Monday, July 10, 2006

Personal Tick

I think everyone has one. It's the one thing that you won't let people get away with around you. When you see it done, you have to say or do something or else your eye starts twitching. One of my co-workers cannot stand for patrons to sit on the tables. She will go over and push a chair up to them and point at it. Students used to purposely sit on the tables and watch for her.

A former boss couldn't stand to see patrons playing games on the computers. She would go and tell them to log off and leave. Students, faculty, administration, visiting dignitary: It didn't matter who they were.

My personal tick is pets in the library. This isn't to be confused with Happy Villain at Libraryosis writing about how nice and fun it was to have a pet in the library.

I'm talking about patrons bringing their dogs into the library and thinking they can take them around everywhere.

Let me first preface this by saying, "I LIKE ANIMALS." I grew up in a veritable zoo and love all types of animals, but I also believe that dogs should be left at home when not being taken for a walk. They are not a fashion accessory to be toted around everywhere. They aren't your child and CAN be left home alone.

If I see a person come in with a dog, I am instantly at their elbow telling them (in a slightly flustered manner), dogs are not allowed in Library X. They'll have to take the dogs outside immediately. Whenever I do this, the patrons seem kind of alarmed and affronted that I'm not happy to see their dogs. I'm flustered because not bringing your dog into a public building is one of the universal rules. Like no smoking, no littering, no spitting, no dogs. But these people don't seem to get it.

I have been shelving in the stacks and found students perusing the shelves with their dogs sitting at their feet. I take a moment to gawk every time. I mean HELLO! This is a library. We are not a dog park. What the hell do you think you're doing? My greatest fear is I'll actually see one of these canines cock a leg and whiz on a bookcase.

Just recently, a community member (non-student) came in with his black Labrador trotting at his heels. The dog wasn't even on a leash! Before I could confront him, the community member disappears into the bathrooms with the dog! I wait impatiently and fearfully for the community member to come out. Which one of them is using the bathroom anyway?

When the community member comes out, I go to him instantly. I tell him that he needs to take the dog outside NOW. He has the gall to say he didn't think bringing his dog in would be a problem. WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHO? Like I said, this is a personal tick, you all may have shrugged your shoulders at this, but come on! You don't take your UNLEASHED dog anywhere. And as if he had to get back at me for scolding him, HE snaps at ME not to point at him. Actually I was pointing at the dog, but the dog was by the owner so I was probably pointing at both of them, but still...YOU HAVE YOUR DOG IN THE LIBRARY! Me pointing at you is in pure unadulterated disbelief. I mean HELLO! (Though maybe pointing was his personal tick. Who knows.)

For the pointing thing, I apologize, but I tell the patron, "You should have your dog on a leash as well. That's the law, and you need to take him outside immediately."

He rolls his eyes and takes the dog outside. I just can't believe it.

Some patrons seem to think, "Well, I'll only be a moment. Surely no one will mind." Yes, we will mind. Me ESPECIALLY. Why is your dog with you? Why are you at the library? How do these two answers go together?

As a sort of funny consequence to the above confrontation, I've seen the community member a number of times outside with his dog, and whenever he sees me, he calls the dog to him and puts the leash on the dog. I just shake my head. The man just doesn't get it. That dog could dash after a squirrel ACROSS the street and go splat. That's why there's a leash law, and if there's an auto accident due to the dog, the owner's going to have to pay all auto and injury bills.

Now, I've seen patrons leave their dogs tied up outside. I have a problem with that as well. What happens when your dog bites a child while you're in the library? What happens when your dog has heat stroke? Again why is your dog with you, why are you at the library, and how do these two answers go together? And the answer to the third question, in case you haven't picked up on it yet, is the two answers NEVER go together. There is no corollary between them. You take your dog for a walk or to the vet and then you take him home. You don't drop by the library to check out some books.

And yes, I do make an exception for service dogs, though I've found several articles lately about people lying about their dogs being service animals to keep them with them, but I find that service animals don't have to have any license or certification. That seems highly unusual.

Well, we'll see if I have to butt heads with anyone who claims his Chihuahua is a service animal.



Blogger Happy Villain said...

Despite my love of animals and my desire to bring my dog with me everywhere, my dog does not accompany me in public buildings or go unleashed in public. I'm totally with you on this. And we have had people bring their dogs into our library as well. I'm not just talking chihuahuas in a designer bag, either. Big dogs. We even had a guy bring his gigantic iguana (leashed, but still) into the library, with it riding his shoulders. I was appalled. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?

Also, just so you know that it doesn't just happen at libraries, we were constantly battling with people to leave their dogs in the car when I worked in a pharmacy. These were probably the same people who threw tantrums because their pet's medicine was pricey and they wanted their own medical insurance to cover it. My line: Fine with me; what's Fido's SS #?

1:14 AM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Cat. said...

Off on a slight tangent, but not really: there are people who are allergic to animals (especially of the hairy variety) and being in a confined space of any kind even a week or more after an animal has been there can bring on a medical emergency.

Not that I'd know from personal experience or anything...

Keep up the good fight!

[An iguana in a pharmacy--eeuw, bring out the Clorox wipes!]

7:18 AM, July 12, 2006  
Anonymous danceswithbooks said...

It sounds like yet another episode of "The Selfish and Inconsiderate" or "How The World Turns (Around Me)." It is given these people don't think. I have two cats, love them very much, but I am not bringing them to the library or any other public place. And not to mention the allergic folks. I don't suppose we can put a sign up saying, "No Pets Allowed. Illegal Pets Will Be Shot." I am not saying we will actually shoot them (tempted as I may be, though shooting the owners may be more appealing. I bet the pet is more considerate, but I disgress), but enough to rattle their inconsiderate cage.

9:29 AM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger libwitch said...

I love my ferrets, and I suspect they could be very portable. After all, they love to curl up in clothing and bookbags.

But I don't take them with me, much less to a library.

Its just crazy - by taking a pet to public places you are putting your pet under undue stress and leaving yourself open to a lot of potential problems when your pet is involved in trouble.

Besides, there are TONS of people allergic to all manner of pets. I don't shop in stores that have "store cats" - while I don't have anything against it, and the owners of private establishments are within their rights to have one - I am allergic to them and avoid those stores at all costs.

10:36 AM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

Recently, it took us about 3 days to break a new patron of our public library of the habit of bringing in his Chihuahua. He did tell me that she's a service dog -- trained to visit nursing homes and hospitals -- but I held fast on the point that he's neither elderly nor sick, and that this is in fact a library.

3:41 PM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

Oooh, the patron is clearly confused and I wonder if his dog is even trained for this, but what he really means is the Chihuahua is a therapy dog. They are not service dogs, and are not allowed automatic access to buildings. They must be invited to bring the dog in.

Here's a good blurb exlaining the difference.

4:38 PM, July 12, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks for the good definition check, V.L.! My memory may be inaccurate, but even if he did use the right word, it's clear like the answer is still, Sorry, leave your dog at home.

Each of the first zillion times I told him, "I'm sorry, we ask that you have cell phone conversations outside," he cheerfully replied, "Oh, okay, I didn't know that!" He's just a young man trying to test our limits. ;-)

8:08 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Katya said...

Dogs in the library! Oh Lord. Sometimes I think our library is bad but we've never had people try to do that.

I love my cats -- most of the time -- but you wouldn't find me bringing them to the library.

5:35 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Spike said...

Quite apart from the allergy factor, I do not want to borrow a book that smells like dog piss. These dog draggers need to get a brain already.

3:58 AM, July 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a student who kept bringing his puppy in the library. He even told us it wasn't even paper trained. Uh, idiot, want to get that smelly thing out of here before we have a puddle on the floor? He never did get why we weren't delighted to have his "cute little buddy" visit. Of course, this was also the student who parked his new SUV wherever he felt like it on campus and just threw away the parking tickets. Obviously rules and common sense only apply to some of us.

11:48 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

HL, you reminded me of this girl who lived next door to me in college. Her family raised cockateels and she brought one with her. She insisted on going EVERYWHERE with this bird. Seeing someone in the lunch line with a bird on her shoulder was very strange. It became disturbing when fried chicken was on the menu.

I think she was eventually told to cool it with the bird.

Cat and libwitch, allergies are so prevalent. I don't know how these people could be so inconsiderate about other people's welfare.

Danceswithbooks said, "It sounds like yet another episode of 'How The World Turns (Around Me)." Heh. That's pretty good. I may steal that. And I would rather have a sign saying "No Pets Allowed. Illegal Pet Owners Will Be Shot."

Anon, I think the shooting policy would work well with your puppy owner.

Katya, I'm beginning to think I want to work at your library.

Spike, here's hoping that never happens because on top of everything else, I take care of the damaged books. So those piss soaked monstrosities would end up on MY desk.

8:03 PM, July 17, 2006  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

Ack, I meant HV as in Happy Villain at the beginning of my post. Damn Blogger's no ability to edit comments.

8:04 PM, July 17, 2006  

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