No Sugar Added: Cabernet and cockapoos do not mix

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I do not hate dogs. They are not my personal pet of choice, but I am an animal lover, and dogs are animals, and therefore, I do not dislike them.

But I do not believe that dogs have the same entitlements as human citizens of the United States of America (and more specifically, Maine). I do not believe that dogs should have freedom of public speech, the right to vote in major elections – or the right to dine beside me while I am sipping my glass of Malbec at an upscale hotel lounge.  

I don’t know what has possessed certain establishments to decide this is a good idea, but if I’m paying for the pleasurable experience of dining or drinking at a lovely venue, I do not welcome the company of half a dozen canines. No matter how well behaved they are. And who are these people who need to bring Fido along on a romantic dinner date? Really?

If I want to dine among dogs, I’ll take my wilted spinach salad and glass of wine and sit in the waiting room of my veterinarian’s office.

Now, I understand the concept of “dog-friendly” hotels. I understand that said hotels are looking to appeal to those people who are, perhaps, forced to travel with their dog for lack of a dog-sitter, or because their dog is considered their spouse via common-law marriage (I’m sure there are certain states where this union will soon be put to a vote). But as an adult who does not own a dog, and who does not bring her cats and dwarf Belgian bunny with her when going out for the evening, I do not understand the whole “dogs are people, too” idea.

When did dogs become people? I don’t care what they do in Paris;I live in Maine. I didn’t move here because it was a dog-progressive place.

I am 100 percent for no-dogs-on-the-beach seasonal restrictions. I don’t like dog poop on my beaches. I don’t care how much they enjoy playing with their little doggie friends, I don’t want to pay $75 for a beach/park pass and then find doggie doo-doo next to my towel on a sultry August afternoon.

My mid-life foray back into the dating world has also opened my eyes where dogs are concerned: it’s amazing how many men apparently don’t just own dogs, but have primary romantic relationships with them. Any woman reading this who has been on any Internet dating site (I feel your pain) knows what I’m talking about.  Show me a “profile” photo of a man posing next to his German shepherd, and I’ll show you a man who doesn’t really need to find a relationship. This, dear reader, is because he is already in one.

The only thing worse than a man with a dating photo featuring him snuggling with his large dog next to a fireplace is a dating photo of a man nuzzling up to a dolphin while on vacation in Florida.

Please. Unless you’re Dr. Dolittle, save the animal photos for later.

My point is, animals (of any type) should not be hanging out in any public establishment where food is being served – unless, perhaps, it’s a hot dog stand on the sidewalk. Surely Corky (or Spike or Buttercup) could stay safely in his or her special dog-approved room so that other patrons could eat their food and drink their cocktails without the threat of dog hair or dander tainting their experience.

Babies should not frequent cocktail lounges. Neither should dogs.

I understand people love their pets. I love my pets. But I wouldn’t expect them to be welcome at a place where human beings are dining. I’m fantasizing that the next time I visit this particular local establishment (which is an otherwise lovely and magical place, by the way) I should bring along our pet bunny – on a leash.

Fair is fair.

And if I weren’t afraid of the dogs giving poor little Boomer a heart attack, I’d do it.

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at or contact her at