Friday, August 31, 2007

An Open Letter to Leona Helmsley's Dog

Dear Scruffy, Wiggles or whatever cutesy name they've etched on your Hermes collar,

Actually, I've just been informed by my dog—my male, SINGLE dog—that your true name is Trouble. Oh, that Leona! What a card.

Anyways, I'm writing for two reasons. First, I realize the celebrity canine circuit must be a lonely place, even for a knockout single bee-atch like yourself. If only I knew a male, SINGLE dog who enjoyed long walks on the beach, cuddling in front of the TV, and co-gnawing the occasional rawhide treat. I'll have to give that some thought.

But the more important matter is where you might be spending the $12 million that Leona left you in her will. Oh, sure, you could burn through it with some hunky mastiff in Paris or Milan. But why not employ it for the betterment of restaurants in Chicago, not to mention pooches everywhere?

Your former mistress may have sniffed at the notion of opening hotels there, but Chicago is a very progressive restaurant town. Now it's debating whether to take the highly charged step of allowing dogs to sit with their masters in outdoor dining areas.

I have to tell you, Muffin, that this is the polarizing issue of our day. Indeed, even we here at NRN are split on the topic. During a recent conference call, one of our Chicagoans brought up the proposal with a tinge of amusement in his voice. How, he asked, could there be any dispute over a matter this black-and-white? He then reeled off his preference for keeping dogs away from any place where food is served, be it al fresco or at a chef's table. The damned puppy kicker.

Those of use who have dogs—did I mention my male, single pal?—were of course aghast. Imagine, objecting to a tableside setter because a hair or two could conceivably waft its way to a neighbor's plate if wind patterns were right. Or some dowager could pull her spoiled Maltese out of a carrier and plop it on the very table you'll be occupying next. Pffft. As if any true animal lover would be put off by such things. We know our dogs are probably more hygienic than their owners, not to mention most of the two-legged population.

And yet the controversy rages, in Chicago and plenty of other places. Clearly the movement to open cafes to canines is gaining steam.

Opponents should learn from Florida, whose legislature passed a measure in 2006 that allowed jurisdictions to open outdoor dining areas to dogs by amending the local sanitation code. The state has yet to be plagued by excessive slobber, much less rabies or distemper.

So I think you need to get out there, Mittens, with checkbook in hand. Do what's necessary to let restaurants decide if they want a Pekinese among the people.

Of course, you probably would appreciate some companionship. Did I mention my male, utterly marriageable canine companion?

1 comment:

  1. If I don't want somebody elses smoke hovering over my dinner table, what make anybody think that dog/cat hair would be acceptable? Leave them home. Better yet, stay home with them! :)