So I'm standing in line at the grocery store and I looked around, hoping to find a shorter line. I saw a woman standing in line holding a leash and on the other end of the leash was one of those little, furry-all-over dogs with the juvenile facial features so beloved by little old ladies, adolescent princesses and spiritless husbands. It was jumping and running a few steps back and forth on the leash, wagging its dustmop of a tail to spread dog dander, allergens, and its scent all around -- and slobbering on the floor with doggy happiness. With an advanced canine sense of smell, for dogs probably all the odors and scents in a grocery store might be kind of like a hallucinogen drugs for people. (Oh, the colors! The colors!)
Anyhow, I was moved to make a polite comment, "HEY! THERE'S A DAMN DOG IN HERE!"
I forgot I was in Portland, Oregon. People can and do ride bicycles naked in Portland. Seldom are any of the naked bike riders people one would relish seeing naked, but we nevertheless must indulge them in their need to benude themselves. They have the right. The law won't touch them. (Nor would I.) People in Oregon can and do persuade doctors and pharmacists to give them life-ending drugs. The law teaches how to do it. They have a right. (I wonder what would happen if a terminally ill patient got suicide drugs legally, and then gave them to her husband instead of herself. Would she get the death penalty?)
So this being Portland, when I mentioned the dog in the grocery store I was informed that nobody much likes it but not much can be done about it because the definition of "therapy animal" is a unclear. Evidently, a therapy animal may be equivalent to a trained service dog, in Oregon law. So self-indulgent people can drag their pets into the grocery store. I was told there's a some kind of bill being considered in Salem on the subject. So, the store felt it had to look the other way, because it sure didn't want to deal with a novel civil-rights claim by some settlement hungry sue-monkey. And his client. This being Portland, and all.
Having a pet close by is thought to be necessary to the emotional well-being of emotionally broken people.
Okay. But all my life I've seen dogs tied outside the door of stores, waiting for owners to return. I've seen some stores have watering bowls for the comfort of pets who must wait outside. It isn't a problem for the pet, because nearly everybody walking by will speak to the animal. Outdoors. Not indoors.
Maybe we can get a test case going. We need to get a bearded Progressive to drag a dead, flea-encrusted possum on a stick all around Walgreen's, claiming the right based on his so-called great emotional needs, to chase customers out of the store in revulsion. He can claim the need to do so based on the sound advice offered by his emotional counselor, a Native American shaman known as Wah-Wah-Tippito, which means Solitary Coyote in his native language (and whose birth name was Donald Scheisskopf when first born in New Jersey.) That should do it.
Hey. If you don't have a specially trained animal to guide you through the dark, or to alert to the onset of an epileptic fit, or to bring things to you in your wheelchair, or some such, you don't have a service animal. You have a pet. And if you claim the right to bring your pet into the grocery store, you have an atitude.
And if you are given a legal right to bring a dog into the grocery store because it is a comfort to you, despite it being an annoyance to others, then I should be given the legal right to smoke a cigarette after coffee in a restaurant, if I want to.
(Oh, Walt. It isn't the same thing.) Yes. It is. It is exactly the same thing.