Karen B. London
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Espresso Anyone?
How about a puppy?

Have you ever seen a sign in a store that says: “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy”? This sign is getting more common where I live and many places online actually sell them. Of course, the idea is that parents will end up with a nightmare on their hands if they don’t follow through on their responsibility to monitor their children while shopping.

A friend of mine is very offended by anyone joking about a puppy being given away to punish parents. I didn’t take it that way at all. I take it as a joke based on the fact that a child hyped up on a massive dose of caffeine would create a lot of work for a parent, as would a new puppy. Taking care of a puppy is a big responsibility and a huge time commitment. In my opinion, this sign acknowledges what a big deal it is to get a puppy and that it should not be taken lightly.
I always have to resist the urge to try to impersonate a child and then say to an employee of the store, “My parents are letting me wander around in here by myself. I’ll take that espresso now.”
Does this sign offend you or cause you to chuckle?



Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.


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