I don’t love your dog.  Before you get your hackles up, let me preface that with a disclaimer.  There are pet people and there are non-pet people.  My husband and I fall into the latter category.  Don’t get me wrong, we love the idea of owning a pet because we like animals.  We desperately want to be members of the pet club association and in out hearts, we are.  Our last attempt into the prestigious club of dog ownership forced us into our reality.  We owned a sweet and lovable bichon who we temporarily lent to my brother while we moved into a new home.  Upon return, our sweet, curly, brown bundle returned our love by sprinting to the door and crying for three days; for my brother.   His days apart from us were spent being catered to at all hours of the day and night.  Twice daily walks and home cooked sausages at midnight were only some of the luxuries he enjoyed while away at doggie heaven.  We, on the other hand, would make vacation plans only to realize the day before departure that we had a dog we neglected to plan for.  The fact of the matter is I don’t enjoy picking up dog poo from the yard, incurring debt with the vet or being interrupted from American Idol to pull my Jimmy Choo’s from his jaws. I lied. I don’t own any Jimmy Choo’s; I own Ugg slippers.  Either way, the inconveniences outweigh the benefits for us.  I’m sure all the domesticated animals of the world are heaving a collective sigh of relief.

So…let me reiterate.  I like all animals (except cats). I don’t love owning them (especially cats). Part of my crippling shortcoming could be attributed to some unfortunate circumstances of my past.  If you haven’t guessed by now, a large part of Faux Pas blog creation is due to personal events.  None of them positive.  Without further ado, let me impart you with some etiquette advice directed to pet owners:

  1. Please don’t bring your pet to your guest’s home uninvited, especially for an overnight stay.  16 years ago some dear friends crossed our threshold for a three-day visit from out-of-state.  They brought their 15-year-old black lab that was missing an eye, needed daily skin scab removal and had bladder issues.  In addition, it had an anger management problem and did not like kids.  We had two kids.  After three days, we were left with three broken doors, yellow carpet, enough black dog hair to knit a sweater and two kids who suffered from post-traumatic stress.  Our guests never extended an apology or offered to repair the damage.  To say this changed our relationship would be an understatement.  You get the idea.
  2. If your dog poops publicly, pick it up.
  3. If you see someone ignore their dog’s poop, kindly (please see the post “Cheerful Stupid”) hand them a plastic bag.  I’m sure the offender will get the hint (the owner not the dog).
  4. Keep your pet on a leash.  Keep it under six feet especially when on crowded sidewalks and streets.
  5. Control barking.  Uncontrolled barking is not only a nuisance but it can frighten unnecessarily. Mostly, it’s just flat-out irritating and rude.
  6. Give your dog etiquette lessons!  Your dog’s understanding of the basic commands will yield countless benefits for you and the public.
  7. If your dog is not an official service dog, PLEASE do not bring them into a public building.  If you must have your pooch with you at all times, consider a dating service instead.
  8. Do not allow your dog to be touched without permission.  This is especially important around excited children.

I’ve yet to come up with strict etiquette rules for hamster, gerbil, fish or ferret owners.  Cat owners are a breed unto themselves and best left for another time.  I say this with love as I was once a cat owner.  Not a good one.

If you implement good pet owner form then I promise I will never own a dog again (or fish, ferret, pig or anything else that could be tamed for civilized pleasure).  You and you alone have the power to save the domestic pet population. I thank you.