animal”. But in a supermarket or a retail store? I am not an unreasonably critical person. I do live in a country where people with actual disabilities whose certified, trained dogs, such as golden retrievers, German Shepherds, Labradors, and other breeds perform critical services, often get people ignorantly questioning them (actually prohibited by law under the Americans with Disabilities Act). Until I learned what I can and cannot ask, as an usher at my church, I was one of those. But I can ask, legally, what the service animal is trained to perform. And if there is no service these perform, I defer to the management whose building we rent for church services, for ultimate approval.
Some who may read this, may believe I am questioning those with emotional support animals, which are not required to be trained. I do understand that we all have things and companions that help us, in a variety of ways, but i think many just see their pets as children, and nobody questions bringing your kids along while shopping. On the other hand, I do believe that “common sense” no longer seems to be the community standard it once was in the United States. Do you think I should be more compassionate? In reality, all our furry companions are for emotional support, right? But, I wouldn’t bring then grocery shopping. At least, until I see someone with a miniature horse grazing in the produce aisle. But THAT is a legally-supported service animal according to the Government.
I need some emotional support. Where’s a ferret when you need one?