I like my dog. I prefer his company to that of most people’s.
He bears witness to all the dumb things I do and doesn’t post a video on YouTube or blog about it. He smiles at my jokes and reveres me as though I am a god when I open the refrigerator.
In return I let him sit on the couch. And yeah, at night he sprawls out on the bed and takes up most of the mattress while I huddle on the edge.
And when I go places he comes with me, weather permitting, and waits in the car. But I’m sensing tension. The emergence of a possible rift. Maybe even some resentment.
Lately, it seems, he’s become aware that he may be the exception to the rule. That while he’s left waiting in the car, all the other dogs in the world are going with their people into stores and supermarkets. It might be my imagination but I swear that when he’s looking at me with his head tilted to one side he’s wondering, “What gives?”
Call it canis envy.
I don’t know when taking your dog into businesses became commonplace. What was the cultural shift that made people think it was acceptable — almost an inalienable right — to bring their pooches into stores and stroll with them up and down grocery aisles or share their table for two at an indoor restaurant?
In the beginning it was the little dogs and the entitled people who owned them. The women with taut faces and garish makeup who carted their yippy Yorkies were seen more as eccentrics who were worthy of mocking, not emulating.
Then it was the middle class set who let their kids push their pugs in strollers as they shopped for lunch meats and cereal.
And now I’m seeing men with their Labradors and rottweilers searching for hardware in stores like Home Depot.
Clearly it’s not a violation of store policy. I’ve seen clerks and cashiers fawn over a cuddly puppy and even offer them treats.
But still, I can’t bring myself to bring my dog in with me. There are some places that ought to be off limits to pooches.
Or maybe it’s just me.
Maybe this world is really going to the dogs and I’m just slow on the uptake. It wouldn’t be the first time. After all, I thought people wearing pajamas out in public was something that would come and go, but just the other day I stood behind someone at a bakery who was wearing comfy looking flannels. Interestingly enough she was wearing a Scooby Doo print.
I say it was interesting because the dog she had at her side was a Lhasa apso with a staring problem. All the while my guy was outside in the car. Waiting. Biding his time.