I don’t have children of my own, and I never will- that’s my choice. My best friends have children and I live vicariously through them; I love their children dearly. Being able to experience motherhood and child-rearing through them is as close as I’ll get, and as much as I need. I get the fun of their kids!
Being with my friends and their children, I know all too well that moment when you’re at the grocery store and your two-year old tells you that they have to go potty. Or worse- they just have. Or you’re in a restaurant and your five year old has a melt down because ketchup touched their chicken nugget because, ultimately, life happened and they didn’t get a nap that day.
When things like this happen, other people often look on and smile or giggle because most people have children and have been in that situation before. They empathize. Being of the child-less group, I’m often reminded of the disparity between children and pets in our society. Change this situation to a dog.
If a dog was in a grocery store and urinated on the floor, people would be horrified. They would say why is the dog in the store, it is unsanitary, etc. The breed and size add to the horror. If a Newfoundland did this as opposed to a Chihuahua the reactions would be different.
Same goes for the restaurant. I have been to many restaurants with Reggie on outdoor patios with other dogs and have never seen another dog have a “temper tantrum” or run around and steal food from other diners tables.
People often like to cite that dogs are unsanitary, or dirty, and you don’t know if other people are allergic. The counterpoint is that children are dirty- this isn’t a statement against any parents it’s a fact of life. Children get into things. As for allergies, you could be feeding your child a peanut based snack and I might be allergic to peanuts. And studies have shown that households with dogs have children with less allergies like asthma.
Please don’t misunderstand- I’m not advocating that dogs hold a higher place than children in our society, but that dogs should be given more public allowances given their place in our families and our hearts. For many people, with children and without, our pets are members of our families.
In Germany, dogs are allowed in supermarkets, on subways and buses, in cafes and stores, practically everywhere. In France dogs are allowed similar freedoms. Maybe the US can get to this level as well!