Dogs in the Public Space

I live in Montreal, Quebec which is a pretty darn-tootin' amazing place to live. I think it is one of the best places in all of North America in which to make your home. The architecture is beautiful, we live in two languages, we have four world-class universities, a great appreciation for culture ... I could go on and on. No one is paying me to say this! I swear. However, one of the things that could be improved in our belle ville is the friendly factor in regards to dogs. I am originally from Toronto, which, apart from its many problems was when I lived there, extremely dog-friendly. I wish I could take my dog on the metro here as I could in TO. Little things like that. Recently, the CBC radio show Daybreak asked me to come on to discuss dog-friendly cities with a gentleman who was not as receptive as I was to the idea. He did not think dogs belonged in Canadian Tire, for example, or the dry cleaners. Myself, I like seeing well-behaved dogs out and about and believe their presence discourages nefarious activities and encourages more friendly interactions.If you wanna listen, click here.

During this same period of time, I read this story about Cody the chocolate lab who goes to work every day with his master, Karim Mansour. Mr. Mansour owns a gas-station/convenience stores in Florida and put his dog to work with him every day. Many of the customers appreciate seeing the dog in the store according to Mr. Mansour:

"But the BP station is also like most other convenience stores — a sometimes strange melting pot of people from every class and creed, who at any given time could be going through some rough emotion. For those customers, Cody is the solution. He can do what the normal gas station clerk usually cannot.

"Convenience stores are so unpredictable. People come in drunk, stoned, angry, you name it," Mansour said. "He calms them down. Animals have the ability to soothe the human soul."

Earlier this year, a woman who had been fighting with her husband came into the station.

"She came in all sorts of bawling and crying," Mansour said.

Cody, sensing something wasn't right, went to the woman. She put her face next to his, and sat on the floor with him. After several minutes talking to Cody, the woman pulled herself together."

However, shortly after this story came out, someone complained about the dog to the local storm troopers: Cody is no longer allowed to be in the store. What a shame. The store doesn't prepare food. The customers are in no danger. He keeps things safe and friendly. What exactly is the problem? I realise that being the animal welfare activist that I am, I am at an extreme end of the scale. But still, I don't get it. If you would like to read more about this story, please go here. Team Cody!

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