Why Aren't There More Dog Menus at Portland's Dog-Friendly Establishments?

by Marjorie Skinner

MY HUSBAND AND I are new parents—dog parents, that is. Much like the parents of human babies who increasingly surround us (seriously, back off), it's a job that requires a tiresome amount of baggage. Our rapidly multiplying friends are stuck toting diapers and breast pumps and wet wipes and toys. We're toting shit bags, water bowls, dehydrated pieces of lamb lung, and toys. For extended excursions, like a day spent hiking in the Gorge or romping by the sea, we've also got to include a Tupperware of dog kibble or—god forbid—a heavy can of wet food.

After our outings, we generally head to a bar or restaurant with a dog-friendly patio to refuel, where we humans have an array of menu options. Meanwhile, the dog usually eats next to our car's tire in the parking lot before we head in, because it's rude to eat in front of her when she's hungry, too. We could fill up a bowl of dog food tableside, I guess, but that just feels... wrong.

But you know what we would totally do? We would order food for our dog off a dog menu, if only you had such a thing. It doesn't even need to be a day-trip situation: In the interest of socialization and the preservation of our furniture, we take our dog with us wherever we can. Maybe our errands take longer than expected, or we spontaneously decide to meet a friend. When dinnertime rolls around and we find ourselves still out with the dog, we usually end up popping over to the closest store for a single-portion can of food rather than going home before we're ready.

Wouldn't you, oh dog-friendly bars and restaurants of the city, rather whip up something stupid-easy and cheap (start with any combination of brown rice, veggies cooked in leftover bacon fat, or I dunno, regular-ass dog food) for our pooch and charge us a markup for the convenience? Skip the pre-packaged dog food, and you could use the ingredients you already have on hand (pssst: even if you dropped them on the floor). Or, go the other way and only offer really fancy and/or raw dog food—you could probably charge even more for simply opening a can (a system that works just fine in the beer market). There's already some precedent for this—Tin Shed is on it!—but it's not as common as I suspect it could profitably be.

Judge us all you want, but I know we'd buy it, and it seems like a no-brainer business move in an above-average dog-friendly town. I mean, look at kids' menus. The vast majority of parents are perfectly capable of slapping together their own PB&J with a side of carrot sticks. But they'll pay you to do it instead, because sometimes they'd rather not deal. We, too, can operate our own can opener. It's exactly the same thing.

Hey, I'm just trying to help you make some more money here, guys. This seems totally obvious to me. Come on and take my damn money, already.


Why Serving a Specialized Dog Menu Is the Stupidest Idea in a City Full of REALLY Stupid Ideas

by Wm. Steven Humphrey

DOGS EAT CAT SHIT. This is an indisputable fact. Thusly, I could end this counterpoint about the stupidity of creating restaurant menus for dogs right now, confident that I have constructed an undefeatable argument—and yet? I've been paid to write 350 more words on the subject. And so I continue.

I have owned dogs almost my entire life. They are without a doubt, the greatest of humanity's pets. And yet? Dogs eat cat shit—which should automatically exclude them from entering any establishment where actual food is being cooked for actual humans. I understand the affection many of you have for your animals. You consider them your children. And since restaurants often provide menus for kids, why shouldn't they pay dogs the same respect?

Here's why. Behold, the average restaurant's kids' menu:

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Chicken Strips
Hot Dog
Macaroni 'n' Cheese

The kids' menu will almost never stray from these five items, because children's palates are developmentally subnormal, and these are the ONLY foods they clearly enjoy. Now let's consider the dog's palate. If a restaurant served what a dog really wanted, here's what that menu would look like:

Cat Shit
A Dog's Own Vomit
Wiggly Can of Dog Food (covered in a sticky, gelatinous sheen)
Freeze-Dried Bull's Penis (my dog loved these)
The Rotting Intestines of Any Dead Animal
An Open, Oozing Sore on the Dog's Back
A Pack of Cigarettes
Mold-Covered Garbage from a Knocked-Over Trash Can
A Used Tampon
Human Urine Directly Sourced from the Owner's Toilet
The Exterior of Its Genitalia
The Interior of Its Own Anus

I could go on and on, and if you're a dog owner, you know this is not an exaggeration. As you can see, human children may eat a limited variety of food, but it is still HUMAN FOOD—which naturally belongs in a restaurant. And yes, a restaurant may not ever put cat shit on a dog's menu—but the mouth that ate that cat shit will still be inside the restaurant where you are eating. And that is fucking disgusting.

And so, restaurants of Portland: Feel free to kowtow to the whims of our city's misguided personification of animals, by creating a specialized food menu for dogs. Whatever you serve, they'll certainly enjoy—right before vomiting it on the floor of your restaurant, and then licking it up. Your non-dog-owning customers will certainly look on in approval, while asking themselves, "Hmmm... I wonder which meal the dog enjoyed more?"

More Pet Issue Articles:
Magic Friends
Point/Counterpoint: The Mercury Argues about Dog Food
Love the One You're With
Which Pet Is Right for You?
Creepin' On Dogs
Portland's Pet of the Year 2015
Four Paws On The Street
Behold! The Winners of the Most Glamorous Pet Photo Contest