We enjoy going out to dinner. We do not enjoy leaving our golden retriever, Anna, at home while we go out to dinner. For one thing, we miss her. There’s also the fact that we worry, should we leave her home alone too often, she’ll one day write a tell-all about us, including such humiliating details as my passion for bunny slippers. Which would be a damnable lie. Besides, we bristle at the injustice of her being denied service. She’s well-behaved, cute, and never barks. I can claim none of those three virtues, and yet I am welcome in every restaurant.
Fortunately, there are restaurants that welcome dogs on their patios. Miss Anna gets a bowl of ice-water and waits patiently as Gerda and I share wine for half an hour before ordering. But the moment the waiter has taken our order, Anna comes to my right side and looks at me expectantly, because she knows she gets cookies only after we have ordered and that they are always kept in a plastic bag in my right, interior jacket pocket. At the end of dinner, if we’ve had French fries, she gets a few. Often she keeps such a low profile that most of the diners on the patio do not know she’s there. She never shrieks, never cries hysterically, never throws food, never runs wildly among the tables, never goes to the table of a stranger to ask, “Can I have some of your cake, why can’t I?” And yet misbehaving children are welcome where she isn’t. Ah, but come the revolution . . .