Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Gay Dog

About a year ago, 57 year-old Ian Jolly was attempting to have a quiet dinner with a female companion in the bustling Australian metropolis of Adelaide. As Australia’s fifth largest city, it boasts a large variety of dinning choices due in no small part to the influx of both European and Asian immigrants after World War II and The Vietnam War respectively. It was from amongst this culinary smorgasbord that Ian selected the Thai Spice restaurant, a moderately priced bistro that offers specials like BBQ Coconut Chicken for around $10.
Ian is somewhat unique in the fact that he requires the use of a service animal named Nudge to navigate the busy streets as he is unable to rely on his own eyesight. As he and his companion walked into the restaurant, an employee confronted the pair about bringing a dog into the dining area. Undoubtedly accustomed to such inquiries, the unnamed female companion explained that the canine was Mr. Jolly’s “guide dog” and was allowed to accompany him because of his disability.
It was at this point things took a turn for the worst. The employee misheard “guide dog” and thought that the couple was explaining they had a “gay dog” and immediately refused to serve them on the basis of the animal’s sexual orientation. Understandably embarrassed by the scene, they left the restaurant and aired their grievances in the public forum. In a statement to South Australia's Equal Opportunity Tribunal, the restaurant’s owners defended their decision saying, “The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog.”
Now a year after the fact, Thai Spice has been ordered to issue Ian Jolly a written apology and $1,400 in damages for the incident. In published response to the entire affair, Mr. Jolly lamented, “I just want to be like everybody else and be able to go out for dinner, to be left alone and just enjoy a meal.” There have been no further developments on the sexual preferences of Nudge.
In order to be impartial, let us assume that Thai Spice operates at the auditory level of an Abercrombie & Fitch thereby making normal human interaction nearly impossible. Perhaps the restaurant employee genuinely believed that the conversation unfolded in the following manner:
Hostess: “I am sorry, but we do not allow pets inside Thai Spice”
Woman: “It’s okay. Nudge is my friend’s gay dog”
Hostess: “I don’t care who he belongs to, we are not having a gay dog sashaying around while people are trying to finish their Chili Squid Appetizers.”
Woman: “You don’t understand….”
Hostess: whispering in earpiece “Security, we have a code lilac. This is not a drill!”

Even taking the lack of communication into account, most normal people would clarify what they thought they heard before unceremoniously ejected a senior citizen on the basis of their dog’s sexuality. Perhaps it might be prudent to simply ask, “Could you repeat that ma’am?” After all, it is somewhat unusual for someone to explain their animal’s unexpected presence by blurting out that their pet is attracted to other pets of the same gender.

So assuming that the employee was unable to ascertain that the man being led around by a harnessed canine was blind, and assuming that he or she genuinely thought that said canine was gay, why would that be the direct result of spaying or neutering? Would you really want someone who believes that an animal can become “surgically gay” preparing your sweet and sour pork?

My dog was spayed several years ago, but at the time my wife and I did not realize that we were making a lifestyle choice for her as well as a medical decision……

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