One Man's Alaska

So a lady and a dog walk into a tire shop ...

April 12, 2010

In Alaska, you get used to dogs being everywhere. They're in cars, walking down streets (usually with their owners), and from time to time you'll find a dog in a local pub, store, or coffee shop, like this dog in the coffee shop in Seward, Alaska.

So Alaskans are used to seeing dogs in many public places, and I think most people like it. All of these dogs are especially well-behaved, like the dog in the coffee shop linked to above, or another dog I met at the general store in Hyder, Alaska a few weeks ago.

A howling dog in a tire store

Last week, as I was sitting next to five other customers in the lobby of a local tire store, waiting to have new summer tires put on my car, a woman walked in with her dog. No big deal I thought, it's a big dog, some sort of mixed breed, but kind of cute. The people working in the tire store don't say anything to her, so it must be okay with them as well.

But then the dog starts howling. And barking. And more howling. And the woman is doing nothing to quiet the dog, she's just telling everyone how vocal the dog is, with the implication being that having a loud, howling dog in the lobby of a tire store is somehow alright.

Um, that's great lady, but besides being annoying after the first howl or two, there are three people trying to work behind the counter, and the one man is clearly on the telephone with a customer. Just as I'm wondering about him, he says loudly, "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" to the person on the other end of the phone.

I'm ignoring this women because I think she's incredibly rude, but I'm also curious to see how everyone else treats her. This is, after all, Alaska, where dogs are very common, and people themselves are also a little different, so I'm curious to see what happens; Do other people like this, or will someone say something to her? Interestingly, everyone else does the same thing I do, returning to whatever they were reading or doing, and ignoring the woman and her dog.

After taking care of her tire business, the woman sits in a chair, and her dog sits next to her, but everyone continues to ignore them. After a few minutes she tells her dog that she should go out and stay in the car, and she does take her away. Nobody in the store says anything, but everyone looks around and exchanges glances, and there's a collective sigh of relief in the air.

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