54. Yard Dogs, Not Pampered Pocket Pets

12 Jan

by Madame Meow, Flickr Creative Commons

When I was growing up, dogs were allowed in the house only: A. During inclement weather which involved either below-freezing temperatures or tornado warnings and B. When they were giving birth. That’s it. For roughly 358 days a year, the dogs stayed in the yard. Not necessarily in the fenced-in area of the yard, but still: In The Yard.

I’m not going to say that all Southern folks ban their canines from the house. For the last seven years or so, even my dad has let dogs have the run of the place. Actually, most of what I have to say about Southerners and dogs no longer pertains to my dad. His little dog “Happy” has managed to earn the status of favorite child. Probably because he’s never wrecked a car or asked for money.

But many Southerners treat dogs like…well, dogs. Whereas folks here in Seattle tend to treat dogs like family. Better actually. It’s not like you’re going to catch someone carrying a plastic baggie of their brother’s poop.

Here are a few cultural differences: Southern people generally don’t take dogs on vacation. They don’t take dogs shopping. They don’t take dogs to restaurants. And I’d venture to guess many Southerners have never even heard of doggie day care.

If you attend an outdoor festival in the South, you’ll see plenty of debris on the ground: beer cups, food wrappers, cigarette butts, caramel apple cores, what have you. What you won’t find is dog poop. The dog poop stays where it belongs: in the yard. With the dog.

Me & the world's best dog... RIP Wink.

Ok, I admit, I enjoy walking through a festival without stepping around (or worse, IN) other people’s garbage. And I do appreciate that folks here generally clean up after their pets in public. But couldn’t I just once go from one booth to the next without tripping over a leash? Does your dog really like craft items/concerts/the smell of patchouli that much? Wouldn’t it rather be at home chewing your shoes?

Once I went to a huge indoor antique show whose promoters felt the need to mention that “dogs are no longer allowed inside the Showplex.” I don’t know what disturbed me more: that they once WERE or that some people snuck them in anyway.

I don’t want to come off as an evil dog hater. I actually like most dogs, in the same way that I like most children: when they are at home and well behaved.

What do y’all think? Should a dog be something folks don’t leave home without?

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4 Responses to “54. Yard Dogs, Not Pampered Pocket Pets”

  1. lampoondish January 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I’d always thought americans have a love-relationship with their pets; my bed is your bed kind of policy, so this is interesting to hear 🙂
    many dogs would probably prefer the fresh air n grass of the outdoors, i know even my lil chihuahua would rather have his bedcushion outdoors if he could!

    • girloutofdixie January 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      Well, actually…it’s more like my cat lets me sleep in HIS bed. Still, you won’t find me toting him to the grocery store or sneaking him in to the movies. And not just because I’d hate to interrupt one of his 12-hour naps.

  2. reneedavies January 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    I love your writing. Wonderful storyteller.

    • girloutofdixie January 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      Thank you so much!

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