Dogs in shops. Yes or no?

And is this just a recent thing? Owners who walk into shops with their dogs. Not guide dogs. Just the regular pooch.

A couple of weeks ago when I was out shopping, I saw dogs in shops on three occasions.

Can I just say I'm a dog fan, a big dog fan. But I'm also a big fan of intelligent dog owners, and on this particular day, dog owner intelligence was in short supply.

I was at a big industrial mall. You know the type. Freedom, Rebel Sport, Harvey Norman. That sort of thing. And I'd stopped to grab some sushi. And I was sitting eating lunch with my husband and my son, and in walked a family of four and their dog.

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It looked like a beagle. And the mother told her teenaged daughter to carry the dog while it was in the shop. And so she struggled, but she lifted up the dog and held it while she hovered over the refrigerated area that holds all the packet sushi.

And my jaw almost hit the floor. Who, in their right mind, would think that's okay? And my husband at this point was highly amused at the look on my face and telling me not to choke on my sushi, but thankfully, the owner saw it and told the girl to take the dog outside.

Then, later, we were in Harvey Norman near the bed section and a woman walked in with a Jack Russell and started trying out the beds. And the dog was jumping on the beds next to her. She kept pushing it off, but it kept jumping up. It must have jumped on half a dozen beds.

Then yesterday I was in a boutique in front of a rack of clothes and there was a woman next to me. The two of us were sort of side by side, working our way along the rack. And you know when you get that feeling that you're being watched? Well, I had that feeling. And I turned to look at her, and sticking its head out of the bag over her shoulder was a bug-eyed chihuahua, just sort of sitting there, staring at me.

So, it gets better. Later I was in a shoe shop and I was sitting on one of those backless sofas, leaning forward and trying on some boots. And I was conscious that someone else had walked into the shop. I could hear footsteps behind me, and then out of the blue, right beside my ear there was a loud, shrill bar and I almost left the sofa.

And as I turned I saw one of those labra-doodle thingies. I don't know what it was, it looked like it was half alpaca. But whatever it was, it was now sharing the sofa with me. Its owner smiled at me, walked up and patted her alpaca, and the carried on looking at shoes.

And I said to the shop assistant, why do you allow dogs in shops? She said it drives them nuts, but people just walk in to shops with their dogs these days and there's not much they can do about it. And I don't know whether I've missed something because once upon a time, dogs were never allowed in shops, but now they're everywhere.

The thing is, I'm sure your average dog doesn't want to get dragged around the shops. They'd rather be at home sleeping or chasing the neighbour's cat, surely.

Anyway, I think we need to knock it on the head. Dogs don't belong in shops. Leave your pooch at home, peeps.