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Monday, May 24, 2010

Store Allows Small Dogs Not Big Ones, NAACP Enraged

In an attempt to explain a growing discussion among Americans, we present our first follow up ever, reexamining a piece from a few weeks ago that focused on the now-blurring social boundaries between animals and humans, the debate over which has been sparked by the new arm of the E-Harmony empire, E-Humany.  Immediately after the piece was published, we received loads of feedback (and feedbags...you know, for the animals) that were both honest and polarizing.  We've also gotten word of several instances where people are standing up against animals in a way only they know how.  Since then, the debate over animal equality has hit it's boiling point leaving wondering what comes next. 

For our purposes today, the preexisting debate in question is that animals are not legally allowed in any place where food is served yet owners continually ignore the rule bringing their pets inside anyway.  Their rationale, for the most part, is that if a dog is small it seems to be above the law.  But quite simply, it's a violation of health code and downright disgusting when you think about the potential for animal related dust or dander in your food.  Or that little dog who just took a shit in line.  Still, all across America, places like Starbucks consistently flip-flop on their stance regarding animal admittance.  One reader in Brentwood, California wrote to us about a scene he witnessed at his local coffee shop last week.  "I was standing there in line, and there's all these obnoxious women with their little white dogs everywhere- purses, laps, leashes tied around the table legs.  Then all of the sudden this man with a large black lab walks in and the barista tells him he can't bring his dog inside.  Oh, barista means coffee guy.  But he looked around the store and pointed out several dogs to the barista that were there enjoying themselves.  Again, barista means coffee guy.  Then the guy behind the counter, the barista if you will, said something I will never forget.  He said 'Your dog isn't like those dogs.  He's different.  There's a separate place for dogs like him.  It's called Big Dog Coffee and it's just up the street.  I'm happy to give you directions.'  But the guy didn't want that coffee, he wanted Starbucks.  Eventually the manager came over and had to escort him out.  That's when the police got involved."

And like always, they LAPD didn't stop until they had him on the record.  The suspect, Philip "Beagle" Winthrop, was questioned outside the establishment and everything seemed to be smoothed over shortly thereafter.  But then, Winthrop's dog, Fartzilla, lunged towards the officer causing him to spill his double latte.  Fartzilla was arrested and taken to a facility for big dogs.  That day there were only 2 other dogs in-house: a large black Chow, and a gray Doberman.  This was no coincidence.

"I called the only person I could think of," sand Winthrop.  "I said, 'who's the Jesse Jackson for dogs?'  Turns out, Jesse Jackson is the Jesse Jackson for dogs.  And he had seen the police doing the same thing all over the country, from Birmingham, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama- and everywhere in between, including Mobile.  Only in the south, or in our case, the southland."  Since then he has joined the cause for black-animal equality, dubbing it the 'civil ruff movement' despite incessant reminders that it's not just black animals that are the problem- it's the fact that animal-related regulations seem to change depending on what's convenient for the local authorities- and almost always in favor of the small dogs.

And yet, this isn't the first time their species has faced such adversity.  In fact, just when things looked to be improving for dogs in the mid to late 70s, their timelessly popular spokesanimal, Snoopy, took it one step too far significantly shifting public opinion about their movement.  Weeks later, dogs were back to being human pets.  Servants, if you will.  Slaves.  The phrase "No Dogs Allowed" still haunts many dogs to this day, but none know it better than Snoopy Brown*.

"There's only so many times I can save Christmas or Easter or someone's life to then have them tell me I can't drink from the same water bowl.  It shouldn't take that much work just to earn the respect of my peer group, much less a cold drink."

"But what about the many pundits who claim your peer group begins and ends with other dogs" we asked through our translator (otherwise our question would have sounded like nothing more than a few notes from a muted trombone)?

"30 years ago, man, maybe I could have seen why someone would think that," Snoopy said, after taking a long draw on his cigarette.  "But look at the world today.  Dogs wear people clothes man.  They eat at the dinner table.  They sleep indoors for Christ sake!  Do you know how many winters I almost died because that fuck Charlie just left me out there?  I joined the Christmas pageant because the theater was warm.  That was my main motivation."

Snoopy isn't the only despondent activist today.  Many who once championed the dog movement now sit on the brink of it's entire collapse.  And while they've still got some fight in them, it's clear that specific cases like these will continue to pop up, even long after the laws are changed.

Should you or anyone you know be a dog, talk to them.  Ask them why they want to be in a Starbucks to begin with.  I think you'll find their answers much more intriguing than expected.

*the last name has always been implied.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I've always felt that dogs get the short end of the stick.

Just think of Odie for years he was terriorized by a fat, self-righteous, orange cat while Jon never even noticed.

And Pluto was left to run amuck nude while Goofy had the benefit of trousers to maintain some dignity.

Canine hardships have been abundant throughout history.