Dear Annie: I love most dogs and have had pets all my life, but there are times and places in which pets should not accompany their owners. Of course, trained service dogs are the exception.
I am seeing so many dogs being exposed to crowded stores and outdoor festivals and sales. They are generally on leashes, but some breeds are so protective of their owners that they can become hard to control when another dog is present. I recently saw a woman who had her medium-sized dog riding in her grocery cart — a cart that others would eventually be using for food.
I think that most dogs are more comfortable in their home environment and should not be exposed to crowded areas. It will probably elicit some angry responses, but please give your thoughts on leaving the pets at home. — Don’t Bring Fido
Dear Don’t Bring Fido: If one’s dog is well-behaved, it is a nice treat for the owner, the dog and the people around them — the ones who like dogs, anyway — for the dog to go on adult excursions once in a while. However, I totally understand your concern, and I agree that dogs should not be put into food carts.
There are benefits to being around friendly dogs. Petting them is a known stress soother. It feels good and can lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown that petting a dog or cat helps your body release a relaxation hormone and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone. So why not wag more and bark less? I say that because having a dog at a social event gives people the chance to pet the dog when maybe they can’t afford a dog or live in an apartment that does not allow dogs. Dogs are domestic and social animals that love to be with their owners.
Dear Annie: I love your column, whether or not I agree with your responses. I’ve never felt compelled to write before, but this time I’m compelled.
Your response to “Gramps With a Kid’s Mind” was totally off base! Thank goodness we still have some grandparents (whose ranks I recently joined) who are filled with wonder, humor, kindness and love for life and haven’t become grumpy old men and the kind of grandparents whom kids not only can’t relate to but don’t want to spend time with. I think most of us baby boomers remember the “pull my finger” gag our grandpas did to us with fondness.
It’s easy enough to teach your children what’s appropriate for school and what’s not. If this gramp’s grandkids are really getting into trouble with their teachers for silly jokes, that’s a sad commentary on our society. Parents today are so hung up on what people on social media tell them is right and wrong that they’ve lost touch with their own instincts on raising children. Cheers to the fun-loving, happy grandpa! — Grateful for Gramps
Dear Grateful: You are right — and I was wrong. I was worried about propriety when I should have appreciated the close bond that “Gramps With a Kid’s Mind” is building with his grandchildren. I’d like to thank you and several other readers who set me straight on what is really important here.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.