When People Don’t Like That You Travel With a Small Dog
I understand that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. In fact everyone is entitled to his or her own feelings, thoughts, likes and dislikes. So, if a person happens to not be a dog lover, well so be it; after all, to each their own. But, from time to time something happens that forces my paw to take on a big issue. So I am about to get on a little soapbox. Consider yourself duly warned.
What do you do when confronted in public; at work or at … say … the airport with an attitude of intolerance towards your canine? What do you say when people don’t like that you travel with a small dog? The only answer is this: Remain calm and be prepared. If they are rude and shouting – be the better person. They will look all the more the fool if you remain serene and poised. So, here is a list of points you can keep filed away in your mind for those moments of confrontation that will occur because you happen to want to travel or be about town with your pet.
Although not big fans of children, we are not by any means child haters. I often find it amusing to notice that children, especially very small ones are allowed everywhere and yet, they have a lot of the characteristics that people use as arguments against dogs in restaurants and other public places especially public transport.
- Noisy? Check
- Unclean? (ex: boogers and runny noses, sticky fingers, muddy shoes on seats) Check
- Disruptive? Ummm yes definitely Check …
The point I am trying to make is this: Those that argue against dogs use the worst possible behavior a dog can display (usually at the fault of the dog owner and lack of training) to make their point. So just like a quiet well behaved child is a delight or at least not annoying to other patrons, a quiet, clean and well-behaved canine can be as well. As long as the dog is out of the way and not placing anyone in danger – I say let the dogs come or at the very least – let the business owner decide.
This must be the number one argument used to keep canines out. The latest in the “allergies as an excuse” list is the most annoying attempt on the part of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) to lobby for a legislated law against (Canadian) airlines allowing pets in cabin.
It is amazing how North American society is becoming ruled, I would even say bullied, by special interest groups, where the few constantly dictate to the many; but before we say something unfair like “let them suffer” how about we look at options. Let us be inclusive rather than exclusive.
In the case of airlines – there are options that are far more productive than an all out ban.
- Simply allow demand and supply to determine how much of a problem this really is – rather than a committee of doctors. If people with pet allergies request non-pet flights, and there are enough of these requests, then the airlines will be forced to provide that service (or loose that business to a competing airline that does). If there isn’t enough demand then it probably isn’t enough of an issue for government to start making laws about it. West Jet says they have only had 2 small issues in the last year and they fly 58,000 pets every 18 months (at $50 a pet per flight).
- Include “do you have a severe allergy to pets” as a question when booking. If the client says yes, then all pet friendly flights are removed as options. Alternatively, the flight they book is declared a non-pet flight. This would then block those requesting a pet in cabin from being able to book that particular flight. This means refining the tracking mechanism of airlines but seems very simple to me.
- The bipeds have spoken to many allergy specialists about this (they know them because of their own allergies) and here is the kicker. A dog’s dander and/or fur’s ability to trigger an allergic reaction is actually within a specific radius. Reduced even further when confined to the crate/carrier. Why then, not place people with pets in one section of the plane – and those with allergies on the opposite side respecting that space? For most – 6-8 rows is the only separation required.
- Invest in better air filtration. This is what West Jet did after they consulted with medical professionals on the allergy issue. Unlike Air Canada, West Jet has allergen filters in their system. In this case only 4 rows between a pet and a person with allergies are actually required. They however, as a precaution put 8-10 rows between those passengers. Those with allergies however MUST identify themselves. After all, when someone has a serious allergy that really creates a health issue for them (versus a whiner that likes to complain about everything) then they need to be proactive – as they have the problem, versus making their problem everyone else’s problem by dictating to everyone else and pushing for laws.
The bipeds were particularly angry with the CMA when this came out, because there are far larger issues regarding health when it comes to airplanes – like the use of asbestos in their construction. But we digress.
In public places, and most important open air spaces, the allergy argument holds even less ground. Often patio’s that use this excuse also serve peanuts or other nuts – an allergy that can kill on contact. There are other respiratory allergies out there, including scent. If patrons are allowed to wear perfume, that causes many of the same symptoms as a dog allergy – then I fail to see how the allergy argument holds any ground. Ragweed and pollen allergies are not about to make the city mow down every tree, shrub and pull out every lawn.
I feel bad for those with allergies – I know … Dad is allergic to me; Mom is severely allergic to synthetic fragrances and cigarette smoke. Allergies suck. But can you really create law that excludes all dog owners from sitting down at a pubs patio or flying with their dog because of allergies? As my Dad often says “My allergies are mine to manage – I do not impose rules on others because of my health issues”.
Being near a dog is against my religion:
I would have avoided even discussing this particular issue if it had not actually directly impacted our family recently. Yes … family. This one happens to include a cross species membership. The bipeds have done a lot of research on this; have spoken to a few PhDs in theology and divinity and more. The fact is this. There is NO religion that actually says dogs are against the religion. Nope sorry – not even the Quran. I will talk about this issue a little more in my next post – we beg your patience. So that argument – just doesn’t fly. You can respond now, with respect and knowledge… knowing that this is in fact not true.
That is all the time I have on the soapbox, I am told someone else needs it. If you wish to comment, please do and share your thoughts. When people don’t like that you travel with a small dog I ask that everyone remain respectful. Take the high ground. This is a sensitive issue for many.