Gone to the Dogs
In one of the more fashionable Long Island villages, some restaurants have been serving up cuisine on narrow outdoor sidewalks – ever since the air conditioning went out in the Seegate diner. On that day, Sam, the proprietor, desperately set his tables outside, plopped vases on them and dubbed the near fiasco, ‘al fresco’.
Soon, his displaced patrons discovered that this curbside vantage point offered fantastic views of the harbor and a few clueless tourists perceived it as the ultimate of chic and sophisticate. A significant clientele arose from the sidewalks of trendy Tourtrap Manor, Long Island . Visitors were easily sold on the idea that feasting amidst sickening exhaust fumes, ducking passersby while shooing horseflies flies , is cool. To say nothing about ingesting buggy Tiramisu along with cold Cappuccino . Oh what joy!
And now, to add to the merriment, doggies who are not specially trained service dogs are welcome to do lunch with the bunch on ‘elegant’ curbside patios – one step from the gutter.
It appears that this development is being warmly accepted by the patrons and their pooches, but to us peasants, if raises a few questions as well as eyebrows. In light of these concerns, it may be time to establish some form of protocol before this situation turns into a doggone disaster.
The first question that comes to mind is:
Is there a limit to the size, breed or temperament of the animal? Okay. so that makes three questions. Here’s another; if breed is a factor, can that be interpreted as discriminatory? Come to think of it, why can’t I bring my cat out with me to eat? Poor Kitty, all she ever gets to do is hang around the house and ingest her victuals right next to her litter box. Litter boxes? Oh, I can just picture them lined up all in a row along the Seegate’s fence.
Speaking of ‘equal rights’, why can’t I bring my adorable , well behaved pot belly pig?
A few years ago, we visited a Key West eatery where a local customer walked in with a yellow head Amazon parrot perched on his shoulder. The pair were seated promptly and no one said a word in reply to the rude wise cracking fowl who insulted everyone in the place. Seems like it is only a matter of time when all pets are welcome all over the street cafes of Long Island . The possibilities are endless. But for now, let’s just deal with the dogs.
Suppose Fido is four feet high sitting down. His jowls are table top high. He has the potential to slobber his Alpo all over the linen tablecloth. Does the waiter set a place for him on the table – with his own bowl and doggie menu? Or does he take a spot under the table where he can snatch up crumbs and lick sandaled feet and exposed toes to his heart’s content?
What if Fido thinks the service is poor? Does he just sit there and beg until he is fed from the table? What style of begging does he use: whining, barking , jumping up – all of the above? Is he friendly, too friendly or aggressive ?
Suppose one of those pocket book pooches arrive ? Does Fifi stay put in her purse, poking her snooty snout out for’ Mommie’ to stuff with tidbits? What if her master is dishing out Kibbles from a zip-lock when the hamburgers are served to humans? Does Fifi bite the hand feeding her, leap onto the table and serve herself? Are the tables bolted down?
No matter what size they are, after they eat, nature calls. Where does the pooper scooper go? Who provides it, the dog’s owner or the restaurant? If the establishment furnishes them, how are they distributed? Does the maitre ‘d offer it as he walks your party to a table or do they place it like a napkin at the doggies spot? Where do you utilize it ?What do you do with it when doggies done? Hang it on the back of your chair? Hand it over to the waiter? Kick it under the table?
What if Fido gets the urge to mark his territory? How far can he go?
Did I mention the barking issue or yipping depending on the size of the dog. Fido wants another treat and ‘speaks’ up. Suppose there are other animals there at the same time and they all decide to have a bark fest .
What happens the moment Fido notices that Fifi is in season? The need for intervention has reached the critical point.
While it is easy to pose these questions, the solutions may be harder to find. It may be prudent to set some rules – before any pet set paw at any place. There are many variables and sensibilities to address. But in a stopgap action that will most likely be amended over and over again, I have drawn up a list of do’s and don’ts for potential canine consumers and their masters.
To begin with, a large bulletin board could be placed at the entrance of every establishment that does not already have a ‘No Dogs Allowed’ sign posted. It would read :
All dogs must be accompanied by a leash.
Any canine over 16 pounds will not be permitted entry.
In the event your dog attacks someone, the establishment is not responsible for damages. Waivers are provided.
All dogs must be neutered.
All human patrons must supply treats or if that is impossible the restaurant will supply a limited amount of treats at a cost of five dollars a bag.
If patrons, do not have their own pooper scoopers, they will be provided at a cost of 10.00 each ( Space will be provided in the alley way for that purpose.)
All owners must clean up any accidents and reimburse management for permanent damage.
All used pooper scoopers must be placed in a conspicuous location , in a manner not to be confused with traditional doggie bags…
I just lost my appetite.
If ever I feel the compulsion to eat on the street and wish to bring along my most precious pet, I will dig into my closet and reach for my best source of comfort and security – my pet rock. It doesn’t bark. It doesn’t bite . It doesn’t make a mess or take up a lot of space. Best of all it doesn’t eat anything.
Pet Rocks Permitted
(under 5 pounds, please)