Commentary: Barking mad about dog justice
July 12, 2014 10:29 AM
by LLEWELLYN KING

You are embarking on reading something that is hopelessly one-sided, patently biased and completely partisan. It is plainly and simply a call for equality.

I want dogs in the United States to be accorded the same rights and privileges as they are in France.

I say that if you want to be born a pooch, do it in France. The French dog’s life is tres bonne.

You may think I am barking mad, but I have been studying pampered pooches for decades. In Britain, people have a screw loose about all animals. But in France, the dog is the overlord of all it surveys.

British dogs may get roast beef on Sunday, if they are lucky. Their French equals drag their owners to the patisserie whenever they feel the urge for an ´┐ęclair or a napoleon.

British dogs get a bath infrequently in the family tub. But French dogs go to a salon. Sadly, in America, we outsource the grooming to a chain; not the same as a salon for Fifi the Pomeranian or Jacques the wolfhound.

But it is really at lunch and dinner when the French dog struts his or her superior situation: They go to fine restaurants with their owners, and sometimes — Mon Dieu! — eat their meals on the same china.

In England the lucky few four-footers can go to the pub and, with the publican’s permission, enter the hallowed premises. After some unpleasantness with the same publican’s large mongrel, which always blocks the entrance, he or she will find a spot under the table and hope for a bit of overcooked banger.

It is quite amazing how many dogs will show up in a restaurant in France and, after a few snarls, how fast they will settle down to the serious work of begging for food, or waiting in the certain knowledge that if they have the power over their owners to be taken out to lunch or dinner, delicious victuals will be provided with a loving, “Bon appetit, mon petit chien!” Last month in Paris, I saw a happy dog sitting on a banquette in a fine restaurant.

Dogs in France also are conspicuous on public transportation. You see them on the trains, local and intercity, and the intercity airplanes. Some taxi drivers feel safer with a German shepherd or Rottweiler on the front seat. I have always thought a dog is superior to plastic dividers and other security devices in these uncivil times.

The French indulge their dogs and owners to such an extent that they have special sanitation workers who ride motorcycles equipped with vacuum cleaners, so that the good citizens do not, well, step in it.

But in America, dogs are defendu, not allowed to darken the door. They are classified as a health hazard. You can get away with dining with your best friend outdoors at some establishments. But mostly, the dear creatures must endure confinement at home while we gorge.

My fellow Americans, can this go on? Can we allow the pampered poodles of France to lord it over good ole American coon hounds? Liberte, egalite, fraternite for the dogs of the U.S.A.!

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