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I have this French Bulldog named Vincent. He rides to and from work with me, hangs out at the hospital all day and even comes on vacation with me from time to time.
Vincent loves his people-rich life. But here’s the thing: He no longer goes absolutely everywhere with me. I’ve put a kibosh on taking him to certain places, at certain times and under certain conditions.
That’s because, over time, I’ve learned that your life has to be 100 percent dog friendly if your dog is going to tag along 100 percent of the time. And precious few of our lives are that accommodating.
I learned most of this the hard way, but perhaps you can benefit from my experience. Here are the areas of modern life that, in my opinion, have proved the most challenging:
Cars: Automobiles can be dangerous for humans and often more so for pets. Seat belts are indispensable, but in no way foolproof. Airbags can be deadly to even the most well-restrained pet. And although carriers may be strapped into place, they're no match for an 18-wheel semi truck.
We all believe car accidents will never really hurt us or our pets. Until they do. I’ve seen enough examples among my own clientele to know that when they do happen, pets are often the worst hurt.
Still, the threat of a car accident doesn't keep me from taking my pets to fun spots like the park or the beach. But, it does make me think twice about taking them with me on unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
Restaurants: I love taking my dogs to restaurants. But, at this point, I can only take one of my four safely. One is a retired bite work dog, one gets stressed out easily in public and Vincent gets a little ornery about kids now that he’s older.
Sure, I could take my well-socialized Belgian Malinois, Violet, to every restaurant (if only they’d let me). But, even dog-friendly restaurants can’t always be accommodating to all dogs (especially the bigger ones).
In short, there’s no point in taking your dog to a restaurant if he doesn’t have the temperament for it, won’t enjoy it or if it will cause a lot of disruption. But smaller, well-behaved and socialized dogs may be just fine.
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