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Are the French the only people who really like dogs?

I’m in Edinburgh (yes, Scotland) as I write this. I spent the day in a long technical meeting and am sitting in my hotel trying to avoid doing other work. And I have a 4-hour trans-Atlantic teleconference starting in less than an hour. Sigh…

I’ve kind of gotten used to the fact that almost no place in the USA allows dogs any more. Restaurants and grocery stores stopped that a long, long time ago, hotels have almost completely stopped allowing them, and it’s getting more and more rare that dogs are allowed anywhere at all. It’s almost down to the pet stores and Home Depot. But, in spite of my thousands of days spent in other countries over the years, I find myself a bit surprised at how this problem has spread.

When I was in Australia last month, there were signs everywhere saying “No Dogs Allowed!”, and now I’m seeing them here in Scotland as well. At least France still allows dogs in most shops and restaurants (though not, as far as I can tell, in grocery stores).

Why?

In the USA, I can sort of imagine that it’s because so few people accept responsibility for anything any more – if their dog pees on the merchandize or poops on the floor, it seems like most people want to blame the store owner, the guy who just walked out, or their parents, instead of getting some supplies and cleaning it up. Same goes for aggressive dogs and the lack of control that their people exercise. Being such a litigious society, it’s inevitable that public places just find it easier to have a firm policy that excludes everybody, not merely the inconsiderate and the trouble-makers.

In France, I’ve always been happy to find, well-behaved dogs (the vast majority of dogs!) are completely welcome in restaurants ranging from sleasy beer bars to the poshest 4-star places. Hotels are no exception, either, nor are stores ranging from plumbing supplies to high coutoure.

What on earth have we become? Is it any surprise that the PETAs have so little trouble convincing politicians that it’s a Good Thing to pass laws that will ultimately end up with there simply being no pets at all?

On this day..

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