Animals love Green Girl. The reason is simple: she's fiercely allergic to fur-bearing beasts. Their dander causes her air passages to squeeze shut and her eyes to swell and itch. Animals make her miserable. Consequently, the more miserable an animal makes Green Girl, the more prone that animal is to get as physically close to Green Girl as possible. If she visits you and you have a cat, your cat will leap up to Green Girl's lap and hunker down until she stands up to leave. If she's strolling through a park and there's a dog within a mile's radius, that dog will sniff its way to Green Girl's crotch and be nuzzling its snout to her hands. It won't matter that the cat or dog's owner calls to it, tries to bribe it with treats or promises of belly scratches. Green Girl is an animal magnet, mainly because she doesn't particularly care for animals.
Which brings her to this week's Public Service Announcement: Petiquette.
Recently Mr. G had a buddy for a sleep over. When the friend showed up, Mr. T was in the process of bringing Jax out for a walk, so the buddy and Jax met nose to nose in Green Girl's laundry room. Green Girl observed Mr. G's buddy stiffen and back up against the door. "You don't like dogs, do you?" Green Girl asked the buddy in a gentle voice. The buddy shook his head. "Mr. T's bringing him out for a walk right now. The rest of the time he'll be in the basement and you won't see him." The buddy nodded slowly and watched, wide eyed, while Mr. T corralled Jax outside. True to her word, Green Girl encouraged Mr. G to play with his buddy upstairs, Jax would be fine. The buddy never saw Jax again while he stayed over.
Sometimes a person doesn't like animals by default--like Green Girl, they're allergic. Sometimes they're terrified because hey, that's an animal and he's bigger than me and has really big teeth. Maybe a person had a bad experience with an animal--got bit as a child, for example. Whatever the reason, it's good manners to respect space between animals and humans. Green Girl advises keeping animals and humans apart unless the humans request contact.
Green Girl has a dear friend whose daughter was skittish around even the most benign-looking furry creatures, hamsters and docile house cats made the daughter tremble with fear. Whenever K visited Green Girl's house, Green Girl made certain Violet was either outside patrolling the perimeter of their property or in the basement--far from where K would play. Green Girl wants to be a good hostess when visitors come calling, so the animals stay out of sight. Conversely, when her grandma came visiting over Christmas, she asked to see Jax. Green Girl acquiesced and brought Jax up from the basement and watched grandma love that dog with ear scratching and petting. Whatever makes a person comfortable while visiting should be the order of the day.
Which brings Green Girl to a few weeks ago when her family went calling at someone else's house. The family they visited had a deranged dachshund. This dog ran and jumped and jumped and jumped and jumped. At one point, Green Girl felt the dog passionately humping her right leg. Smiling politely, she tried to keep the dog at bay without touching it, but the dog would not be deterred. The hostess laughed, "wow, he really likes you. I've never seen him act like that before." The dog kept jumping up and attacking Green Girl (fortunately he only had access to Green Girl from the lower thigh on down). Mr. G tried to play with the dog and the hostess cautioned Mr. G that the dog might be afraid of him. All the while, the dog kept running at Green Girl and climbing up her legs, giving no signal that he feared human contact.
The night wore on. The dog never wore out. The house was huge--with a finished basement boasting rooms galore. Proper petiquette decrees that the hostess or host remove the dog behind a closed door or into a kennel. Instead, this couple gave their dog free rein to attack Green Girl all night long.
Did Green Girl mention that the dog stank? He smelled horrible. Like a garbage dumpster on a muggy August day. The dog's owners remarked on his stench a few times, but it never occurred to them to remove the dog from the room where they sat. The waft of stinky dog hit Green Girl's nose with every pounce. Eventually Green Girl had to sit down during the visit, bringing her nose even closer to the dog and giving the dog enough clearance now to reach her lap. The dog backed up, churned his stubby legs at full speed and got enough torque to lift himself up to the couch where Green Girl sat.
Finally she stood and said it was, regretfully, time to leave. It was a nice enough visit, but marred by the family's poor petiquette.
Petiquette, people. It's good manners to keep your pets and your visitors apart unless the visitors ask to be together.
Spill it, reader. Have you experienced poor petiquette before?