Saturday, December 25, 2010

Back Story: People and their dogs

Suki, getting cleaned up for a trip to PetSmart

Long ago, I came to the conclusion that dog owners are nuts. In Manhattan, for instance, it seems the smaller one's apartment, the bigger the dog that lives there. All this in an environment where there is limited space for the animal to do its business.

Many years ago, a law was passed and "Curb Your Dog" signs popped up everywhere. Obviously, that wasn't going to fix much. I can remember a blistering summer day on Sutton Place South, one of New York's ritziest neighborhoods, when the odor was so bad it caused me to wonder where it would all end. This couldn't be good for one's health, I concluded.

Someone on City Council must have agreed with me, because they finally passed a "pooper scooper" law and those elegant ladies on Sutton Place were required to take their dog's droppings home with them in a baggie. You can bet that soon be came a job for the doorman or the chauffeur. The law was controversial and oft violated when it went into effect in 1978, but it nevertheless brought about a noticeable improvement in sidewalk aroma. It did not, however, bring about a decline in the number or size of its canine targets. New Yorkers muddled through, as they always do.

I have a friend who lives in a two bedroom apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side who has two Doberman Pincers and a Dachshund. Somehow, I doubt that Mike carries a pocket full of sandwich bags with him when he takes his dogs out for a stroll. Just recently, the New York Post ran an article on the neighborhoods where the "pooper scooper" law is most frequently violated.

Fast forward to the year 2000 and our move to Ohio. If I thought New Yorkers were nuts with their dogs, I was in for a rude awakening. It started when we moved next door to a house with a barking dog. The woman who owned the scraggly mutt was hearing impaired, so she couldn't hear it begging to be brought back into the house at three in the morning. Then there were the people who brought their dogs to the outdoor concerts in Shawnee Park in Xenia. The barking and chasing of the ducks seemed to bother only me. And the folks who took their dogs to the flea markets and the street fairs, it seemed they took them with them everywhere.

In the ten years we have been here, the laws have tightened up a bit, just when we got a dog and the appeal of taking her with us everywhere has finally become apparent. I doubt that I would want to take her to the Yellow Springs Street Fair; too crowded. But the flea market..? Yeah, I probably would. The concerts in the park..? Maybe. What the heck, if everybody else is doing it...

What's a poor fellow to do with his dog, nowadays, especially when the snow cover refuses to recede?

The answer is PetSmart. The folks at the large pet supply chain allow you to bring your dog into the store on a leash. It's a great way to socialize your new puppy by letting her meet other dogs and their owners. It's also a good way to get her out of the house, no matter what the weather. It's a veritable indoor dog park with clean up stations. And they offer grooming and obedience training.

If other pet stores are not doing this, they should. It's good business. Get the customers into the store to browse and they are likely to engage in impulse buying, especially pet owners. There is an endless supply of expensive animal paraphernalia.

We have had super pup for three weeks and have already been to the PetSmart in Beavercreek three times; with the dog, of course. And she has never failed to stop the show.


Yvonne said...

I LOVE Pet Smart; I'm just sorry that I have cats who HATE to travel so I can't bring them. But the other thing I LOVE about Pet Smart is that they don't do Puppy Mills, they bring in animals from shelters. I visit those all the time at PS and wish that I could take them home....It's one of the main reasons I shop there and nowhere else for my pet supplies.

Kay Reimers said...

Has all the dog activity scared away Allan Street Al and the rest of the ground hogs? Have they picked up on the idea that there's a new sheriff in town and have moved on?

Virgil Hervey said...

I don't suppose we will know until Feb. 11...