Should restaurants allow dogs in with their owners? – Part 5

The other day, I sat down at a favorite local pub. It was a perfect late summer afternoon, and my dog and I had completed a long walk and several shopping excursions. I was looking forward to a beer and had his water ready.

I wandered to the terrace, where there are ten tables. Three were occupied with individuals who were smoking and also enjoying the afternoon. I chose my table, the dog immediately placed himself underneath, and we waited for service.

Instead, we were thrown out.

The manager came out, and explained to me that my dog could not be there because it was considered to be a health hazard to individuals who were eating, and that the Health Department could shut them down if they happened to stop by. I look over at the people smoking, and can’t help but to see the irony of the health hazard of second hand smoke verses my canine who was quietly lying underneath the table, looking forward to a handout or two from my plate.

So, I politely left and went to another pub where my dog was welcomed to sit on the terrace and join me in sharing a plate of nachos. He is particular to melted cheese.

Individuals will claim that dogs are unsanitary or potentially disruptive to an eating establishment. Like smokers who have been moved outside, having a dog on a terrace is no different. If individuals do not want the second hand smoke, they can move to a table away from the smokers or move inside; likewise, if the dog is an issue, the patrons can respond the same.

The argument has been presented that dogs can be disruptive. As can children, I retort. A well-trained dog can be as unnoticeable as a well-mannered child. Individuals who take their dogs into public areas have generally invested considerable time and money to make the enjoyment of their dog a positive experience. The same is not necessarily applicable to parents and children. I have had more meals disrupted by the antics of a rowdy child than I have had by a dog sitting on a terrace with his walker.

Very few people are allergic to children; there are a number of individuals who are allergic to dogs. However, I have never seen a dog allergy that was so severe that the person could not be ten feet away in the outdoors while a child ten feet away can still make your eating experience unendurable. Hence, allowing dogs on a terrace at an eating establishment is as fair to dog owners as it is to smokers, leaving the inside of the restaurant for those who wish to have an environmentally sanitized eating experience while the rest of us can enjoy our unsanitary habits with friends or panting companions.

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