I was listening to the radio the other evening when the radio announcer mentioned a recent study out of the UK cautioned people from allowing their dogs to sleep on their beds or even within the bedroom because dogs carry some dangerous diseases, such as salmonella. The radio announcer spent the next while taking calls from listeners who expressed their opinion on the matter.
Now it's time to express mine.
For those of you who don't know, I have a dog. Her name is Abby. She's about 17 months now. She's a handful at time since she's still a bit young, but she's a lot of fun and has a great personality. Boy, it sounds like I'm trying to set her up on a date or something...
In any case, back to the matter at hand. Does she sleep on the bed? Sometimes, yes. She also sleeps on her own bed as well -- also in the bedroom. She does wander into the kitchen, but she's not fed in the kitchen -- she has her own eating area.
Am I worried? Am I going to stop allowing her into the bedroom or kitchen? Nope! Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass (or perhaps dog's ass in this case).
I can guarantee that my dog is dirty at times. She plays in the grass. She steps in mud. She plays with other dogs. I try to clean her up as best I can, but I'm sure I miss a spot here and there and, ahem, usually those are the spots Abby cleans herself.
At this point, I'm hearing a chorus of "Ewwwwwwwwww! Your dog licks herself and then you let her lick your hands or face?!" Yes I do. And by the way, think about all the places you put your soap while you're showering. And if you share that shower with someone else, multiply it by 2.
My dog is dirty. So are door knobs. So's the keyboard I'm using right now. So is the toilet seat, your kitchen sink, your laundry room drawers, restaurant tables and your steering wheel. Folks, the world is a dirty place and covered with germs. You can scrub, use those sprays, creams, lotions, masks, gloves, and so on, but I'd rather be exposed to the germs and become immune versus living in a sanitized glass bubble where the first exposure to a virus sends me to the hospital for a week because I have no immune system.
Obviously, there are people who have to be careful about this sort of thing. There are kids, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems that have to be on their guard and it makes sense that they're going to need to minimize exposure. But for the rest of us average folks, you know what? If having a dog scares you that much then don't get a dog!
There was one lady who called into the radio show explaining her son unfortunately contracted one of these diseases from a puppy she had a few years back and he spent a few days in the hospital. Now she has two new puppies, but they're not allowed to lick anything or anyone in the house! Isn't that like training a dog not to wag it's tail?? That's ridiculous! It begs the question: Given your son has a weakened immune system, why bother re-exposing him to the danger again?
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to clean up before my guests come over...
The article can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/21/ndogs121.xml