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Pet Unfriendly

Cartoon sketch of a dog facing an audience holding up signs that say "VOTE!" and "YES! President!" Illustration by Earle Levenstein.

I'm not too easily shocked.

But as I've been looking around for a house or an apartment to rent or maybe to buy, I'm floored—and frankly pissed off—by the places I see that don't accept any dogs or cats.

Or maybe, to accommodate creeps like me who would rather live with a couple of dogs and a cat or two than most potential neighbors, try to attract me with the condescending offer of "small dog or cat possible," what they believe is the most civilized way to live and what I think of as bullshit.

As I've said a million times—aggressively with people who are repelled by any living animal—dogs are my favorite people, and my wife and I had one or two with us wherever we went.

For the most part, rules and regulations dealing with pets flying with us in the passenger cabin had to do with size and weight. Our pets at that time were Sophie, a Cairn Terrier, slightly above the weight limitation, and Lily, a miniature poodle, slightly under.

There were scales at the check-in counter and we'd put both of our dogs on the scale at the same time; their weight divided by two was just under the limits and with a nod from the Air France agent, we'd pass on and they'd spend flight takeoff at our feet in their dog carriers and once airborne, on our laps.

The good old days.

Today? Fageddaboutit.

Four-legged passengers go down below, with storage; what I imagine to be a sort of warehouse. Stuff I catch a glimpse of when walking past an open garage door.

Three or four floor lamps trailing wires, shades stacked nearby, an old toaster oven, a stack of loosely rolled rugs, a refrigerator, several cartons of different sizes, overflowing with old clothes; books, a large object wrapped in old newspapers, a refrigerator, door ajar, topped by a big fan; a couple of end tables; a large chest with drawers open, framed pictures scattered around, maybe two or three bicycles missing parts.

On a plane, of course, the rest of the space is filled with baggage of all kinds and merchandise being shipped with us, the passengers, seated a deck above: maybe sleeping or lined up waiting to get into one of the restrooms.

And, unless Sophie and Lily were Service Dogs—a designation I wholeheartedly support—where would they go?

Answer: we'd leave them at home with a double-tested, researched, grilled, examined, secretly tracked and videoed individual before his or her elevation to sainthood.

Or we'd stop traveling.

Which is what we did.

When it comes to real estate, it's depressing for me to read the No Dogs Allowed sign outside a store or a park or a residential complex. I mean, what's that about?

Is it the sight of a dog? The fear of a dog? The sound of a dog barking? A dog pooping on the lawn? I mean, is it the dog's fault for not cleaning up? Frankly, I've entered endless men's rooms in restaurants that could use a couple of Clean Up or Get Out signs.

For God's sake; It's the law-breaking sloven holding the leash who should be fined and/or jailed, not my dog.

I know we have plenty of problems here in our good old U.S. of A.

But I have to say: none of them involves dogs.

Or cats.

Or deer.

Or just about any animal walking this troubled world.

Never ever their fault.

Any part of it.

Maybe trembling, erupting, flooding, universal reorganizing of our current planet; not any animal; any size.


The rest is all about us.

We really need to clean up the mess we've made.

Animals were a helluva lot better off before we came along.

Just leave our dogs out of it.



Didn't mean to shout.

End of tirade.


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