A few tech issues today, so another outing for a post from about this time back in 2013.

‘No dogs allowed except guide dogs’

You get a lot of signs like this in the UK; I couldn’t comment on the rest of the world. They strike me as bit meaningless. They’re fine if you are a/ literate, and b/ sighted. They give you a very clear message. No dogs allowed, unless it’s a guide dog.

It must be more difficult to interpret if you’re visually impaired and don’t have an exceptionally talented guide dog. Your dog is going to go up to an entranceway and stop dead.

‘Arf.’

‘What’s the problem, Rex?’

‘Arf. Arf.’

‘Damn. No dogs allowed eh? Oh well, we’ll just have to go elsewhere.’

‘Arf. Arf. Arfarfarf.’

‘Oh, you’re allowed in. Rock and roll. Let’s do it.’

Really, what is the point? I have no objection at all to guide dogs, none. But they’re still dogs, and many of the places with notices like this are establishments where they sell food, and it’s supposed to be a hygiene issue. It’s not anything that has ever exercised me too much to be frank. You have a dog at home, it will hang about looking hopeful while you prepare, cook, and eat your Sunday dinner. And there’s a problem? Who died as a result of this domestic practice?

Outside of your home? I rather like a pub where there’s some somnolent mutt taking up all the floor space in front of the fire. It’s never done me any harm. That may be because I have the antibody constitution of a shark. It’s pretty much bulletproof. But I do see the intention here. A dog is a pretty filthy animal. Yep, it makes sense.

So how is a guide dog less filthy? I’d love you to tell me. I really would. Because at this point it does not make sense at all. Some dogs are more of a hygiene hazard than others? Come on, be serious.

Dogs are either dirty, or they are not. Being a guide dog does not exempt them from the general rule they are a bit grubby. It’s illogical. I’m all for equal access, and have campaigned vigorously for this, but it needs to work both ways. Otherwise it’s reverse discrimination. You’re visually impaired, come on in and have a cup of tea. You’re a pensioner whose only friend is a canine one, well sod off, you can’t come in here and have some human contact. What?

Want to know something else odd? One of my favourite shops has this sign on the door. This shop sells books. There’s not much call for guide dogs in a bookshop, I’d hazard. They’re still allowed in. Other dogs are not.

There’s the added anomaly of the fact that they allow people in. You and I walk around all day in shoes that are in contact with highly contaminated surfaces. Do we get told to take off our shoes when we enter a restaurant or cafe or bistro or burger bar? No, we do not. This is sensible, in a way. Without going into too much microbiological and mycological detail, our feet are also pretty unpleasant. But the shoes we’ve been tracking around in are still permitted, yet a dog is not.

Unless it’s a guide dog. I feel discriminated against here, and I don’t even have a dog. I don’t like them that much. I’m a cat person. Yet I never see any signs saying ‘No cats allowed especially not Snotbag.’ That would be a sensible precaution.

Another sensible precaution, on a hygiene front, would be ‘No babies or toddlers allowed, with no exceptions.’ Bloody hell, think about babies. They’re germ warfare facilities, pushed around in things that lack any microbiological containment capabilities at all. Care to run a few test swabs off a baby stroller? I wouldn’t. That cute tow-headed little angel running around saying ‘Hello!’ to everyone in McDonalds? She fell over in the street not two minutes ago. The same street walked by the canine pariahs that aren’t allowed in. Unless you’re unsighted, in which case it’s fine.

I’m puzzled.

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