I am not a dog person. I am not opposed to dogs. I have never owned one, nor am I interested in owning one. I took care of a dog for a short period of time when my brother lived with me in California for a few months. That was fine with me. Actually, it was quite enjoyable. It was fun to take the dog on walks in Golden Gate Park and around the streets of San Francisco. It was nice to have a companion.
I don’t mind people who own dogs either. Where I get upset is when people believe they have a right to take their dog with them wherever they go. There are certain places where this would be acceptable, almost all outdoor areas for example. It just befuddles me when people feel that this extends to airports, stores, and various other enclosed environments.
I admit that I have a minor fear of dogs. Not sure where it came from but I do, especially large dogs. I cannot recall being involved in a traumatic dog incident from my youth. Is it slightly irrational? Sure. But it is just what it is. They scare me. Being in a space with a large dog makes me uncomfortable. Is it fair that I should be made to feel unsafe because you want to bring your dog inside with you? The dog that assists with your anxiety makes me anxious. Who then should decide what is fair in this situation?
This has gotten worse on airplanes. In the last two years, I cannot remember one flight where there wasn’t at least one dog. I understand the research out there that pets, dogs more specifically, can help with anxiety related issues. I get that. I am supportive of emotional support dogs. What I am not supportive of is people abusing this privilege to a point where it is more reflective of the narcissism of our society; people taking advantage of a legitimate issue because they want an exception for themselves.
When does it end? Who classifies what is considered an emotional support animal? How is it fair to passengers who may be allergic to animals and now are forced to sit in an environment that is constantly recycling air full of allergens? Not too mention, the owners that allow their pets to run free on the flight and then a dog takes a shit in the middle of the aisle right next to your seat. Yes, this actually happened. The owner said nothing. The airline staff simply cleaned it up and said nothing. Everyone acted as if nothing happened. I then got to smell dog shit for the remainder of the flight. Awesome, and totally fair trade off for you to feel comfortable on the flight. Oh and then those who need an emotional support animal, get loaded on booze, clearly have taken some type of pill, and then pass out while your dog barks and yaps the entire flight. Enlighten me on how your dog assisted with your anxiety while you were passed out on alcohol and drugs.
Dogs, and all pets for that manner, should be treated humanely, but dogs are not people. There is no Doggie Bill of Rights or Hound Constitution that extends the rights people are afforded to dogs. Shit, we cannot even provide the rights afforded in those documents to all HUMANS in the United States. There are dogs and other animals that eat, dress, and live better than people in our society. We cannot even provide the basic level of Maslow’s Hierarchy to all HUMANS in the US, yet people believe they are entitled to bring their pet, an animal, with them wherever they please.
We want exceptions for ourselves; however, we don’t want others to experience those same benefits. It is our NARCISSISM that is blinding us and perverting our culture. The sense of entitlement is a detriment. The belief that I have the money to pay for it, so I deserve it; a capitalistic mindset that is being stretched beyond its original intention. This development is only going to get worse before it gets better, and the litigious nature of our society only exacerbates the issue. “I will sue you if you don’t let me do this. You are infringing on my rights.” Show me where it is your right to bring your dog with you everywhere you go. Last time I checked, that was not an amendment to the constitution. In fact, unless the Americans with Disabilities Act has been altered again, I am 99% sure that emotional support animals are not included in that legislation either.
This is going way beyond reasonable accommodation. Anyone can purchase a dog vest from the internet to designate their pet as a support animal. I just want to know when it will end. Pets have become an extension of someone’s sense of entitlement. Our narcissism is now in the form of furry four-legged friends.