Last May 9 I wrote about a slightly sticky situation Trooper and I ran into at the North Country Cafe (a k a Lynn's Cafe) in Ontonagon, Mich, where Debby and I summer.
There was a small kerfuffle not over his suitability as a service dog to enter the restaurant, but involving where he should lie down. Beside me, I asked, so that I could keep an eye on him. Under the table, the waitstaff said, where I couldn't watch him. (The law doesn't say who decides—just that a service dog must be either under the table or beside the handler.)
I went along with the server, intending to try again at some future time, because Lynn's serves good small-town cafe cuisine.
Today I went back, this time putting Trooper beside me and halfway under the table where I could spot him if he decided to creep away after a fallen tidbit. (He still does that sometimes.)
No problem for me—or for the server (who, however, was a different one). I enjoyed my meal while easily keeping a weather eye on Trooper. Everybody seemed happy.
Except for a sharp-faced little old lady who peeled off from her group of little old ladies as they prepared to leave and swept up to my table like a hen after a beetle.
"I'm from Missouri," she said with a severe expression, but I missed the rest of her sentence.
"I'm deaf," I said, "but read lips. What was that again?"
"I'm visiting from St. Louis," she said, "and down there dogs are not allowed in restaurants." She enunciated very slowly and clearly (and probably loudly, although I couldn't really tell).
"He's a service dog," I said, as pleasantly as I could. "A service dog for the deaf."
"Oh!" she said, brightening. "That's fine, then!"
She turned to her party. "That's a service dog," she said. "It's all right if he's here."
Nods all around, and the ladies swept out of Lynn's in a chorus of smiles.
I had to chuckle.