SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 16, 2014

On toting the dog while dining al fresco

Ask Dog Lady
Monica Collins

---- — Dear Dog Lady,

I’m a waiter at an exclusive restaurant. We provide a seating area on the sidewalk for outdoor service, and many customers take advantage of this, especially ones with dogs. We allow dogs if they are tied up and stay under the table. (This part of the city is very dog friendly, and there must be as many dogs as people.) But I have a problem with customers who bring their dogs to the outdoor café because it seems cruel to the dogs. They have to sit confined in the heat. We’re busy enough with paying customers and can’t provide bowls of water for the dogs. Wouldn’t the panting, trussed pets be happier at home? Why do some people need their dogs as fashion accessories?

A: Waiter! There’s a dog in my soup. The health department in New York City recently banned all dogs inside — and outside — bars and restaurants. Perhaps, the end is near for your burg.

Sure, the sight of a dog panting and stowed under a table is not pleasant. One just assumes the mutt is miserable. Not always the case. Dogs enjoy hanging out with their people. And responsible dogged diners know best. Dog Lady gives them a break. If they’re savvy enough to eat at your establishment, they’re smart enough to accommodate their dogs’ needs.

Dogs clash with the wardrobe only when people are neglectful. Hollywood hanger-on Paris Hilton comes to mind. Otherwise, a dog can be a fabulous accessory for a fashionista, never causing the wearer to wonder: “Does this terrier make me look fat?”

Dear Dog Lady,

I moved (with) my dog, a Jack Russell, from our home of nine years to a condo about three years ago. She had always slept belly up at our old place. After the move, it seemed to take her a long time to adjust to the new place. But I knew it had become her home when I saw her begin sleeping belly up again. It took about two months. I believe that sleeping belly up means the dog feels totally secure in their environment because that is a vulnerable sleep position. I enjoy your columns.

A: Yes, you’re right. Rolling over belly up is a sign of submission for a dog. This is a canine’s way of letting it all hang out. The dog exposes its vulnerable underbelly and privates for the whole world to see — and is supremely comfortable doing so. With its tummy in the air, dog is home, so to speak, and doesn’t have to keep watch for nasty predators looking to steal food or family. Dogs roll up not only to sleep to but to receive belly rubs, which, with squeaky toys, tennis balls and chicken treats, are the greatest pleasures we humans can bestow.

Question? Write askdoglady@gmail.com. Visit facebook.com/askdoglady to see pictures, read about Dog Lady’s dog and see “Ask Dog Lady,” the TV show.