And They Weren’t Even Drunk…
When we took a recent trip with the dogs to Texas to attend a seminar, we stayed in an Austin area hotel for five days. While we were there, I was shocked to see that the rudest, dirtiest, most obnoxious guests there were adult men and women travelling with their children. Some of the children seemed embarrassed by their parents behavior – I don’t blame them. During our visit, several high school baseball teams were also staying at the hotel. The players were, without exception, quiet and considerate neighbors.
I was surprised by this. I grew up in a small, rural, Midwestern town in the 1960’s. Manners were drilled into me. Though I’ve moved around a lot, I’ve spent most of my life living in the upper Midwest where common courtesy is an integral part of culture. I expect adult people to behave well.
So much for expectations.
I received a post on an on-line dog email list the other day that described nightmarish problems at a hotel that hosted a large agility trial. The names of the club, the hotel and other identifying information have been removed to protect the club as it pursues the offenders. Since they are seeking to deal with this on their own, I’ll not tarnish their name publicly.
I wish I did have the names, postal addresses, home phone numbers and email addresses of the morons who did this offending parties. I’d be more than happy to post those for public ridicule.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
After a fantastic 4 day trial that the club felt was an absolute success, we received notification late last week that, due to the actions of some of our competitors over the trial weekend, the *hotel* in *city*
will no longer accept dogs during our club’s agility trials. The incomprehensible actions of some of the competitors staying there, as cited by the hotel, include:
1. Dogs swimming in the pool even after the owners were asked to remove all dogs from the pool. This resulted in the hotel having to close to pool for re-treatment and cleaning at considerable cost.
2. Dogs being allowed in the breakfast area even after owners were asked to please remove all dogs.
3. The carpeting in several rooms being ruined and having to be professionally cleaned after finding puddles of dog urine and feces after our competitors left, again at considerable cost.
There were other complaints cited by the hotel as well, but the club realizes it cannot answer for individual guest rudeness to hotel employees.
As a trial secretary, this repulses me. But, more over, as a competitor and frequent traveler myself, this angers me. With hotel prices continually on the rise and $100 non-refundable dog deposits becoming more and more frequent, I find it quite objectionable that anyone in conjunction with an agility event should behave in this manner. This is an extremely poor reflection on a sport that we all love and sets every single competitor and trial-giving club in a bad light. It’s embarrassing and those who committed these acts are the types of competitor that this sport does not need.
This situation is beyond embarrassing. It is criminal. Literally. Also from the letter:
Other clubs in the past have let these infractions drop. *Club* is not willing to do so. The club will work closely with the AKC, the *hotel* their team of legal experts and, if necessary, local authorities to insure those responsible for the infractions are punished to the full extent available to us. We will take any measures necessary to identify the individuals responsible. You should all be aware that the hotel industry holds the person who signed for the room responsible for any damage to the room. We will soon be receiving information from the *hotel* detailing which rooms had to be professionally cleaned and the names of the individuals under whose name the room was booked. It should also be noted that very well placed video cameras may give some indication and identification of those persons involved in the swimming pool and breakfast area incidents.
I urge anyone who stayed at the *hotel* who has knowledge of or who was involved in any of the above incidents to contact me immediately. Full disclosure on the part of those involved, or who think they may have been involved, will bear considerable weight when deciding how to best handle those found to be in violation. All of those who were not involved and who come forward with any helpful information will remain anonymous. Should it be found that you were involved and did not step forward, I can assure you that the club will impose the maximum penalty allowed by both AKC and local authorities. Enough is enough. Just as we must play by the rules on the course, we must also adhere to the rules elsewhere during events.
Enough is indeed enough. Not only do we have to deal with AR activists working tirelessly with media hacks and politicians to take away our rights as dog owners – irresponsible dog owners – out of greed, laziness, selfishness and lame ignorance feed the frenzy by flaunting their disrespect for society in a very public way.
It sounds like the commotion at the trial hotel was a lot like what you’d expect to see if a group of drunken frat boys or rugby players had stayed there – but these weren’t drunken kids, they were a group consisting mostly of sober, adult women with jobs and families.
I had recently begun to wonder if the emphasis of fun and frenzy over anything else in some agility circles would lead to problems in the sport. This situation certainly points to a need for competitors to learn more than a few things about responsibility, ethics and plain old-fashioned manners. If this kind of behavior becomes the norm – all breeds of dogs could eventually end up being banned.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that an out-of-control, barking, reactive dog who races around in a mindless frenzy is not a dog who is having a good time. I mean seriously, would you watch an over-tired toddler amped up on Mountain Dew and Cakesters run amok through the mall and remark how sweet and happy he looks? I think not. Yet people often look at a dog behaving in a similar way and gush about what fun he’s having.
A barking, leaping dog dog amped up on adrenaline is a lot like a poorly-behaved toddler throwing a tantrum. He doesn’t enjoy the behavior any more than the people around him do – he just hasn’t developed the self-control to deal with the situation he’s in yet – and he needs help from his human companion to learn it. Think about it, do you see Olympic athletes amp themselves up into a frenzy before they compete?
Agility is fun. It should be fun. But fun should never trump responsibility. I hope that the disrespectful people involved in this situation are caught and prosecuted and/or sued and that it serves as a warning to those who consider behaving this way in the future.