Everywhere You Look, NE Valley is Going to the Dogs

By Mike McClary
The Arizona Republic

Note: This is an updated version of this column. Orginally the paper rejected it claiming it didn’t have a news angle. Recently, in response to a heroin bust, the Scottsdale school district voted to allow drug-sniffing dogs in the high schools next fall. I had found my news peg and here’s what they ran. Also, the column ran alongside an AP photo with the caption: “A Rottweiler sits in the driver’s seat awaiting his owner’s return. What, he wasn’t allowed in the store to shop for himself?”

What’s all the commotion about allowing drug-sniffing dogs to roam Scottsdale high schools?

If you hadn’t noticed, dogs seem to be permitted just about everywhere else in Scottsdale, so why not the halls of academia?

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association Inc.’s Web site , there are approximately 65 million owned dogs in the United States.

I’m convinced 10 percent of them are here.

Don’t believe me? The next time you’re out running errands, look around. Dogs are everywhere in the Northeast Valley.

Define “everywhere,” you say? I’m glad you asked, because I’ve kept a running list: the bagel shop, the coffee shop, the hardware store, the warehouse club, the crafts store, the grocery store . . . shall I go on?

Notice I didn’t mention a pet store or park, two places where I spend little time but would expect to find a hound – or several dozen.

Of course, I’m not talking about guide dogs or a pooch chained to a tree while its master runs into the quick mart for antacids. I’m talking about ol’ Rex going for a leisurely stroll with his pet parent in the paint section of a big-box hardware store. And little Lulu sitting in the cart while Aunt Mimsy shops for picture frames.

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t there enough danger inside a stadium-size hardware store with the forklifts and teetering stacks of lumber? Should I have to worry about my daughter once again coming face-to-face with a German shepherd on aisle seven?

On a couple of occasions, I’ve seen store managers ask a dog owner to take the mutt outside. In both instances, the dog owner looked incredulous, as if to say, “Are you kidding me? I’m buying this socket wrench for the dog!”

Can you imagine the payday if a shopper’s dog bit someone inside a store – especially a store that didn’t sell four-legged animals?

Until recently, I looked forward to sitting outside a bagel shop on weekend mornings, munching on breakfast. Nowadays, though, it’s a tough choice. Do I want to listen to the chorus of dogs barking at each other, or do I want a bowl of oatmeal at home with my screaming kids?

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Hey, pal, I don’t want to eat next to your screaming kids any more than you want to eat next to my frothing Rottweiler.

Trust me, I don’t want to eat with my screaming kids either, but until laws are loosened so I can leave a baby home with a bowl of water and a chew toy, I’ll be bringing them with me.

Yes, I know the day will come when my kids beg me to buy them a puppy. If I’m at all like my parents, I’ll eventually succumb to the pressure.

Not because I’m a sucker, though. No, it’ll be because I want my kids to live in the real world – even if it’s Scottsdale’s version of the real world.

And to do that, I need to get them used to being around dogs everywhere they go.

Mike McClary is a freelance writer who lives in the Rio Verde area. He can be reached at michael.mcclary@gmail.com. The views expressed are those of the author.

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