If you’ve been to Europe you’ve seen people who bring their dogs with them when they go out to eat. And it’s not only when eating outdoors, I personally have seen people bring their dogs inside of a restaurant and I have absolutely no problem with this. You see… the same people who bring their dogs with them to a restaurant are the people who walk their dogs with no leash. These dogs are trained, well-behaved, and well loved by their owners.

Over 10 years ago my cousin from France was visiting. She, two of my daughters, my dog, and I took a trip to Gatlingburg, Tennessee in October when the color of the leaves was absolutely magnificent. We decided to go into town for lunch, found a place with outdoor seating and tried to get a table with my little dog in tow. ABSOLUTELY NOT! Eventually we had to settle for a table next to the fence surrounding the patio with Templeton on the outside of the fence. He was well behaved and sat quietly while people passing by would stop to pet him and remark on how he should be able to sit with his pack.

So here I am in Spain, eating outdoors at a wonderful cafe on the plaza, sharing my space with a pigeon. It’s not even a well behaved pigeon. It wanders around from table to table sometimes taking flight near diners.

So I ask you if you have to share your outdoor space (I’ll leave the indoor controversy for now) with someone’s well behaved chihuahua or beagle or an on-the-loose pigeon, which would you choose? Think about it…a well behaved dog gives you and your partner something to talk about other than how big the Amex bill is. Or in the case of my husband in me we don’t argue because I’m enchanted by the dog at the table next to us and wondering how our little dog is alone at home. Unruly children are captivated by a dog and don’t need to be pacified by a parent’s phone. That huge steak isn’t going to waste because Fido is going to share the meal. Plus the pigeon is basically a free agent. No one is in charge of it.

I’m going to suggest one more controversial thought. I was in a restaurant in Molinaseca when I saw a gray cat saunter into the restaurant, obviously unaccompanied. Two little girls at a table near me were captivated by this cat. No one screamed at the presence of this feline, no one’s head exploded, the cat didn’t even beg for food. It just walked around and left.

Full disclosure…I’m allergic to cats so I’ve never developed a real appreciation for the feline personality but I certainly respect others who do. If you want to bring you cat and it’s well behaved and willing to sit under your table for the duration of the meal…have at it.

My dog Pico (left) and his nephew Zinnie (short for Zinfandel)

I welcome (and encourage) your responses to this post.

Buen Camino

Published by michelleperram

I am me, a person with love for others, a passion to be creative, and a desire to be a cheerleader for others. I’m a wife, a mommy, and a grandma (you can call me by my grandma name “Lady M”). I’m on a search to grow and connect more fully with God. I didn’t grow up particularly church, married a man who had, and we raised our three daughters in the church. I found a place to belong in the church and somehow discerned a call to go to seminary. I received a Masters of Arts and Religious Communication (MARC). I went on to become ordained as a deacon in the United Methodist Church and served in media ministry and Christian education. As clergy I found that I didn’t have a place to belong in the church so I left the United Methodist Church in 2010. I still believe and I’m still on a quest to draw closer to God. And I’m going to walk the Camino de Santiago.


  1. Michelle – I am also allergic to cats. That’s the only thing I am allergic to. I pray that your walk is going well and that you are able to find peace and strength in your journey. Peace to you, my friend!

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