Yuko Szalay guest blogs: No pets allowed. No really...I'm serious.

So, first things first. I love animals. I really, really do. All sorts of them. I have four cats of my own and my boyfriend has two huge dogs that I adore, but pets do not belong in stores. 

Apparently, a lot of people believe that taking their pet shopping with them is acceptable. I see a lot of dogs at the Home Depot and I've even seen a rabbit and an iguana. There is clearly a "No Pets" sticker posted on each customer entrance to the building, but people bring them in all the time. I would say I see at least one pet per day, and significantly more on the weekends. 

I normally don't say anything about it, especially if the pet is confined to the shopping cart and not making any noise, but today a customer came in with his small terrier without a leash. The dog was literally running around the store without anything on other than its collar, the owner did not even look like he was carrying the leash with him "just in case". 

The dog immediately decided that the area behind the paint desk was in dire need of his attention and began weaving between my feet while I was trying to mix paint. The owner was paying ZERO attention to what his dog was doing and had even continued to walk down the aisle, leaving his dog behind. He was about to reach the end of the aisle before I shouted for him and he whistled for his dog. The dog did not respond and he had to walk back up the aisle to retrieve it. 

At this point, I found it necessary to inform him of our "No Pets" policy. 

"Sir, you're really not supposed to have pets in the store. It says so at the door where you came in. It's a hazard."

"Yeah, whatever."

He actually rolled his eyes and continued shopping.

Are you serious? This is a hardware store.  There are TONS of small and dangerous objects in the store for your dog to swallow, there is loud equipment that could scare or harm your pet, and there are people that your dog does not know and is not comfortable with. There is no telling what could spook your pet and cause him to get hurt or hurt another customer/associate. 

The same goes for any store. The only place where it is acceptable for your pet to accompany you is the pet store. Even then, customers and pet owners should take care not to make their animals uncomfortable. 

In short, leave your pets at home. If they need to get out then take them to the park. Don't take them shopping.

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