Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Both of the New York restaurants that refused to serve us -- Le Steak Bistro and Katz's Deli --had prominent signs in the window saying, Zagat.

I'd never heard of Zagat. But when I got home I googled it and lo! This is a site for people (in big cities) who like to talk about the restaurants in their big cities. But anybody can play, so I signed up and logged on and started a discussion topic called, Service Animals. Would you believe 40 posts in two weeks?

Some of the most controversial came from an apologist for the restaurant industry who calls himself Meathead (he's into ribs) Meathead's concern is that someone might bring a "fraudulent" service dog into a restaurant. How, he asks -- rather sanctimoniously -- is a restaurant manager to know the difference between a "real" service dog and a fake? Seeing Eye dogs are okay -- but the rest of them?

What was surprising is the response he got. Most people said, The law is the law, and restaurant owners are no more exempt than anyone else. And nobody -- except Meathead -- seemed interested in making things more difficult for the disabled by making them jump through complicated, bureaucratic hoops to obtain a service animal.

But here's the interesting bit. None of the people who responded seemed overly fussed at the idea of the occasional dog in a restaurant. Nobody (except Meathead) worried about allergies, fleas jumping into the pate, or dogs savaging unsuspecting diners. In fact, someone pointed out that the French have been allowing dogs into restuarants for decades, with no observable ill effects.

I personally think it should be up to the individual restaurant owner to decide whether or not dogs are allowed. (That's already the rule for hotels and motels) Of course, they'd still have to admit service animals. But even though technically I can stay anywhere I choose, I bend over backwards NOT to pick accommodation that doesn't allow dogs, because I don't agree with their policy and I won't support it by giving them my business.

If the rules for restaurants were brought into line with the rules for accommodation, at least we'd have a choice. And I think most people would end up opting for restaurants with signs that said, Well-behaved pets welcome.

What do you think?


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

I agree with you. European restaurants allow dogs. Though there is a difference between a Bao and a Bacchus. His tail alone can do untold damage to a table top!

So what do you do when travelling in this country with Bao??

7:13 PM

Blogger FleasGang said...

we have no problem with dogs in restaurants. This may be a dumb question, but don't service dogs get some type of certificate stating that they are so? If they do, why couldn't one just show it to the manager of the restaurant if there is a question? I know that you SHOULDN'T have to carry around such papers and prove yourself. But it would be great to shove it in his face and say "look at this sucker!". It's an interesting topic though.

The FleasGang

11:53 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home