Liberty & Maynard

Stopped. Watched. icon

Sign on entrance to Borders bookstore, announcing that as of Feb. 1, the store will no longer allow “non-service” animals through the doors.

» Want more items like this one? Visit the Stopped. Watched. page.


  1. By Linda Diane Feldt
    January 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm | permalink

    This is such sad news. My dogs and I have been visitors to the downtown Borders for over 12 years, three different dogs. The staff are always excited and happy to see dogs, making sure they get their treat. And the dogs learn fast where to go.
    There are dozens of times when I had no intention of going in, I was just walking by, and my dog insisted we go in. I’d end up buying something nearly every time.
    It is also such great socialization for a dog to learn to behave in a public place. The staff at Bivouc have voiced that wisdom to me a number of times.
    Kinkos used to chastise me if I came in without my dog. Then, without warning, they kicked us out for good. All my copy business now goes to Kolossos.
    This takes away a huge incentive to me to shop at Borders. If we want well behaved dogs, we have to give them the chance to learn and practice good behavior. Walking downtown, getting exercise for me and the dog, and doing errands at the same time is something I love. And dogs make the downtown a friendlier place. It isn’t legal (or safe) to tie them outside a store. There aren’t many options.

    Thank you to the many remaining places downtown who enjoy and welcome shoppers with dogs. This makes me appreciate you all the more.

  2. January 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm | permalink

    I commented on this Stopped/Watched earlier. Did you miss my comment? I am pretty sure that I hit the “submit” button.



  3. January 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm | permalink

    Whoops–my original comment was that this is an odd sign to have been posted at Borders at this particular time. I wonder what the problem with “non-service” dogs was to cause Borders to no longer allow them through their doors.

  4. January 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm | permalink

    @1: Can you see this from the perspective of other shoppers, LD?

  5. By Linda Diane Feldt
    January 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm | permalink

    I can Steve, and have this to add to the discussion. Well socialized dogs add to our lives. Poorly socialized dogs are a danger and an annoyance. The only way to socialize a dog is to expose them to lots of experiences. I would venture to say that most dogs don’t belong in stores and out in public – but mostly because they haven’t been out in stores and in public.

    Same with people afraid of dogs, a lot of it is lack of exposure.

    It is hard to find that line between taking care of people who have legitimate objections, and also learning to live together. And with dogs and dog owners it is truly learning. We all need to put up with a lot of stuff we would rather not have to deal with.

    I don’t have an easy answer, but when I’ve been in Borders with a dog the people who didn’t like it expressed that by walking away, and the overwhelming response was people coming to say hi. And, we almost always encountered parents teaching their kids how to respond to a strange dog. Ask first, reach out their hand, be gentle. So it was a very reinforcing dog/kid interaction which could easily prevent a bad dog/kid interaction at some other time. In order to learn this, you have to do it. Kids and dogs need to learn how to deal with each other in closely supervised encounters. If the dogs aren’t around, neither will learn.

    These are good things all lost when dogs are banned.

    And when my second dog matured with severe fear aggression, there is no way I would ever have taken him into any place in town. His early exposure and socialization may have helped him some, but he was a dog who had severe problems. I had to shield him from all kids at all times. A bad situation made worse, but I had no choice, until even that wasn’t enough. He became progressively worse, until there were no options left for a good life.

    How much can we expect to be shielded from life? As a person with severe chemical allergies who has had to leave places with smoke, cologne, perfume or even chemical cleaners I deal with the question every day and can certainly see and appreciate all sides.

    I don’t want to force my dog on anyone. Borders is a big place. Our experiences there were very positive, helpful for the dog, and seemed beneficial to the staff and many of the other shoppers.

    I take my dog downtown often so that she can learn to be a better behaved dog – at ease with kids, sirens, crowds, parades, food, other dogs, and more. My walking lifestyle includes walking with my dog. When I can combine that with doing normal errands I’m grateful.

  6. By RJM
    January 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm | permalink

    Right on cue, the NYT has a piece on this very issue: [link]

  7. January 30, 2010 at 6:20 pm | permalink

    I will admit to a mild phobia regarding dogs (I was bitten by a friend’s dog when I was a child and dislike being jumped on). But though I don’t suffer from it, I know people with severe allergies to dogs. I’m having a problem with the “dogs are people too” concept in crowded areas.

  8. By Linda Diane Feldt
    January 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm | permalink

    I certainly agree, dogs are not people. Just one of the reasons they are on leashes. They don’t belong everywhere. Not fair to the dog or the people.
    Vivienne, I’m sorry you were bitten. If you would every like some positive help and exposure to good dogs, and some help picking up on the cues that dogs give out, just let me know. I learned later in life, I’m happy to help other people learn as well. Just knowing a few simple things about dog behavior can make all the difference. Or ask another dog lover. Most are happy to help you feel more comfortable.

  9. By Dave Askins
    January 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm | permalink

    Discussion of dogs and different reactions and experiences that people have to them stirred an ancient internet memory. After rummaging around, I re-located this video posted on Richard Murphy’s Common Monkeyflower blog, which contains a horrific description of an encounter with a dog by an Ann Arbor city councilmember, interspersed with other material: [link]. Not for the faint of heart.

  10. January 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm | permalink

    Linda, thanks – I am fine with (well-behaved) dogs I know. Strange ones can be stressful. I was almost knocked down by a Lab one night when I went out to check my mailbox. He was being walked without a leash. His owner assured me that he was harmless, but that didn’t alleviate the shock and fear. On the other hand, I actually dog-sat one whole summer while I was on a study trip to Berkeley. I fed, walked and petted the elderly dog and cleaned up his nocturnal messes. But in public places, having to be aware of strange dogs, alert to their actions, and needing to make a big circle around them is not very pleasant.