The Dog Under The Table

It is reported that U.S. tourism to Europe may be up this summer even over last summer. Chances are lots of those visitors will never have been here before. That is great.

That also means, though, if you have not been here before, and if this is “a problem” for you in the States… brace yourself:

I don’t understand why this is such an emotional issue for some people in the States, such as for that “food blogger.” Young American children tend to be far more “disruptive” in restaurants, in my experience, than dogs, and far more likely to be “germ-fests” that could lead to actual illnesses. (It has also been shown in study after study that children raised in houses with a dog are healthier, exercise much more, and are less prone to allergies.) That does not stop some, though, naturally, from whinging about dogs…

And they are displeased about dogs in *outdoor* spaces? LOL!

Such people would probably faint here. In the U.K., as well as elsewhere in Europe, such as France (and other than maybe Italy, no country is more obsessed with restaurant-dining than France), dogs are routinely allowed *inside* of restaurants. As far as I know (about England especially), their presence is at the discretion of the restaurant.

[In Dartmouth, Devon. A quiet, early morning. Photo by me, February 10, 2023.]

It is assumed that the owner is not a jerk and will try to bring in “three” dogs (like shown in that dopey AP photo above) they can barely control; no restaurant is going to tolerate that and reasonably so. Here in Dartmouth, it is not uncommon to see one dog (or maybe “two” if small and under clear control) beneath a restaurant INSIDE table. (Many of them are pricey restaurants too, patronized by people arriving off yachts… with their dog.) The other day when we were eating with friends (my former university roommate and his wife) visiting here in southwest England from Alaska, we had laughs with a family when they walked in with a lovely black young lab that ended up under their table next to us. Separately, a table beyond them, a larger dog was already sitting quietly at the side of his owner’s table.

My ex-roommate’s wife also has an allergy to anything cooked with tomato and we told the restaurant when making the reservation; and the restaurant was greatly attentive to it on our arrival. If one actually has a legitimate allergy issue with dogs and says so in making a reservation, no doubt they would have seen to that, too.

Yet isn’t “basic hygiene” an issue with a dog under the table? Well, one supposes if you eat off the floor, quite possibly.

Our (now late) dog would have loved Dartmouth. We took him to restaurants now and then, including on two trips over to France. He didn’t care about other dogs or other diners, he wanted to be with us and I would prompt him to curl up beneath our table (I kept him on a short lead) during the meal (and I would give him a chip or two or three). If he did not fit under a table, he would lie next to a wall or something.

[The hound. Potton, May 2019. Photo by me.]

In the U.S., frankly I would be far more concerned about a nutter with a gun bursting in than “the health risk” posed by a dog beneath the table beside us. Indeed, you would think that some of my fellow countrymen so “upset” over the prospect of dogs anywhere nearby as they dined even outside, would consider this upside: A dog released at a gunman might at least create a momentary distraction and possibly save lives.

Ours, I know, would have gone ballistic at the sudden obvious threat, and the moment I let go of his lead (or just dropped it if I had been shot) he would have gone for the gunman and possibly died for us as well as for those who didn’t want a dog in the restaurant… including any “food bloggers” present.

Have a good day, wherever you are, uh, dining in the world. 🙂

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