Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Dog Out and About in Dallas

Jeff and I are making a concerted effort to socialize Milton and expose him as much as possible to "human" society.  We want to ease him in wherever and whenever we can.  Since moving from New York to Texas, I have been quite surprised by how much more acceptable it is to bring your dog out and about town.  I figure this dog friendliness is due to the warmer climate and less dirt and grime associated with rain and snow.  It could just be that good, old Southern hospitality as well.  There is also a notable difference if you live in a metropolitan versus rural area regardless of what region of the U.S. you call home.  Citified dogs seem to have a little more "culture," or perhaps their owners are more insistent, so dogs seem to be allowed into more venues than if you live in a small town.

For instance, Half Price Books is a fantastic local Texas chain that allows you to browse for books and sit with your pup while you read.  Other bookstores, like Barnes & Noble, will allow you to walk in with your dog, pick a book, and leave, but Half Price allows the luxury of reading with fido.  The only hard and fast rule is that dogs cannot enter the cafe.  A dog can never be anywhere in the vicinity of food preperation due to sanitary reasons.  Recently when Jeff made a solo visit, the cafe employees were sweet enough to watch Milton while Jeff went to order a drink.  Excellent customer service really does make an impact on patronization.

Jeff and the Milt waiting to enter

Of course certain rules still apply - keep your dog on his leash and clean up after him or her if needbe

A content dad with his equally content pup

Taking a snooze

Besides the veterinarian's office and Half Price Books, so far we have brought Milton inside a Starbucks, Michael's Arts & Crafts, a gas station, and Crate & Barrel (I ordered via phone and carried him in for the pickup).  I have started to call ahead before planning my daily outings to see if there is any way to include my pup.  It never hurts to ask - grocery stores are a definite no but pet stores will always welcome.  A general rule of thumb is the smaller your dog, the easier it will be to include the dog especially if he or she can squeeze into your handbag and is portable.  When autumn returns, I will return to teaching, and Milton will spend a large portion of his day alone. So, now is my time to really bond and show him the world. 

Grabbing a mid-afternoon coffee

Final note, the below link takes you to a comprehensive list of Dallas dog friendly restaurants, with outside porches, that cater to the canine set even if other patrons grimace.We discovered this informative list while searching around to figure out local restaurants where we could dine out with the Milt. If a restaurant wishes to service dogs, they need to have a special license and absolutely no food prep (concocting a cocktail or grilling a hamburger) can be done outside. Many restaurants will even ask if they can provide drinking water for the pup.

If you own a dog, I would look around to see if you can find a similar list for your locale. The more we include Milton in our lives, the better his disposition due to energy expended and subsequent absence of boredom. I know it can be difficult to coordinate your comings and goings with your dog, but with a little extra planning, it really can be an enjoyable experience for both of you!

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