Dogs Are Wonderful, Just Not in the Coffee Shop, Please

As a chronic rule follower, it upsets me to see people bring their dogs into a place they shouldn’t be.

A dog sits on its owner's lap in a coffee shop

Dimitrije Nikolic / Getty Images

While in my local coffee shop enjoying a bacon, egg, and cheese with a refreshing Coca-Cola, I saw no fewer than three people come in with their dogs. All these dog owners walked past the sign on the door that explicitly stated: "Only Service Dogs Allowed." 

Perhaps these canines were all service animals, but the shaggy dog that yanked on its leash and whined while its owner ordered a coffee definitely seemed more of a companion. The only service it was offering was one of annoyance to its owner. Yet there it was. It shook its body in the way that dogs do where the movement starts at the head and makes its way down to the tail. The sun streaming through the window reflected on every stray hair as it floated away from its host and wafted across the room. With iced coffee and oat milk in hand, the owner and the dog exited the shop, leaving behind an almost imperceptible layer of fuzz on the tile floor.

Each of these dog owners purchased their coffees to-go which must make them think it’s all right to ignore the rule. “Oh, I’ll just pop in really quick and then get right out,” as if there’s a five-minute grace period before the sign on the door goes into effect, like the three-second rule when you drop food on the floor. Contrary to the popular saying, rules are not made to be broken. As a chronic rule follower, it upsets me to see people bring their dogs into a place they shouldn’t be. There are plenty of times when I’m walking my dog and need just one item from the grocery store. Oh, how simple it would be to combine the daily dog walk with the grocery store run, killing two birds with one trip out of my apartment, but I don’t do it because the sign at the grocery store says not to. Still, every time I go in there, I see at least one person picking up a quart of milk with a Maltese in tow. 

Typically, dogs are not allowed in places that sell prepared food, be it a restaurant or a coffee shop. It can be a self-imposed rule, or it can be an actual law that prohibits dogs from being there. The dog owners who ignore these regulations are putting employees between a rock and a dog place. Food service workers don’t want to come across as an uptight stickler and possibly offend a customer, but the responsibility to uphold the rules often falls to them. Don’t make them be the bad guy for enforcing something they had nothing to do with. 

Even worse, they don’t want to be seen as someone who doesn’t like dogs. The barista might worship at the altar of Clifford the Big Red Dog, but they still have to do what their boss tells them to do. The next time you want to go into a coffee shop for your daily dose of caffeine and are considering bringing man’s best friend along with you, don’t. Dogs are most likely not allowed and it’s going to make the person who works there have to decide whether or not to say anything about it. 

Consider other customers too. Not everyone is a dog lover and some people don’t want to sit two feet away from an illegally loitering Golden Labradoodle. Coffee shops are not for dogs. They’re for people who want coffee, or in my case, Coca-Cola. Follow the rules, please. Teacup Chihuahuas and iced chai don’t mix.

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