Sunday, July 22, 2007
Discrimination is Alive and Well
We took our little dog, who happens to be a very smart and house broken Miniature Schnauzer, with us on vacation this year. That was a first for us. And we were educated in the process. We found that discrimination is still alive and well in the south. We had to cover Lucy’s eyes several times so she wouldn’t see the “No pets allowed” signs.
I am old enough to remember the signs in the late 50’s and the early 60’s that hung on bathroom doors or above water coolers that very plainly said, “Whites Only.” I also remember during those years when we ate out (which was seldom) there were never minorities in the restaurants. To be honest, I was older before I realized just how ridiculous all that was. But the truth is I grew up in an area and in an era when discrimination was rampant. Somewhere along the timeline of my life, I began to think about what that kind of treatment had to do to the spirit of other human beings created in God’s image.
For some strange reason, I thought about all that several times this week as we dealt with what to do with Lucy. For instance, when we stopped at a Wendy’s or a Zaxby’s along the road we certainly knew that a dog is not allowed in the restaurant. I would carefully explain to her that she was not allowed in the restaurant as she cocked her head and listened. So we would have to leave Lucy in the car while we went in to eat with the other humans. And we could see the rejection in her eyes.
We were careful to choose a “pet friendly” villa at the resort at Hilton Head. The fact that the sofa in our unit smelled like urine helped us know it was definitely pet friendly. We also quickly learned that not all pets are as housebroken as ours. Some pets ruin it for the rest of them.
But I couldn’t help but notice the big sign on the gate to the swimming pool area. “NO PETS ALLOWED” was in very large letters. I wondered if some dog in vacations past pooped in the pool and ruined it for the rest of the doggies. And we were planning on taking Lucy to the beach until we saw a sign that said pets are not allowed on the beach until after 5PM. How do they think a dog will ever get their summer tan? No pools. No beach walks when the sun is out. It didn’t seem very pet friendly to me.
As I have mentioned, we left Saturday morning to go to another resort in Florida for a speaking engagement. I had asked for a pet friendly room because I knew we would be coming from Hilton Head and Lucy would be with us. I have had many speaking engagements but this was definitely the first time I ever took a dog with me.
When I checked in this very nice resort I was afraid to ask them if our room was pet friendly. I was afraid they would tell me that dogs were not allowed and I had no idea what we would do with her if they told us she was not welcomed. So we smuggled her in. Kathy put her in a little pink bag draped with towels and we walked right up to the room with our bellboy. Lucy never whimpered.
Later we smuggled her back down through the lobby so Lucy could finally visit the beach. We found ourselves in the elevator with a couple of well dressed folks and a hotel employee with Lucy hidden in the pink bag. I felt like I was in a 60’s “I Love Lucy” sitcom. I was just waiting for Lucy to bark or yelp in the elevator and to see the expressions on those folks’ faces. I told Kathy if she did that I would make the same noise so they would think it was me. I couldn’t afford to get thrown out of the hotel because I had a big speaking engagement. Again Lucy never made a sound.
As you can see in these photos, we did get Lucy on the beach. It took her a few minutes to appreciate it but Lucy did walk and play on the beach even if it was in an unfriendly environment. Kathy did not attend the dinner or my speaking engagement because she had to stay in the room with Lucy. I ordered room service Pizza for them.
I ate a fine steak in the ballroom.
I think you will agree that discrimination is still alive and well in the south.
We did make it home safely this afternoon and I could tell Lucy was very happy to be back where she belongs.
She is definitely queen here.