Why Can't We Have Animals In Bars Any More?
A U.S. serviceman was finally going to be heading
home, after a quick stop in Germany. He'd flown from Iraq to Italy, but
was forced to take a train from there. His uniform appeared well-worn, his
duffle bag was dusty, and the cheerful smile he attempted could not belie the
fact that he was absolutely exhausted.
The train was very crowded. The soldier walked the entire length of the
train looking for a seat. He finally spotted a seat which appeared unoccupied.
Upon drawing nearer he noticed that the seat was occupied by a small Poodle
dog. In the seat next to the dog sat a well-dressed French woman of middle age. The war-weary
soldier asked, "Ma'am, may I have that seat?" The French woman just sniffed
and said to nobody in particular, "Americans are so rude. My little Fifi is
using that seat."
The soldier walked the entire length of the train again, but the only seat
left was under the dog.
The soldier, hat in his hand, beseeched the woman, "Please, ma'am, may I
have that seat? I'm very, very tired."
The French woman snorted, "not only are you Americans
rude, you are also arrogant!"
This time the soldier didn't say a word. He picked up the little dog,
tossed it out the train window, and sat down. The woman shrieked, "someone
must defend my honor! Put this American in his place!"
An English gentleman sitting nearby spoke up: "Sir, you Americans often
seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You hold the fork in the
wrong hand. You drive your cars on the wrong side of the road. And now, sir,
you seem to have thrown the wrong bitch out the window."
The story hereinabove landed in my email not too long ago. It was sent to me
not long after I delivered a long, angry rant about lap-dogs and lap-dog owners
to some friends who were at my bar.
I am not against lap-dogs at all. Many are so cute and endearing they
transform me from my usual self into a baby-talking, driveling idiot when in
I am not against the owners of lap-dogs, either. An unscientific finding I've
made after years of observation is that the attractiveness of female lap-dog
owners is a direct function of how rare, tiny and adorable the dog is. Suffice
it to say that if you show me a dog which weighs about 2 pounds, is wearing a
rhinestone collar and is being carried in a Chanel handbag, the
owner is probably a fashion model with a sultry look, fabulous hair, and slender
legs as long as the Mississippi River.
The target of my ire in this case was a young woman carrying a tiny pup
of some rare breed in a pink Nike bag just large enough to hold the pet. So
you're wondering what is the problem? Not the young woman. Not the dog.
Not the Nike bag.
The problem was she carried the bag and said pet into my restaurant.
This was a situation that rended my heart. On one hand, of course I wanted to
make friends with, and perhaps play with the dog.
On the other hand, yours truly, being duly issued a license to
conduct a restaurant by our local Board of Health must comply with the rules and
regulations promulgated by that agency, or risk closure. Additionally, we are in
possession of not only a liquor license but a Cabaret License as well,
issued by the Board of Liquor Control in our state. Should my license to
conduct a restaurant be revoked, the other two licenses are automatically
suspended until which time the Board of Health chooses to reinstate my
restaurant license. Which means in our neck of the woods, animals other than
seeing-eye dogs are a big no-no. Remember bar cats? Long gone
are the ubiquitous bar-room mousers of yore. I seem to recall having
seen several very friendly, sedate Labrador dogs in bars in my youth, as well.
A silly aside which will probably be of interest to fans of the machinations
of jurisprudence is that the reason a bar cannot operate without a food license,
even if they decide not to serve food, is that in our fair state, ice
is considered a foodstuff. Not booze, not beer.
So against the protestations of my barmaid, a few customers, and, of course,
the dog's owner, I had to beg the woman to remove the animal from the premises.
"But I bring my little (name withheld to protect the innocent) everywhere I
go!!! Even (exorbitantly expensive restaurant in competitive market sector) allows me to bring her in! You're stupid and hate
Her last statement couldn't be farther from the truth. It hurt. I love all
members of the animal kingdom, and have been known to pull my car over, against
the wishes of all passengers, to observe cows, sheep and horses in their fields.
If I come upon a dog whose owner assures me I have nothing to fear, I'm the
first one to get friendly with the animal, and if I end up covered in
dog-spittle; well, so be it.
Which brings me to the issue at hand. My brief discussion with the dog-toting
customer revealed a lot about her personality. I'd have bet $100 that had she
found a hair in her soup while eating here, she'd have threatened litigation;
she just came across as that kind of unnecessarily assertive person.
Perhaps her insulting demeanor caused all thoughts of giving her a "pass" on
this one to disappear from my head. Had she been charming, had she perhaps
re-assured me that the pet wouldn't stray beyond the bag, I probably would've
just said "aw, the heck with it; it's after 9:00 at night and the 'food police'
are nowhere to be seen."
So after she left, but not after hurling a few more verbal barbs my way, I
spent a little time trying to justify my actions to the few people left in the
place. Then I realized that if I had to justify my actions, perhaps I'd made the
wrong call. So we all agreed that we'd get together and write up a petition
pleading that the Liquor Control Commission and the Department of Health allow
animals in bars. (I know what you're thinking, there're plenty of animals
in bars these days already.)
It is indeed silly not to allow the taverns, pubs, bars and lounges to have a
mascot around. So many places, not fancy places, but places like mine, have a
core group of regulars who're like family. Why not have a family pet? With my
luck if our petition got consideration in the legislature and I bought a dog,
sooner or later a bunch of folks would picket the place with placards that read:
"Equality for Bar Animals: Let the Monkeys In!"