Service Animals

A while back I told you about the lizard among the lettuces.

I was in the grocery store, and a lizard rested on his owner’s chest as she selected romaine. I think he was a bearded dragon, a child-friendly lizard if you’re looking for a pet.

A few months ago, I spotted a white Bichon Frise in the grocery store. The name means “curly haired dog” in French. She was perched in the shopping cart. I guess she was an emotional support animal for her human.

Before we move on from dog breeds, I should mention what other breed names mean.

Labrador retriever = we chew everything

Golden retriever = when all creation fell into sin, we were not affected. We can do no wrong.

French bulldog = what happens when a regular bulldog and a bat have a love child (see: our ears)

Chihuahua = we are actually bats. More specifically, bats with a high-pitched bark and a case of the shakes. Keep us away from espresso.

Back to the grocery store. I was at Publix when I saw the bearded dragon and the Curly Haired Dog. But Publix has had enough. A few months ago, they posted a sign which reads:

You are not allowed to bring pets into our store. This includes emotional support animals. Only service animals are permitted. Under federal law, service animals are dogs or miniature horses trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. Non-service animals are not allowed in grocery stores by the FDA. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort, companionship, or emotional support do not qualify as service animals.

Miniature horses?

Publix allows horses?

Yes and no.

Those Clydesdale horses that deliver your Budweiser beer to the store in a wagon – they are not allowed inside the store. What about Justify, the last stallion to win the Triple Crown? Nope. And ponies are not allowed because ponies are not miniature horses.

I need to tell you more about ponies because I learned this on The Internet. Ponies are smarter than horses. But ponies are sneaky. That’s what The Internet says. I don’t know if they play practical jokes or what. It’s easier to find a docile horse for a child to ride than a reliable pony. For their size, ponies are stronger than horses.

Now, about Triple-crown-winning stallions. They are not allowed in Publix because they are large and aggressive. They knock displays over, and people line up to get their autographs. The line of humans blocks the Kraft Mac-n-Cheese shelf. There’s a lot of clean-up after a stallion visits. Did you know stallions are uncastrated adult horses? This means they still have their mountain oysters. I don’t know if I can say the word testicles here, but that’s what mountain oysters are, except they’re actually harvested from bulls, not horses. Does Publix carry canned mountain oysters? I guess someone was starving and stranded in a blizzard when they decided to eat bull testicles to survive.

A castrated stallion is called a gelding. (I don’t know what they do with horse …parts. If I pursue this much further, I won’t have any male readers left. Several are already growing pale.) A filly is a female horse under age three. A mare is age three or older. Mares can legally eat fermented mash and drink beer. If you’re a bartender, ask a mare for her ID. It’s like carding a 35-year-old human female. She will love you forever. Sorry, I don’t want to encourage the worship of young horses. I just want to keep mares on my good side because they’re much bigger than I am. In a fight, a mare would kick my  . . . donkey.

Back to miniature horses. They are about 35 inches tall. That’s from the ground to the withers. All of you are nodding like you know where withers are. Ninety-five per cent of you don’t know. I didn’t either, so I googled it for us. The withers are where neck and back meet. Compare that to a stallion whose median height is 64 inches.

The website tells me a miniature horse can lead a human to an exit, provide stability in a dizzy episode, retrieve medication, and guide the blind. In some ways, they are better than dogs. Miniature horses can work for twenty years. They don’t shed, they don’t trigger allergies, and fleas don’t care for them. They are calmer than dogs and not as social. This means they can stand quietly and just think about . . . I don’t know . . . interest rates?  . . .  for a longer time than dogs. You can suggest things for your miniature horse to think about. But don’t mention American politics because that makes them ill. Me too.

The whole point of this is to inform you that you may not bring your pet into a grocery store. No iguanas, no cats, no non-service dogs, no guinea pigs. Now, pet stores allow pets if they are on leashes. I have not tried this with my cat, Rory, because if I try to put a harness and leash on him, I will lose fingers.

When my husband and I discuss the upcoming presidential election, it doesn’t make Rory ill. He just rolls his eyes. He’s exasperated with anything that involves humans. He suggested castration for certain male politicians. I told him that was vindictive, and Jesus would be displeased. Rory said he’d take it up with Jesus privately.

I’m Rory’s service animal. He just suggested I check Publix for mountain oysters. He’d like to try some, so I’m off to the store. If you text me right away, I’ll pick up a can for you too. 

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