Pet owners should not just assume that since they have been invited to an outdoor family reunion that it is okay to let the family dog accompany them. There are many factors that will determine if it is okay or not, so pet owners should check into several things before they just show up and let Fido hop out of the car.
If the reunion is being held at a city or state owned park the pet owner should find out if dogs are allowed in the picnic areas. Even if the owner has taken the dog there frequently and knows it is allowed, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is okay for a family gathering.
Talking to the person who is organizing the event is the best thing to do, especially if it is being held in their backyard. They may not want dogs on their property for a variety of reasons. Politely ask if the dog can accompany you, and if they say no, graciously accept that without argument. Don’t refuse to attend the reunion just because your dog can’t go. Just because you are an animal lover, doesn’t mean everyone is.
If the reunion is being held in a park area that allows dogs, the next step is to find out as much as you can about distant relatives that may be attending. Is anyone else planning to bring a dog? Being the only one to bring their dog is much like being the only person to bring a child to a gathering. The child will quickly become bored and fidgety. The dog will also be bored as you catch up with relatives and pay very little attention to his needs.
Is the dog sociable around people he doesn’t know? Remember that there may be relatives showing up that you haven’t seen in a long time, if ever. Will the crowd of strangers make your dog nervous? Is the dog well behaved? Unruly children that annoy everyone will ruin a social gathering and so will an unruly dog that wants to jump on everyone.
Also consider that some people may be allergic to dogs or afraid of them. It’s quite possible that your second cousin’s daughter’s son might be afraid of dogs due to a past traumatic experience. He, nor his mother or grandmother will enjoy the reunion if the child is uncomfortable because your dog is there.
If most of the family members plan to bring their dogs, or if the person hosting the event has dogs and tells you it is okay to bring yours, then by all means, take your dog with you. Make sure your dog will be welcome before just showing up.
If he is not welcome, leave him at home and shorten your stay if necessary, but do attend the reunion. You may never get the chance to see some of these people again, and your dog will be waiting for you when you get home.