So last night, a really disturbing scenario unfolded as I tried to enjoy delicious Indian food at a fine local establishment.
While already seated with my friend, a couple walked into the restaurant with a small dog. The small dog had a large tag on, and it had the appearance of a luggage tag. I’ve seen these before and recognized it as possibly a service animal. I could not tell from observing the couple what the dog was doing as far as service, but that doesn’t matter – I don’t go by outward appearances and I’m fine with a service animal anywhere and pretty much everywhere (maybe not in the wading pool at a spa, but also, if it’s necessary, I probably would not lose my shit. Dogs are awesome, especially service dogs.)
My friend and I continued to enjoy our delicious meal, chatting all the while, until suddenly there was quite a commotion at the table with the dog. I didn’t see exactly what happened, but from the angry way the man was speaking and the calm, rational tone the server was using, I ascertained that something was amiss with his meal. Upon further “discussion”, the man began yelling – I mean YELLING for the check, and the restaurant got very quiet. Apparently, the couple had put a CHINA PLATEFUL OF DELICIOUS INDIAN FOOD ON THE CARPETED FLOOR and proceeded to feed the dog with it. When the server asked the couple politely to not do that as it was a health violation, the guy got furious. He spoke to the server quite aggressively, and another patron of the restaurant came over to defend the servers and said that it was not necessary to treat the servers in the manner that the service-dog-man was treating them. The couple with the dog got the check and left angrily.
Later on, another table closer to us was getting ready to pay the check and leave. But before they left, they let the servers know that they had lost 3 more customers because they didn’t allow the dog to eat off the plate. In the restaurant. Where people eat. They were also pretty rude to these poor servers who had done nothing untoward and had never raised their voices (oh, and hey, it was their freaking restaurant.) This other table of people just insisted that they should have let the dog eat and then thrown their china away.
Do not get me wrong. Both me and my friend are avid dog lovers, rescuers, and advocates of animals in general. However. I draw the fucking line at so many things in this scenario. SO. MANY.
1) This restaurant did not refuse the couple and actually can’t by law refuse them if the dog is indeed a service dog. They also can’t ask, and didn’t, whether or not the dog is a service dog, which, alright. Understood. They CAN ask if the dog is needed for a disability and what type of work for which the dog is trained. These servers took the couple on good faith that the dog was a service dog.
2) According to Texas law, the dog must be controlled by the owner at all times. This dog did wander the restaurant on more than one occasion. The couple was not asked to leave. I also verified with several people I know who have extensive knowledge of service dogs that these dogs usually don’t eat OR wander while working. Service dogs usually sit quietly directly next to the owner and don’t really move at all.
3) Apart from the issue that feeding your dog Indian food might not be a logical choice for the dog’s digestion, there is nothing in the law that states whether you can or cannot feed the dog – however, the plate did not belong to the dog owner, and as far as I’m concerned if the servers asked for that action to cease politely and courteously, the couple could have either complied or paid and left. They did the latter, but angrily and not without insult to servers who were merely looking out for the other patrons and for their property.
3) What the fuck ever to the table of angry people who clearly go about their lives eating off the same plates as their dogs and throwing their Flora Danica in the trash like common refuse. First of all, they can feel however they want, but ultimately, this is not their circus, not their monkeys, and definitely not their restaurant. What level of apology does the server or restaurant owner owe to these people? We’re sorry your experience was unpleasant. Which is what these ladies did, and did it with class. Yet, the table of people would not let it go. It was just…a shitty way to treat others. And completely unnecessary. I realize everyone wants to shout their opinions from a mountaintop these days, but seriously folks, you could have just left. I’m glad I know you are batshit crazy now. So glad.
I know this post is without my usual humor so far, but here’s where I lose my logical, calm demeanor.
DOGS DON’T EAT IN FUCKING RESTAURANTS, YO. THEY ARE DOGS.
I don’t have a problem with your dog being here, sitting quietly, under a table. You know, under your control. I don’t have a problem with your dog eating leftovers out of a styrofoam container directly outside the restaurant. I DO have a problem with you being fucking disrespectful when a business owner asks you to stop an action they perceive as distracting or non-compliant. I also have a problem with your dog wandering about this classy joint. We’re not on a patio. And even if we were, how do you know if I do or do not have a fear of or allergy to dogs? It is just disrespectful to treat this establishment as you would, say, your living room.
I love dogs. I love people. I firmly side with the restaurant. They had every right to ask the couple to not feed the dog in the restaurant off of their plate. They had every right to act calmly and be assertive when it came to their business. This couple was completely out of line.
That being said, I will be taking everyone I know to this restaurant to make up for the customers they may have lost due to THIS INDIAN RESTAURANT NOT BEING YOUR HOUSE.
And now, one of my all-time favorite memes from the interwebs: