We walked in and sat in the front porch area (we were the only ones there) and put Bingo down under the table, when the waitress comes running out of the bar area.
"We don't allow dogs here," she said making fluttering motions at Bingo, who is doing some rooting around under the table.
I make a small, and I'm sure unnoticed (ha!) correction and say, "He's not a dog. He's a service animal. He's a guide dog in training." I yank him out a little bit so she can see the blue coat and his sweet face (I mean really, who can resist that face, even when it is rooting around under the chair for a crumb?). No softening in her hard eyes.
"Anyone can say they have a service dog. People try that all the time."
"Really? Do they have a card to verify that their dog is a service animal?" I whipped out Bingo's card with his ID number. This is when it starts to get nuts.
"Anyone can make that. If you have the internet, anyone can make that. I got shut down by the health department on New Year's Eve because some guy came in here with a dog wearing a coat like that and he had a card like yours and it was fake. The fine is $1,000. Are you going to pay the fine? Are you going to split the $1,000 with me if the health inspector comes in here and shuts me down?"
"Why of course I will," I say patting her arm. "He's a real service dog, so you won't get shut down. There won't be a fine. But if there is, we'll split it with you and we'll get SEGD to file a complaint."
Stupid me, (if you don't know, I am the most gullible person EVER, just ask about the one-legged duck story) I'm really upset about someone impersonating a guide dog and a puppy raiser. Wow, I'm thinking, I need to get on the phone to SEGD and explain about how people are impersonating us. Who knew? This is OUTRAGEOUS!Fred meanwhile has completely checked out and is checking his iPhone for the weather report.
Finally, she condescends to let us stay and brings us drinks and then she disappears. She NEVER comes back, effectively denying us service but in a very cagey, passive aggressive way. Fred later told me that she was a big fat liar. That there was no way she could have know that someone's card was fake and she made all of that up, but he thought it was sweet I was so nice to her.
So I'm torn. I want to have a big meeting with all the SEGD puppies at Walts Fish Shak just to see her in apoplexy. But I also have taken deep pleasure in posting negative reviews in Urban Spoon and Yelp. Help me out. Don't go there and tell your friends not to go there and post it on your blogs not to go there and tweet about not going there! Waltz Fish Shak: Unfriendly to Guide Dogs in Training.
3/16/2010 update: I've deleted the Yelp and Urbanspoon negative reviews so that if there is a way for Waltz to come to a better understanding about guidedogs, I don't want my reviews to stand in the way.