There was a piece in December 31st’s NYT Thursday Styles section about rich people sneaking their dogs into places they shouldn’t be. It singled out the predicament of the actress Amber heard, wife of Johnny Depp for sneaking her two Yorkies into Australia on a chartered jet. She effectively bypassed customs, which in Australia dictate that dogs brought into the country be quarantined for 10 days. She left Australia with the dogs, but now if she goes back she faces charges.
I really don’t care about what rich, entitled actresses do; it doesn’t affect my life at all. I care more about the rank and file who feel they are not bound by the rules because they have social anxiety or a special need (or need to be special) or whatever which they feel entitles them to bring their dogs wherever they wish.
Actually, what Amber heard did probably does affect others, because it is a power of example, and I’m sure there are people who think, yes, I need to have my little babies with me at all times or I’ll die.
A number of years ago, when I was still a cigarette smoker I walked into a grocery store on the Upper West Side, I think I was there to buy water or a snack or something because I already had all the cigarettes I needed. As I walked into the store there stood a young woman chatting with the store clerk at the register.
She was young, white and pretty, in shorts and flip-flops. She also had a medium sized dog on a leash at her side, the dog sniffing idly at the gum and candy racks at the counter.
I waited with my stuff as they continued chatting and ignored me. Out of pure passive aggressive reaction, I lit a cigarette. That would get their attention.
Right away the girl turned to me and said,
“There’s no smoking in stores.”
“There’s no dogs allowed in stores either, but there you are with your dog.” I pointed at the NO DOGS ALOWED sign just above the clerk’s head for emphasis.
“Hey, mister, put that out or get out!” The compliant clerk shouted to me.
“What about the dog?” I asked.
“None of your business about the dog!”
“Why can she break the law and I can’t?” I asked, standing my ground.
At this point it was obvious to me, who would win if the cops came? Young pretty white girl in shorts or scraggly looking Latino man with tattoos and cigarette? It was time I cut my losses and I put my “stuff’ down somewhere and left, defiantly blowing smoke at the woman’s face as I left.
“Asshole!” She hissed as I pushed past her and her dog, which stared interestedly at the whole exchange. I was surprised the dog didn’t bark.
I attend a self-help group, a group that meets at various places all over the city. All of the places ask that you not bring pets, because of insurance concerns.
Yet despite this, and despite the announcements that members not bring their pets there is a constant stream of people who insist on bringing (mostly) dogs with them.
I’ve seen parakeets, cockatoos on shoulders, guinea pigs, cats in bags, a small marsupial in a custom-made sack on a girl’s chest, and an iguana. Yes, some guy had this huge lizard draped across his shoulders a couple of times. I can live with the small animals, but animals that may bite or make a lot of noise like dogs and cockatoos shouldn’t be there. I’ve seen disruptions caused by these animals.
There is one fellow who is a dog walker, and often speaks fondly of his love of dogs, and once I made a comment or a face and was called out on it. I responded I wasn’t fond of dogs, and besides, it’s the rules not to bring dogs here.
That statement, in turn, provoked a reaction from a woman at the meeting, a stylish woman close to my age that prides herself on her sophistication and propriety.
“You know, I have a dog, I love my dog, and I’ll bring her anywhere I please. She’s like a fashion accessory for me.”
Well, shit, if you need a dog as a fashion accessory I don’t know what I can do for you. She started bringing her teacup Yorkies around after that. I should have kept my mouth shut.
I guess these are the same people who insist on bringing their dogs on the subway, or into Whole Foods. I once saw a woman stride into Whole Foods on the Bowery with a small dog on a leash in tow and just as the security guard started to open his mouth she snapped, “It’s a service dog.” That’s the new catchphrase, service dog. For me, if you are not legally blind there is no reason for you to bring your dog into a store or on the subway without putting them into a carrier first. But that’s for me; I guess entitled people are going to do whatever they want whenever they want no matter what. Just one more thing I need to get used to. But I had to get it out.
All images were downloaded from the internet.