Pet Friendly but not People Friendly

Leave the pets at home, or with family, or a babysitter.
Leave the pets at home, or with family, or a babysitter. | Source

Why are stores choosing pets over human customers? As an asthmatic person, allergic to animals, I don't understand the new pet friendly rules in retail outlets. How much do the animals spend? When did you last see a dog buy a book? How often are dogs shopping for lingerie?

The issue of pet friendly stores is mostly talked about in favour of having animals in the stores. Pet owners defend their view point by claiming they need to socialize their animals, that people afraid of the animals are ignorant or they will talk about how they were allowed to bring their animals everywhere while travelling in Europe. So what?

Socialize your animal on your own dime. You expect a lot if you think to use people to train your animal this way. Without any consideration at all to the people who may dislike animals, be afraid of animals or just not want to bother having a dog who isn't socialized jump on them, bark at them, etc. Pay people to perform this service for you. Do not expect it from random strangers. If the situation were reversed how would you feel?

People tend to be afraid of animals for a reason. To put down their fears as ignorance is shockingly rude and inconsiderate. The reason for their fear is really none of your business. If they have a fear of animals that's just how it is. Don't sit in judgement when in fact, you are the ignorant and intolerant one in this case.

Last of all, bringing animals into a store should be up to the store owner, no matter the geographic location. However, I would hope store owners and managers would take their shoppers into consideration. It is one thing for animals to be in a pet supply store, it is another thing entirely for animals to be in a store which caters to people, not animals.

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Public Stores/ Shops Should Consider their Customers

I worked in a department store where there was a sign on the doors saying "No Pets" and the other standard restrictions about wearing a shirt, not riding a skateboard in the store and so on. No pets suited me very well. I have asthma which is easily triggered by my allergy to animal hair (dander).

When people began bringing their dogs into the store I was unhappy.

We had a regular customer who had a service dog. That dog was trained, very well trained, and no one was allowed to approach and pet the dog. The dog was not handled or carried around or put inside a shopping cart or basket.

Service dogs (service animals in general) are trained. They are trained very well and they are tested for their performance before they are allowed to become service animals. If you see a service animal in public or out somewhere, never try to treat it like a pet. The animal is not mistreated just because it is not being fawned over. Service animals are "at work" and it could be dangerous to distract them from their job. At the very least the animal should not be be put in the place of having to switch roles from being on the job to being a pet. They do get time to be a pet, just not at your convenience.

The pet dogs were far different than any service animal I have encountered. Pet dogs are treated like spoiled, pampered children rather than animals at all. In the store, clothes would smell and show animal hair after a pet owner had shopped, trying on clothes and discarding those which were hung up again, with dog hair. The dogs chewed on various things in the store, both merchandise and store fixtures. It was supposed to be cute and funny when the dog grabbed something and started eating it in the check out aisle.

As a person allergic to animals I did not appreciate being expected to serve people who brought pet animals into the store. I did turn people away from my check out counter as often as I could. At times (like early morning or evening shifts) I was the only cashier. So it was unfair to me that I was forced to suffer asthma and allergies just for someone's need to bring animals into a store.

Pet dogs/ animals are not really trained. They are not trained to be in public and perform a service. Pet animals will bite and chew things, defecate indoors, barf, scratch, will have fleas or worms and pet animals (dogs) will bark. Pet dogs will not keep to themselves. They are likely to jump on other people, chase people and generally be a nuisance to the store staff and other customers who came to shop in the store.

Pet Friendly Stores Need to Warn Customers

Currently, I have stopped shopping at stores which claim to be "Pet friendly". I wish more of them would make note of their pet preference on the door where I walk in. This way I could avoid finding out the hard way.

Having an asthma attack is like trying to breathe under water. Over years of having asthma I have learned to control it and at least, not panic and make it worse. However, people do die from asthma attacks and many people who have asthma also have allergies. Pets being a fairly common allergy, more common than being allergic to peanuts.

Also, I will admit, I do not like dogs in particular. I watched my little sister be attacked by a large dog when she was 4. The dog owner could not pull his dog off my sister's head which was clamped between the jaws of the dog. This was a family pet. So, I have a pretty strong distrust of dogs.

Why do people need to bring their livestock into a public place?

Why do pet owners think it's ok to use me (as a person in a store) to "socialize" their animals?

Why would a store choose to have pets running around rather than people who could actually shop, spend money and come back to do the same again?

Why can't people with allergies and asthma (a real medical problem) have more consideration than people with pets?

If you are a pet owner and can't be without your pet for the time it takes to shop in a store, consider shopping online in order to shop at home, with your pets. That way I can go shopping without wondering if your pet may bother me, scare me, bite me or cause me to have an asthma attack.

Pet or People Friendly?

Is it ok to have animals in public stores/ shops?

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Why Do People Consider Pet Friendly to be About Dogs Only?

Most people seem to think pet friendly is about dogs (and only dogs) being allowed into public places. I have asthma and allergies to animal hair so I'm not all for this. But, aside from that, if a place goes pet friendly shouldn't that include all pets: reptiles, insects, birds, rodents, etc? Does your version of pet friendly include a large snake for instance?

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Comments 11 comments

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 3 years ago from Texas

thatgrrl- I don't have anything against pet dogs but I was shocked to read this. I live in the US and I've never seen pets in any store besides pet stores like Pet Smart and Petco. I have seen service dogs in stores but not often and I agree that's a whole different thing. Those dogs are very well behaved and are being of service to those who need it. I don't blame you for being irritated about it especially having an allergy to pet hair. I bet you felt a little better after writing this hub, after all it didn't sound like the store manager was very helpful to you. I sure do hope it doesn't become a common thing around here! Thank you for sharing.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 3 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada Author

I had allergy shots as a kid. They made me miserable. But, like the idea of buying a horse and living in a corn field, allergy shots are meant to make your body suffer so you can become immune to the allergies. They only work for as long as you keep taking the shots however, weekly or more.

I have been told I should just adapt and live with it. I just don't agree that a person should have to accommodate an animal that way. Seems simpler for the animal to be kept in their own place rather than people having to leave a place which is meant for people. It is one thing to choose to have an animal around versus being forced into it.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 3 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada Author

Thank you.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 3 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada Author

I've never been to Europe. My family, some of them, have made the trip. It was interesting to hear about some of the differences between the countries. I did hear about dogs being in many people places.

I admit, being used to a different lifestyle, I find it kind of gross. It makes me think of my Grandmother who had to live with the livestock in the house during winter. How much she hated it and vowed never to have animals in the house when she grew up and left the family farm. Ironic that people want to go back to that.

I don't dislike dogs and I do actually like cats. But, I don't want them living with me or showing up when I'm doing people things, like shopping for a new book. To me, they just don't belong there, beyond the problem of asthma and allergies.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 3 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada Author

I'm in Barrie. But it seems stores in various towns/ cities allow pets inside now. There isn't a notice on the door - they may even still have the old signs up which say pets are not allowed. But, if you ask them they will say they are 'pet friendly'.

In particular I was in Chapters bookstore and saw a dog walk by, right down the aisle of books where I was. The owner followed a few seconds after. But the dog was not leashed and not controlled in any real way. I was so surprised. I asked staff about it. They said this store is 'pet friendly'. I explained about allergies and asthma and then asked to see the manager. I was told the same 'pet friendly' thing. I asked why the store would choose animals over paying customers but the only thing they could ever say was to compare pet animals to service animals, saying pets are already allowed in the store in this way.

However, a pet is not the same as a service animal. One huge difference being the control over the animal versus a dog running loose in the store. Anyway, ask at stores you shop at. You might find they are pet friendly but do not notify customers or warn those who may have asthma or allergies.


John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 3 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

Ooops! I just remembered that you live in Ontario. How come you get pets in stores in your part of the Province?


John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 3 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

I'm with you on this subject, That Grrl. I used to work in a department store as well, but pets were not allowed. None of the stores up here in Ontario allow pets, in fact it is against the law in Ontario to own a Pit bull.

I was told many, many years ago after a serious allergy attack, that I should buy a horse and live in a tent in the middle of a corn field.


rfmoran profile image

rfmoran 3 years ago from Long Island, New York

I'm a dog lover but I must agree with you. Some people are not, and they deserve consideration, especially as in you case when they have allergies. Have you been to France? I can't recall ever being in a restaurant when there wasn't a dog sitting ON A CHAIR nearby.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Interesting and I now look forward to many more by you.

Eddy.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 3 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada Author

Thank you SuzzyCue. There are a lot of pet people here. I'm sure not all will agree.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Amen to this That Grrrl. I agree every thing in it's place even pets.

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