Dogs in public: Dear Labby’s advice

Dear Labby,

What’s the etiquette as far as bringing your dog into those big warehouse sorts of stores? I’m talking about the kind that have wide aisles and cement floors (like Old Navy). I have a very well behaved Lab who would stay by my side and not bother the customers or the merchandise. Ok to bring her in?

Signed:

Stores Having Off-the-rack Product Have an Obligation to Usher in Nice Dogs

This is not so much a matter of etiquette, S.H.O.P.H.O.U.N.D., as it is policy. Most stores have posted signs or written rules about whether (non-service dog) pets are allowed in. Usually, the welcome mat doesn’t extend to furry or feathered patrons.

If, however, it were a matter of etiquette, here’s my two bucks: Even if you are a hopeless mall rat, don’t bring your dog to the store. You never know who’s allergic, who’s phobic, and who’s just downright ignorant when it comes to interacting with canines.

When you’re looking to expose your pup to something new and it’s too cold for a walk or hike, take her to Petco or to your local pet-supply boutique. But if you’re hoping for a shopping buddy who’s not going to laugh at you in rhinestone-studded cargo pants, bring along your 8th grade locker partner.