My Stroller Story: The Big Dog In the Store

I feel like I’ve always been cognizant of my surroundings wherever I am. But now that I have the twins and a stroller to also navigate through life, I find I am even more sensitive to what’s going on ahead of me. Sadly, others are not.

The other day, the girls and I decided to make a quick trip to the mall. I had to pick up some items for work, including a gift card for a client. I always hesitate to go into Sephora with my stroller, but I it was the middle of the week, in the middle of the afternoon. So why not?

As we entered the store, I looked ahead and saw that it wasn’t too crowded and I would be able to get in with ease. Our stroller is a new design, the City Select by Baby Jogger. It’s a single wide stroller, but has two seats that can be interchanged in a variety of settings and levels. We love it.

Since I’ve become a mom, I find myself saying the strangest things I thought would never come out of my mouth. You know, like

“Don’t touch that, it’s poopy.”


“Don’t step on your sister’s neck.”

As we wheel down one of the side aisles to approach the cash wrap, which is now even farther back in the store for some crazy reason, I see a dog’s tail in the way. I glance to the right and there’s a rather large bull mastiff/pit bull dog in Sephora. That’s right. Beautiful, steel gray in color. About 6 inches from my stroller with the girls inside. To be honest, it scared me. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. We have two at home. AT HOME. Not in a store that sells items that need to be clean before you put it on your face or skin.

I was frozen in my tracks, because, well the non-service dog’s tail was in our path. So I said to it’s owner…

“Will you please move your dog so I don’t run over its tail?”

Did I just say that? In a store that shouldn’t have animals inside?

The dog’s owner said, “Sure,” and dragged the pit bull-looking dog by it’s leash across the floor out of the way and continued to browse a particular cosmetic line with a Sephora sales associate. The associate apparently didn’t mind that such a rather large dog was in her store. It wasn’t an assistance dog either. And the owner didn’t mind that the dog seemed to be pretty scared to be in the store at that moment in time. When she pulled the dog, it latched on to the floor like it was at the vet and didn’t want to go any farther than the waiting room.

It seemed so surreal, and it probably won’t be the last time it’ll happen. What do you think? Should she have been able to bring such a large (non-service) dog in a store such as Sephora?

4 thoughts on “My Stroller Story: The Big Dog In the Store

  1. I’m gonna have be a real grump and say that non service dogs don’t belong inside stores, period. The dog was obviously not happy to be there, and a dog and handler without proper training in public etiquette is a disaster waiting to happen.

    I see so many happy little purse dogs in places they don’t belong. People bring house dogs into too many innaproppriate places, I think. The dogs, not the humans, are fully prepared to deal with the public. I think it just makes it harder for actual Service Dogs, because shop owners and shoppers like yourself, get kind of cranky about dogs in general being around, which isn’t fair to people who are dependent on Service Dogs.

    Thanks for making the distinction, by the way.

  2. I’m in San Francisco, and work in a restaurant. The other day an older hippy came in with this tiny, little rat-like dog and told us it was a “service animal”. Serving what, I can’t possibly imagine. But apparently, in this city, ANYTHING can qualify as a service animal. Doesn’t matter how disgusting it might be. And I’m a “Dogs are people too” person, but I gotta draw the line when it comes to restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, etc. Totally gross and not appreciated by those of us who don’t want dog slober on our lunches.
    As for Sephora, I don’t want dog slober on my $30 eye-shadow either.

  3. Thank you for your comments. If it was a service dog, I would assume that the owner would be more mindful, the dog would be more confident and would get up to get out of the way. I would also guess that the dog would wear a vest to signify that it was “working,” regardless of breed-type.

  4. And there’s the rub. Technically, Assistance Dogs don’t have to wear a vest. It’s nice if they do have some sort of identifying “clothes” on, but they don’t have to.

    Handler just has to say they are an Assistance Dog. Leaves a LOT open to interpretation. There is a tremendous amount of grey area with public access and Assistance Animals, which leaves the door open to abuse the laws.

    Unfortunately, even trained Assistance Dog handlers can be very rude, letting their dogs block aisles and get in other people’s space. I’ve seen it too often. It does make life harder for attentive Assistance Dog users, we all have to do our best to be good ambassadors.

    It makes me really angry when pets are in places they don’t belong. Mostly because they don’t behave, and the last thing you need is a not trained pet peeing on stuff or being aggressive to a working dog.

    Those of us that use Assistance Dogs *should* be doing everything we can to make sure our dogs are not in anyone else’s way, are clean, well behaved, and polite. But, like everything else, it only takes one person to mess it up for everyone.

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