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Pet Friendly but Not People Friendly

Updated on November 2, 2018
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Laura has been interested in ideas for small business from her own childhood. Small businesses run in her family.

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.

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?

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.

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

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.


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