hands off my fish taco, dog

Well, it’s finally happened. I lost my virginity last night. I have to say — it was pretty magical. We were outside, clutching each other close underneath the Christmas lights.  It was…. perfect.

I finally got to pick out my first-ever live Christmas tree. Woooo. (Come on, guys. I’m married. How sad would it be if I actually was a virgin?) When I was growing up, we always had a fake one. My parents are practical, stuffy neat-freaks. Why the hell would you cut a tree down and bring it inside when it will cause a mess of pine needles all over the floor? Blasphemous! Since our cat is allergic to everything and your mother. (Yes, even YOUR mother. I mean — have you ever heard of a cat allergic to dogs? She’s quite special) We have never had a real tree because we were afraid it would bother her.

christmastreelotSadly, the tree won’t be living in our house due to the cat, but my in-laws still invited us to dinner and to help them pick their two out. For a Christmas fanatic — it tickled my fancy quite a bit.

But, we had a debate last night that needs to be settled. I’m really curious about y’all’s opinions: At the restaurant where we had dinner there was a man with a service dog next to us. He was an emotional support dog. The man was eating alone and sharing all of his food with the begging pup. When the man ran out of fries to supply to him, the dog started begging at nearby tables for random people’s food. Our opinions were all different at the table. If you were sitting at the table with us, what would you be thinking? (I don’t think the poll can be seen on the Reader)


81 thoughts on “hands off my fish taco, dog

  1. wgr56 says:

    Emotional support dog? I can support a seeing-eye dog in a restaurant, and really, I’m sure there are all other kinds of support dogs that I’m not even aware of, but at the risk of seeming boorish, I have a hard time believing that an emotional support dog rises to the level of immediate need, that one would need to take it into a crowded restaurant. But enough about that. Congratulations on selecting your first tree. I suppose you’re lucky the dog didn’t hike his leg on it after dinner.

  2. nikkiinhighgear says:

    My friend has an emotional support dog-PTSD. She is the most well behaved dog I’ve ever seen. People get upset in reataurants just because the dog is there, yet she lays under the table and never makes a noise. This is how service dogs should behave. I also have met a woman who just bought a service dog vest for her dog to wear. He behaves similar to the dog you mentioned, so maybe it wasn’t actually trained. Which is sad because people like that will ruin it for actual service dogs.

    • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

      Oh jeez, you can just buy those things? That’s insanity. I was excited to see the dog, and volunteered to sit next to it. But, when I saw it’s behavior it was an unhappy surprise. Most people in the restaurant were visibly annoyed by it’s behavior. I agree — it definitely gives service dogs a bad rap when most of them are highly trained. Sad

  3. Kate Crimmins says:

    Love dogs but if you are going to bring them in a restaurant you must train them better! No one (including die-hard dog lovers) want a begging dog next to them while they are paying to eat.

  4. sarahcrystals says:

    A support animal is supposed to be better trained than that. I am a huge dog lover BUT if I go out to eat and am not comfortable with a strange human putting their head on my lap begging for food, I would not be comfortable with a sweet dog doing the same. Now, I would pet and gush over the dog, but his efforts would be in vain.

  5. dunnasead.co says:

    Hi Blair. Love your blog. 1. Do the man a favor-don’t feed.. Dogs are pack animals. They obey the one who feeds them. He needs this dog for emotional support. No food from strangers. 2. never feed someone else’s dog- if the dog gets used to it, it could be poisoned, and this man would REALLY be hurt. 3. If the man is hard up, you could ask if he would like your fries for his dog, then HE feeds. 4. Dogs, and children, do NOT react well to grease. Fries means diaper changes colic and no sleep. For kids. Dogs- the same. Except no diapers- plan to clean a lot. also no turkey gravy, liverwurst sandwiches, chocolate… healthy dog: cottage cheese and kibble daily, eggs once per week for the coat. A large dog biscuit in a restaurant, or a chew toy keeps them busy while you eat. PS in a pinch, tell someone who is ignoring their own dog to call the dog please, as you are allergic, whether you are or not.

  6. cordeliasmom2012 says:

    I’ll bet it wasn’t really a certified therapy dog. The owner probably got the doggie uniform from someone else and put it on his own dog so he could take the dog into public places.

    And really, French fries – they’re not good for dogs. I’m surprised that dog didn’t have an accident in the restaurant after eating all those French fries.

  7. rukes07 says:

    While I certainly understand that some people have needs other than my own, there is a huge difference between a specially trained dog who actually provides a service and a pet who wears a t-shirt. I am all for people using therapy dogs for a variety of purposes including mental health. BUT that dog needs to go through the same training about how to behave in public that any other service animal goes through. Begging at the owner’s table and then mooching off of other patrons is simply inexcusable and makes it more difficult for people who have a genuine need to use their service animals in public to get understanding from business and the general public. Plus, restaurant food is bad enough for people making the conscious decision to eat it! Dogs should not get human food! It is bad for them. Killing them with love is still killing them.

  8. jlouisemac says:

    1. Your openers are the best- they always get me rolling. 2. Fuck that service dog! Just kidding, I would be annoyed though.

  9. fattymccupcakes says:

    First, I thought your post was titled, “Hands Off My Fish Taco”, without the “dog” and I was super intrigued. Best.title.ever. Second, I love me some dogs. My puppy ovaries ache for a poopy of my own, but service dogs are supposed to be trained to not communicate with anyone but their owner or person they are “servicing” (that sounds massively dirty). Also, dogs begging is annoying as hell. Service dog or not, train your dog to not be a pain, especially if they will be dining with you at fine establishments! Sheesh!

  10. rosiebooks2009 says:

    That must be one of the best first lines of a blog post ever. I only recently worked out that people only see the first sentence or two in their readers and therefore if you were going to “hook” them it would have to at once, no shilly-shallying. You just proved it.

  11. carolmarietta says:

    Was the service dog technically “on duty”? They typically don’t interact with other humans unless the owner gives them permission to. But either way – I personally don’t think it’s worth arguing over. 🙂

    • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

      I’m not sure exactly. It had the ‘sash’ over his back that said he was ‘full access’ and that he was an ’emotion support/therapy dog’. It seemed he was supposed to be on duty. His actions didn’t quite follow, though lol.

  12. nomaggsrush says:

    I’d say that man would gain an awful lot from training that dog to behave properly, maybe even a dinner companion! There are a lot of places in Europe where your dog can accompany you in a restaurant or pub, mine does frequently and always sits quietly under the table, she knows better than to beg.

  13. spartacus2030 says:

    I like dogs, so I was in the least liked category… I wouldn’t mind giving him/her a few fries. If everybody did, he’d eventually go lay in the corner, and lick his balls…

  14. chattykerry says:

    If it was truly a service dog (not all emotional support dogs are certified) then I would prefer that it had better control both for the owner’s sake and the other diners. In my recent experience people, perhaps with some mental health issues, have just put a coat on the dog that says that they are emotional support dog. This makes it difficult for owners of real service dogs which are generally well behaved as part of their training and complicated for the restaurant owners. I would probably have gone over and had a quiet word with the owner to suggest that he keeps the dog close to his table.

      • chattykerry says:

        I would like to be supportive of people who feel that they need an emotional support pet but it has to have some regulation. What if I brought my emotional support tarantula along for some fish tacos? 🙂

      • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

        Haha I agree. That would be pretty funny. I bet some restaurants wont turn you down (as long as it’s caged) out of fear of being sued. Would be a fun experiment to conduct. They really need to regulate these ’emotional support’ ones and the people who take advantage

  15. 2ndhalfolife says:

    I didn’t vote because I feel this: I’m a total animal dog lover (vegetarian/vegan for almost 40 years), but I do feel that these kind of dogs are already getting very special treatment by being allowed to go into places of business. They usually ARE trained better, so I’m wondering if the dog truly was a service dog? They usually won’t leave their human’s side if they are…so this kind of behavior is extremely unusual. I’m a paramedic and we even took one on our ambulance… People are starting to use the ‘service dog’ card as a ticket to take their dogs into places they wouldn’t normally be able to go….it’s cheesy and a breech of real use of an important need. Just my two cents.

      • 2ndhalfolife says:

        Agreed. And the real ones do serve a critical job, like the one we took on our ambulance was for a guy suffering badly from PTSD. I can’t remember if the laws allow business owners to ask for real identification proving they are service dogs as it may be a breech of the person’s privacy. Plus therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs.

  16. Justice&Humanity says:

    As someone who is blind and has had two dog guides in my life, this is absolutely deplorable. It gives a bad impression of service dogs, and it shows a blatant disregard for others. I suspect that this was not an emotional service dog, or any type of service dog. In Europe, I am told that many people bring their pets to cafés and restaurants, but you will certainly not see this type of behavior from the Pets. It is also terribly unhealthy to give dogs “people”food.

    • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

      It IS deplorable. I’ve always found it pretty fascinating what they can train animals to do and the ways they help. And, as an animal lover, I was excited to sit next to the dog. I didn’t think twice. When we saw its behavior, we were shocked. I legitimately couldn’t even read the menu because I was so surprised lol. Everyone in the restaurant was visibly annoyed by the begging. It’s sad the impression they left behind wasn’t a good one. Makes real service dogs look terrible.

    • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

      Lol thanks! I was actually trying to figure out if it DID have an effect on my views, but it’s hard to tell because my Saturday views are always all over the place. They almost always dip on the weekend. Damn people and their needing to spend time with family 🙂

  17. Worlds Biggest Fridge Magnet says:

    A firm believer in dogs not having anything but their food or a TINY treat at the end of the meal which should only really be some left over meat or the like.
    I should hazard a guess that this guy was a chancer saying the dog was there for emotional reasons just so he could get it into the premises.
    A begging dog is a no no even more so at other peoples plates.
    Thats my thoughts…!
    Shame you can’t have the tree in the house either, we are as we said before, complete suckers for our pets!!

  18. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    My undies may have been in a bundle, even in my normal commando status… I love most dogs more than humans, yes. However, a true service dog does not act in this manner. If the dog did, it would surely leave him in a time of need for someone with a treat.

    • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

      Those would be some pretty determined undies. Especially if you aren’t even wearing any. I didn’t even think of that when I was at dinner. I know you aren’t supposed to really touch/react to a service dog, but it didn’t cross my mind. This dog would definitely dip out once someone showed him attention. Not a good thing if the dog was actually needed for a purpose.

  19. iamhlee says:

    ALL service dogs go thru training, regardless of what service they provide. And that training usually precludes begging from others as you described. I question if it is a proper service dog, as others have said.

  20. Joseph Nebus says:

    I had never cut down a Christmas tree before taking up with my love. It turns out I’m better at cutting them down that my record of genial mechanical ineptness would suggest. I’ve stunned my love by how fast I could cut a tree down, although I didn’t manage to be very fast today.

      • Joseph Nebus says:

        The trick, at least with a hacksaw, is to cut so that, first, there’s always pressure going against the tree trunk. You want a hand pressing the long end of the hacksaw handle pressing towards the trunk. And you want to slide angles between strokes. Like, press one way with the blade going from six to three o’clock, and then pull the saw so the blade is going from six to nine o’clock. This way you’re putting a lot of pressure on a thin segment of wood and making progress on each stroke. It’s amazing how fast it can be given the right flow.

  21. Miriam says:

    Great opener then you took us somehow completely unexpected! Last year we hiked through my husband’s parents mountain village cutting down and carting three trees in tow. Took one back to the inlaws, one for the sister-in-law, one hung out our car all the back to Melbourne, we could have started a business. This year we’re back to the fake one … much easier.

    As for begging dogs at a restaurant, well I love dogs but for me it’s a big no-no. A true service-dog should know better!

  22. laceduplutheran says:

    Your post left me with lots of questions – I wonder what the guy’s story is. I find that people’s stories play a lot in to what goes on in life and how it impacts others – including their animals. A service dog is usually more controlled. I’d be curious as to why this dog was different.

    • Blair (The Shameful Sheep) says:

      I was definitely curious myself. We just ignored it for the most part because we had no idea of his situation and were trying to remain non-judgmental. I would be interested to know. I don’t think it was a true service dog, though, as other people have pointed out. Originally, I was floored by the dog’s terrible training.

  23. Lynda says:

    I went with three, definitely three.

    Blair, I won’t let my own dogs in the dining room while we are eating. Why would I put up with someone else letting their dog annoy me while I try to eat? Better training = a better dog. I must mention that my two seem to magically know when we have finished eating and come running in and I always wonder, What is their cue? 😉

  24. Otakraft says:

    ESA=/= Service dog, because there are no standards for Emotional Support Animals. Looks, I don’t mind ESAs, but they have no place in public for the most part and they are NOT protected by ADA no matter what someone says. There are housing allowances and certain airline allowances, but no other place of business has to put up with the animal (I say animal, because ESAs can be any animal, which should tell you something).

    It really bothers me because ESAs are so often poorly trained, if they’re trained AT ALL and this is VERY damaging to people with ACTUAL Service Animals. Animals they need to function daily or help keep them alive.

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