As much as I enjoy spending time with a good friend, she is so attached to her Teacup Yorkie it has become the norm for him to accompany us wherever we go. I think little Heyward is darling, but he can also be quite demanding of her attention. She has no trouble bringing him into restaurants in her bag, despite the “no pets” rule, not to mention he is her guaranteed “plus-one” at cocktail parties and social events. What is the pet owner etiquette in today’s society, and am I off-base to think she has flipped her perfectly coiffed lid?
As a happy pet owner myself, I somewhat identify with your friend’s attachment to her Yorkie. Over the years, my little “Charlie” has become a trusted family member and a great source of joy and comfort. Often I think he is the only one that listens to me when I say, “go pick up your toys.” I assume your friend may feel the same way. As a matter of fact, The American Pet Products Association recently found that 62 percent of American households have a pet, and “most people think of their pets as members of the family.”
That said, I don’t bring my pet to work, and you won’t see him by my side during a social event or on my lap at a dinner party. There is a time and place for humans and those of the four-legged, furry nature. It’s important to find the right balance between loving our pet and bringing them to functions that are “adults only.” It’s also a good idea to balance our relationship with our pet, family and friends to make sure we are spending enough time with each. As far as taking Heyward everywhere with her, even parents hire a babysitter for some quality time with each other.
Pet Owner Etiquette Reminders:
- Don’t assume it is a good idea to take your pet with you to a friend’s house without asking permission first. Surprising someone by arriving with your pet in tow for a visit or overnight stay violates common courtesy and puts everyone in an uncomfortable position (especially if there are people in the house that are allergic to dander or have other health issues).
- Evaluate local services. If you worried they are not getting enough activity during the day while you are working, consider a pet walking company for adequate exercise and interaction.
- Establish a healthy routine with your pet. This will provide something to look forward to after a long day. Perhaps it’s a trip to your favorite dog park or arranging a play date with a friend who is also a pet owner.
- Observe the pet policy in your workplace and other communal areas. It is never a good idea to “sneak” your pet into the office or a public place, including a restaurant.
There is no doubt of the positive impact a pet can bring to your life. In fact, the National Center for Health Research highlighted a few of the benefits of having a companion animal, which may include: lowering blood pressure during stressful situations, easing anxiety in children and enhancing the well-being of senior citizens. Showing respect to everyone involved, including little Heyward, means observing the rules, as well as respecting friendships and work relationships.