Stuff I’ve noticed since moving to Maine – DOGS!!

In just over a month, my family and I will be celebrating TWO WHOLE YEARS in MAINE!!  HOORAY!  To mark this momentous occasion, I’m starting a new semi-regular column here on The Daily Dish.  Dedicated to whatever seems different from where I used to live (Philly) or whatever I notice that just sticks out, STUFF I’VE NOTICED SINCE MOVING TO MAINE will be a way for all of you to visit, without me having to clean the house.  So without further ado, today let’s talk about.. DOGS!

My family & I went to my daughters school on Saturday for Winterfest!  Winterfest! is an annual celebration with games, food, raffles, contests, crafts, singing and more.  It draws a BIG crowd and when we entered the gym the first thing that caught my eye wasn’t the enormous moon bounce or the line for hamburgers.  No!  It was a woman walking towards me with a dog in her arms.  It wasn’t injured.  It wasn’t a helper dog.  As far as anyone was concerned, this lap pooch was just one more merrymaker at Winterfest!  WHY?  Because Mainers are CRAZY ABOUT DOGS!!!!

They are everywhere here and I mean EVERYWHERE.  We have one laying across our floor, outside there are two barking from the back, 4 barking from the side, there’re a couple peeing at the end of the driveway, another one’s approaching looking keen, and a huge one just drove by mostly hanging out the car window.  It’s doggone NUTS!

In Philly a lot of people had cats.  I think cats are cool, but Portland is a dog town.  Maybe it’s because Maine is so white?  Not to stereotype, but white people seem to like dogs more than minorities.  Personally I like minorities more, but I also love dogs.  Dogs just seem to gibe with Maine.  They’re laid back.  Chilllll.  Portland’s baseball team is even called the Sea Dogs!  Which I think is technically a seal?  Or something?  Seriously, I don’t even know what a Sea Dog is, but here’s Slugger the Sea DOG w/ my daughters. 

The Sea DOGS even have a Bring Your Dog to the Game DAY!  WHY??  Because Mainers take their dogs EVERYWHERE.  They don’t like leaving them at home.  Every single parking lot you pull into, every other car has a dog waiting for its owner to return.  Here in Portland there are dog parks and even the regular parks all have “off leash” laws: as long as your dog is under voice command, roping them is unnecessary.  And because beaches are also open to dogs it’s common to find them year round romping in the surf, chasing balls and taking dumps right there in the sand as nature intended.

Mainers are so generous with their dogs, they not only take them everywhere, they often let them drive.  Not alone, mind you.  I mean they let their dogs sit on THEIR laps in the driver seat.  No offense, Sir or Madam, but what the hell are you gonna do when Fido smashes your face into the steering wheel and you lose control of the vehicle?  Or when Happy becomes incontinent and lets fly in your lap?  Surely your first impulse will be to SCREAM AND CAREEN OFF THE ROAD.  I know mine would be.  YAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!  I’m not saying you have to harness Hoover, or invest in one of those gated cage areas in the trunk, but for all our sakes could you at least put the dog in the back seat?  It’s illegal in the state of Maine for children under 13 to ride up front.  Maybe elderly dogs can ride in the passenger seat, but otherwise – back seat buddy.  PS: In Philly I had to worry about people driving around with infants in their laps.  Here it’s dogs.  Is that better??

This is my dog Max.

Max passed away on Halloween.  But before he died, he told me how much he loved Maine.  Not just for all of the reasons outlined above, but b/c here in Maine, Max was ACCEPTED.  Back in Philly strangers would cross the street when I walked Max.  Here, no way.  Everyone would welcome him like an old friend.  (To be strictly honest, some of the little yippy dogs would stand there and bark & bark till they looked like they were going to drop dead, but they do that everywhere.)

Dogs are SO POPULAR here in Maine, I have noticed other things.

  • The prevalence of dog-themed bumper stickers.

  • Or simply dog FRIENDLY stores.

And I’m not talking pet stores either.  I mean “normal” ones, like Marshall’s.  Just before Christmas, I was shopping with my older daughter.  We turned a corner and there’s a woman perusing housewares w/ her dog.  Again, this wasn’t a helper or seeing eye dog, he was a fluffy lap dog, riding shotgun in her cart.  I notice this all the time and I can’t help but think how tolerant people are here.  In Philly, if some woman showed up at Marshall’s totting her dog, they’d escort her out of the store faster than you could spell N-O_EFFING_W-A-Y.  Personally I think they might do this to me too, if I showed up at Marshall’s with our new puppy, Roxy the Rottweiler


versus a 5 lb. Foofie

but.. still.  Maybe I will try it and see.  After all, Mainers LOVE their dogs.

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20 thoughts on “Stuff I’ve noticed since moving to Maine – DOGS!!

  1. So funny! here in Central NJ our local minor league team (Somerset Patriots) has bring your dog to the park day, but they call it “bark in the Park”. I call it “turd fest” thanks to the fact that my daughters stepped in doo-doo 3 x collectively. sigh.

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    1. I checked and the Sea Dogs dog day is also called Bark in the Park! It’s gotten so popular they’ve scheduled TWO Bark in the Parks this year, not just one. NOTE TO SELF: wear crappy shoes (no pun intended) XO

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  2. I ❤ Planet Dog… they sent a replacement ball when Bailey ate her "indestructible" bone from them.
    Overseas was totally dog friendly too… dogs and cats in the pubs…

    Wonder if the Philly vs. Maine thing is a smaller-town vs. big city difference.

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    1. I will have to check out Planet Dog. Haven’t been in yet but have heard only A+ things. A friend told me they have good training classes too.

      As for Philly v. Maine – it’s a definite possibility. I think it also has a lot to do with race and attitudes. I know it’s a stereotype but in general white people LOVE DOGS far more than other races. And Maine being 99.9999999999% white, pooch popularity makes sense.

      PS: I remember being in France in particular and seeing dogs EVERYWHERE. I loved it.

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  3. I think the people that are that crazy about their dogs, are the people that don’t have kids consuming their every minute. I have a mini-wiener dog and used to dress him up and bring him shopping with me…then my son came along. Then my daughter. Needless to say, the dog stays at home now. Poor puppy!

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    1. I agree – once the kids come most pets get treated like ugly stepchildren. We did the pet acquisition a little backwards though. We had our daughter FIRST – just to make sure we’d be fully ready when the dog came along a year later. 😉

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  4. All the dogs are also one of my favourite parts of living in NYC. Columbus got a Posh Pets Boutique after I left, but I get a real kick out of all the dog-pampering stores here and the way dogs are allowed to go almost everywhere. We used to have a dog biscuit bowl at the Barnes & Noble where I worked, you see them all over public transportation, and there are more of them living in Kamran’s neighborhood than actual people.

    Dog owners here are so full of themselves, too! I need to write a post about that.

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    1. There are posh pet places here too and more pet stores than you’d imagine. Also, the neatest thing: self serve pet washes. I’d never seen or heard of one before we moved here. (Then again, I am not the most “in the know” type gal. I hadn’t heard of the napkin matching the pants restaurant thing until you blogged about it. Thank you *pulling rock back over my head*)

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  5. I finally got a chance to read your post. You are too funny! I bet the number one occupation in Maine is being a Veterinarian. Talk about job security!
    Love the pictures of Max and Roxy! Glad you have Roxy now. Living without a dog in Maine is like living without flip flops in Florida.

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