Monday, March 7, 2016

Going Places – How to Take Your Non-Service Dog along for the Ride

Riggs will never be a service dog.  Although he’s genial, largely unflappable, and a cut above average in obedience, his natural talents don’t lie in therapy.  There’s a reason I call him my rogue!   
Curl throw-down

Since I never expected anything more than regular pet companionship, I’m not complaining.  Like many dog owners, however, I wish I could take him with me everywhere.  Going places together is good for him, and it’s good for me.

Most businesses seem to disagree.  Unless dogs have service creds, they’re usually not welcome.   

Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask.  I figure the worst that can happen is they throw city by-laws at me.  And if they want to label me a crazy dog lady, well, I've beaten them to it.

So when my regular salon appointment rolled around, I contacted my long-time stylist, Camille Gratton, and asked, “Can I bring my dog?”  It was fine with her, and she checked with salon owner, Liz Teti, who gave us the all-clear.  

Riggs pranced into Salon Teti, in Toronto’s Little Italy, and worked the room like a canine politician.  Though clearly a dog lover, Liz was nervous.  Riggs is 35 lbs., and far from a purse puppy.  Would he bark at people?  Would clients complain?  I eased her fears by promising to take him to the car at the first infraction, even if that meant running up the street with goop on my head.

(There.  You know my secret.  I dye my hair.) 

Luckily, Riggs acquitted himself admirably.  He greeted every client with restrained enthusiasm and welcomed all attention.  There wasn’t a peep out of him.  Mostly he just arranged himself in fetching poses, like an aspiring pro dog model. 

Camille, Master Stylist

We were there for a good time and a long time.  As my hair cooked, Camille and I covered a broad range of topics, the tamest of which was home renovations.  She’s been tending my locks for about 15 years and knows most of my darkest secrets, including the shade of my semi-permanent.  Like many stylists, she’s part-therapist, caring for what’s under her clients’ thatches, too.  

Riggs had the decency not to sigh or pace or even poke around.  The Rogue about Town seemed resigned to (bored by) eavesdropping on the girl talk.  

Ultimately, he came to the conclusion that blondes really do have more fun. 

Still, I'm sure he'd rather join me almost anywhere than be left at home, even with his raven-haired partner in crime.  

We thanked our hosts, and we left happy.  

On to new frontiers...  Where have you dared to take your dogs?  


  1. When Nike was still a candidate for service dog, we were encouraged to take him everywhere as part of his training. He has travelled by VIA Rail, by ferry and by bus; he has spent time in schools and malls; he has gone to work with my husband who is a university prof; and, perhaps most importantly, he has frequented hospitals and long-term care facilities. The enthusiasm he generated on a psychiatric ward was quite touching as were his visits to a man dying of cancer. He still visits a dementia ward during his summers in Newfoundland and brings big smiles to the residents, especially my Mom. He may not have become a certified service dog but he certainly spreads endless joy wherever he goes.

  2. Riggs is jealous of Nike!! So far we've just done malls, the subway, and the salon. We are looking for more action.

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  4. Nicely written and Riggs is a wonderful dog

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