Before children, we had a pet Maltese dog named Max. He was white, fluffy and absolutely adorable. He was the love of my life until our girls were born. I bought him cashmere sweaters, made homemade doggie treats and threw him dog birthday parties in the park. He was very high maintenance and a tremendous medical expense with so many visits to the pet hospital that our pet insurance cancelled us. Unfortunately, Max had become so severely ill that we wound up having to finally put him to sleep. It was extremely sad and, ever since, our pets have been limited to whatever can fit into a fish tank. In second grade, my daughter won a blue crayfish at school and named him Georgie. He was a smart crayfish constantly finding sneaky ways to escape his tank. One day we would find him hanging out in the kitchen sink, the next he would be crawling around on the hardwood floor. Lord knows how he got there. After about 5 years and several layers of shedding his shell, he passed away and we have buried him in our backyard. Now we have Jambalaya, the pet turtle. My nanny Sonia bought him as a gift one Christmas. He is a colorful painted turtle and lives happily in his tank feeding and burrowing holes. He is very low maintenance, requiring only food and a clean tank. We live in the canyon without sidewalks so as much as our girls ask for a dog, it is not happening anytime soon – at least until they are old enough to walk a pooch safely on the street.
Here in Beverly Hills, it is quite commonplace to treat your pet like a person. They are a bonafide member of the family attending power lunches, going to the salon and staying in the finest hotels. They hide inconspicuously in Hermes totes and parade down red carpets with equal ease, but just don’t let me catch your pet relieving themselves on my nice Persian rug or clawing their way up my expensive wool coat. Follow these recommended rules of ‘petiquette’ to keep your furry friend in check.
Be Mindful of their Mess. My aesthetician told me about a client who routinely brings her pet to the salon only to leave small presents on the bathroom floor for others to clean up. The dog isn’t exactly potty-trained. This is not only unsanitary and could cost the salon its license, but it is inexcusable. Rule number one is clean up after your pets mess. Have your scooper and small bags handy to remove said offenses immediately. Don’t let your pet relieve themselves anywhere, certainly not on other people’s property. Walk them curbside and encourage them to ‘go’ there.
Approach with Caution. Not everyone is aware of how to properly approach a pet. Big, excitable or aggressive dogs must be tethered or leashed in the event a small child or elderly adult decides to get close without a formal introduction. Want to get up close and personal? Ask permission from the owner first and then proceed cautiously.
Train them Young. Obedience training is a must for all dogs. It is for their safety and yours. Simple commands such as how to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ are a necessity and will help socialize your dog so that they can be around others. Even dog lovers do not appreciate a pooch that jumps and claws at you when you walk through the door.
Travel Companion or Therapy Animal? As many a non-disabled person will circumvent the law and obtain a handicap placard for easier parking, there are those that claim their pet is a service animal so they may travel with them first class. Pet Partners® has never been more popular! If you have an emotional or physical disability and are in desperate need of a therapeutic travel companion, I understand. Have your applicable paperwork, tags and licenses on hand. If not, please don’t subject the rest of us to your service pet antics, it is not very becoming.
Observe Pets Presentation. They say many pets resemble their owners. You’ll never see a disheveled or unkempt pet in Beverly Hills. Just saunter through Neiman Marcus on any given Saturday and you’ll see an assemblage of pets expertly coiffed, dressed to the nines, smelling like a rose in brand name carriers. These owners will have ample supplies on hand, wipes for muddy paws, portable water dishes with filtered water to quench thirst and resting pads for getting some shut eye.
No Barking or Begging Zone. Excessive barking can be a big nuisance and upsetting to those within earshot. You don’t want to risk a noise complaint from next door. High strung pets who live in smaller quarters should have a regular exercise routine to release repressed energy. A little fresh air and running around will exhaust them and calm them down so they will not bark unreasonably. Begging is unacceptable and can also spread germs. Never feed a dog table food and if begging ensures, remove them immediately from the scene.
Preferable Pet Sitting. Leaving town and need a place to park your pet? Don’t burden your family and friends with the responsibility. If they are interested in babysitting your pet while you’re away, they will let you know. Neighbors make a nice option, especially if the relationship is reciprocal and you both leave town at different times. Otherwise, enlist the help of a professional pet sitting service. Check references and make sure they are insured and bonded before dropping your unsuspecting pet at their door.
Love Me, Love My Pet. You and your canine may be attached at the hip, but that does not give them carte blanche to tag along to your social engagements or accompany you at work. Many people are allergic to pets fur. Untrained pets may damage furniture or permanently stain rugs leaving a wake of destruction in their path. Showing up with yours unannounced can be considered incredibly insensitive. If you are in a bind with your pet, have the courtesy to ask permission and wait for the okay. Be gracious and make sure your pet is on their best behavior.