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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to take my rat places so he'll get used to people, but so far the places I've taken him, they've said no. I went to the library and to my work (when I wasn't working, but was in the break room using the public computers). The only place that was cool with him was Petsmart. Where I had gotten him from. Is there any places that I could take him to that'll get him socialized? He is a really calm rat normally, and has never attempted to jump off my shoulder. He actually just loves my shoulder. I will take him outside on a walk normally at night to the mailbox and back.
 

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Lowes, Home Depot, fairs, outdoor events, the park (let kids pet him)....
 

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Pet stores and parks is it. You could ask places that do not sell food but I am betting most will say no.... never take him inside of a grocery store or restaurant. I would also never take him in a place without asking first out of respect.

I think the best place would just be a park where people could pet if him curious. I am so nervous about stuff like that though. Id be worried to let some kid hold him and they drop him and someone's dog eats him up in a bite. I worry alot though.

Lowes & Home Depot BTW have a no pet policy from corporate, despite rumors going around. Stores that do allow u r breaking their corporate policy. I would not suggest taking pets there as it could get the store into trouble and that is not nice.
 

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Really? Lowes has a no pet policy? I always take my ratties and my dogs there...
 

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Hmm, from a little bit of research I've done it seems that Lowes and HomeDepot can potentially allow pets in their store locations but it depends on the policies set forth by that specific store location's manager. So I second the notion that you should call any establishment ahead of time and ask for their specific location's policy on allowing you to enter with your pet. Also, some restaurants will allow it, mostly the ones that have outdoor seating.
 

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Really? Lowes has a no pet policy? I always take my ratties and my dogs there...
Yes. In the service dog community people get very upset about pets in stores :) And they kept seeing that those stores allowed pets in articles. So several people reached out to corporate and they stated clearly that no pets are allowed in any of their stores expect service dogs. And that we should report stores that were letting them in even.

Some stores even have changed their signs to state this :)

I think there was a time many years ago that they did allow dogs but after accidents & dog attacks they changed their policy. Sadly while some ppl do have great well trained and behaved dogs, most do not and they do not seem to care/realize and still think it is ok to bring them out in public.

You are free to email them and ask what their corporate policy is though yourself. I know in alot of my service dog groups people were passing around the screenshot of their response but I don't think I saved it myself.
 

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I recently switched bank branches because the new manager at my old branch doesn't want rats in her branch. My new branch is completely rat friendly as was my former branch manager.

Fuzzy Rat was oddly charismatic and we could taker her more places than Max or Cloud. Even some fast food places welcomed her. Almost no business has a fancy rat policy, pretty much we walk in and act natural and see how it goes. We walked into a chain pharmacy one day and I could tell the cashier ran off to get the manager, by the time the manager came out, Fuzzy Rat had already attracted a sizable crowd that was coming in from the parking lot. The manager kept her distance as the people started impulse shopping and her empty store filled up with customers. She checked us out personally and invited us back, it was the only lunch time rush she had ever had in her store and an employee told me that customers and their kids actually asked when the nice rat would be back and came in in hopes of seeing her again. Fuzzy Rat attracted customers and stores, especially those that cater to kids were happy to see her.

Once we were asked to leave a fast food franchise, so we went outside to eat our lunch... all of the kids followed us out and so did their parents. We hung out doing a meet and greet in the parking lot and one by one the customers diverted to see what was going on and meet the rat. My daughter told the other kids that the mean manager wouldn't allow us in and literally no one went into the business while we were there. Most diverted to the pizzeria across the lot or just hung out with us. We pretty much closed the place for lunch, I'd say the managers no rat policy only cost the place several hundred to a couple of thousand dollars for their Saturday lunch rush. The next time we went, I asked my daughter to stay outside with the rat... it only took a few seconds for the manager to send the assistant manager outside to invite my daughter in. The manager locked herself into her office. She may not have liked rats, but she wasn't going to lose a dinner rush to a rodent in the parking lot...

I actually had a conversation with the local health inspector and we agreed to pretty much stay out of each other's way. You see fancy rats aren't specifically addressed in the health codes and it would have turned into a nightmare for him to prosecute a violation (as a pest) and for us to defend one (as a pet). By making sure we never turned up at the same food place at the same time, we avoided the issues that might have come up.

Many health codes do specify that pests, and rats and roaches are actually listed as pests by name, be kept out of food establishments. So you want to be careful about not winding up as a test case for an overzealous health inspector. But otherwise every business can decide for themselves if they permit rats, we go in and see how it goes. Sometimes we get openly welcomed, sometimes we get ignored and sometimes we get politely asked to leave. Over the years we've made up a list of lots of rat friendly businesses and there are businesses I no longer shop at (my choice). I told one store manager after he decided to implement a no rat policy that it had been a pleasure doing business with his store for the last decade and that I would miss shopping there as I left... So, it's $1000.00 a year to his competition, who by the way LOVE rats and the $1000.00 in new business.


I follow these rules, I keep about 12 feet away from other customers to avoid freaking out any rat phobics, it's OK if they approach us after they see the rat. We never let our rat run around the ground, unless the store specifically permits it. We never let food handlers touch our rat and we never put her on a counter. And if asked to leave, we never argue. It's their store and their policies. I never post the names of any rat friendly businesses, to keep local staff from getting into trouble with corporate offices. And given the choice, we patronize rat friendly businesses.

And keep in mind, if your rat isn't very well behaved don't go into stores. Having to call an exterminator to catch your rat will forever cause rats to be banned there and likely lead to corporate policies we don't need.

One last footnote: my state doesn't recognize fancy rats as pets they are considered wild life when outdoors. So outdoors they can go pretty much anywhere any other wild life can go.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Actually, my rat is pretty well behaved, but I presume that's because he's really chilled for some reason. When I first got him, he was really skittish especially to hold. I've already got him potty trained, but I think he ended up teaching himself. I usually have a jacket on my neck for my rat to hide him in since he prefers darkness, which I guess is part of a rats' habit. Only the tail is showing most of the time, but when he wants to move, he'll climb out and just move around and that's when people normally see him.
 

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Veronica,

The nightmare scenario is when a rat phobic suddenly spots a rat right next to them... they throw their packages and start running around screaming.... I've actually experienced this and it gets ugly fast.

We actually make sure people see our rats from a distance so they don't get surprised. I've seen several people turn on a dime and avoid us from about 12 feet away. Which is fine.

One fellow once took one of our rats and put her on his girlfriend... she literally froze in place and stopped breathing... she turned blue and nearly passed out in terror. And we had a car full of teenagers pull up to say hi to Fuzzy Rat, which was normal, but a young lady trapped in the back seat rolled into a little ball and started screaming and sobbing uncontrollably... the other teens in the car thought it was funny.

I watched one woman throw her iPhone 20 feet into the air and run off so fast her shoes flew off after her husband and son maneuvered her over to our rat and then said "look honey a rat!" I hope he had to pay for a new phone...

Rat phobics can literally have a hart attack when surprised by a rat.... when you are carrying a rat undercover, be very careful that it doesn't just pop out and terrorize someone.

Rat phobics are very rare, but they are out there. Be very careful because you don't know who they are until it's too late. Keep a distance of about 12 feet from people until you know they aren't phobic and you should be fine.
 

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Almost no business has a fancy rat policy
Eh but almost every business has a no pet policy which rats would fall under still :)

Pets are not allowed in any place of business where food is served. And going into one is just plain disrespectful and rude to the business and their customers IMO.... The stores that would allow it are breaking health codes (which say no pets period) and could get themselves into huge amounts of trouble. I don't think my morals would let me be a part of that. I also do not think as a forum we should be encouraging others to do such things.

Plus I think if u r trying to make the general public see pet rats in a positive light and change minds, being a rude person and breaking the rules gives them a really bad impression of rat owners :(
 

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Pets are not allowed in any place of business where food is served. And going into one is just plain disrespectful and rude to the business and their customers IMO.... The stores that would allow it are breaking health codes (which say no pets period) and could get themselves into huge amounts of trouble. I don't think my morals would let me be a part of that. I also do not think as a forum we should be encouraging others to do such things.

Plus I think if u r trying to make the general public see pet rats in a positive light and change minds, being a rude person and breaking the rules gives them a really bad impression of rat owners :(
Hmm, there are a LOT of pet friendly restaurants/hotels(that have kitchens and serve food) so I don't think as a general statement saying pets are not allowed in any place of business where food is served is true. Also, as a forum aren't we supposed to provide information to people seeking it? Including places that you are allowed or even potentially allowed to bring your pet rats? I completely understand your own personal view and opinion on this matter and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but not everyone will agree and that's okay too. As long as someone isn't forcing anyone else to do anything or break any rules and nobody is encouraging anyone else to do so, I don't really see the problem.
 

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I was actually rather amazed to find out that in my state rats aren't considered pets. Rats are either classified as wildlife or as pests. If rats are in food establishments they are considered pests and otherwise they are considered wildlife. Pets technically have some rights rats don't have and the educational and research industry in our state benefits from rats not having "pet" status.

Most places have "no dog" signs, but rats aren't dogs and lots of places that don't allow dogs do allow our rats... Some places have "no pet" signs again rats aren't technically pets... after the mob scene with the teenagers at the library our public library put up a "no animals" sign, I guess that covers rats.

It's not a matter of being rude... we're never rude and the business that don't prefer rats aren't usually rude either. If they don't want us there, we leave and shop or dine elsewhere.

I might add that leaving a rat in a hot car in summer or a freezing car in winter is a terrible thing to do, there's no reason why a true shoulder rat shouldn't be allowed anywhere it's handler can go. A well trained true shoulder rat is actually more highly trained and better behaved than the average dog. I think it's unfair to highly trained true shoulder rats and their owners to be lumped together with poorly behaved dogs and their careless masters.

There's a reason there are no shoulder rat leash laws, or rat pooper scooper laws... it's because rats don't bite people and don't make a mess. You might also argue that there are so few true shoulder rats in the world that they aren't worth writing laws about, but that also goes to the point that they don't cause anyone any trouble. For the most part there aren't any actual laws written with shoulder rats in mind. And personally I like it that way and I suspect that most of the businesses I deal with enjoy seeing our rats, so I think they would agree with me.
 

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Hmm, there are a LOT of pet friendly restaurants/hotels(that have kitchens and serve food) so I don't think as a general statement saying pets are not allowed in any place of business where food is served is true. Also, as a forum aren't we supposed to provide information to people seeking it? Including places that you are allowed or even potentially allowed to bring your pet rats? I completely understand your own personal view and opinion on this matter and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but not everyone will agree and that's okay too. As long as someone isn't forcing anyone else to do anything or break any rules and nobody is encouraging anyone else to do so, I don't really see the problem.
There are no pet friendly restaurants in the US. They may allow them in some places in patios but that is not the same thing. Hotels are probably have different health codes but I'm sure that pets wouldn't be allowed in restaurants inside the hotel.

I'm not giving my opinion but fact.

I think it is fine to share where we can bring our pets, in fact I did share my opinion in the thread even. Pet stores, pet friendly places, parks, all great ideas.

. I am just saying we should not encourage people to bring their rats where they are not allowed.
 

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Rat daddy I don't even know if u r being serious or not.... Because u sound absurd.

Rats r pets obviously. They do count as pets in every sense of the word. Same as other types of animals that r used in labs (including dogs BTW) .

A sign may say only dogs but they obviously mean all animals. I can not possibly believe any adult couldn't understand that. They may put dog because most other pets r not brought out.

Of course u shouldn't leave a pet in the car, being a responsible owner u should leave ur pet at home when running to nonpet friendly stores.

I think u r being quite childish and trying to really reach to find a way to make it OK..... Which really makes it worse and even more disrespectful IMO. Having a neat well trained pet doesn't make one above the rules.

It is ur life, ur pets u can do whatever makes u happy even if it is inconsiderate. But I just do not think u should be encouraging others to do the same.
 

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Rat daddy I don't even know if u r being serious or not.... Because u sound absurd.

Rats r pets obviously. They do count as pets in every sense of the word. Same as other types of animals that r used in labs (including dogs BTW) .

A sign may say only dogs but they obviously mean all animals. I can not possibly believe any adult couldn't understand that. They may put dog because most other pets r not brought out.

Of course u shouldn't leave a pet in the car, being a responsible owner u should leave ur pet at home when running to nonpet friendly stores.

I think u r being quite childish and trying to really reach to find a way to make it OK..... Which really makes it worse and even more disrespectful IMO. Having a neat well trained pet doesn't make one above the rules.

It is ur life, ur pets u can do whatever makes u happy even if it is inconsiderate. But I just do not think u should be encouraging others to do the same.
Okay, this is becoming kind of silly now. You say how as a forum we shouldn't be encouraging people to do things that are rude, but calling someone absurd and inconsiderate for telling you about the laws and what they do in their own state is in my opinion rude, not to mention taking your opinions one step too far. Also you are completely wrong in saying that there are no pet friendly restaurants in the US, and here is a link to prove that : http://www.bringfido.com/restaurant/ and another one http://petfriendlyrestaurants.com/restaurants
 

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Yes. In the service dog community people get very upset about pets in stores :) And they kept seeing that those stores allowed pets in articles. So several people reached out to corporate and they stated clearly that no pets are allowed in any of their stores expect service dogs. And that we should report stores that were letting them in even.

Some stores even have changed their signs to state this :)

I think there was a time many years ago that they did allow dogs but after accidents & dog attacks they changed their policy. Sadly while some ppl do have great well trained and behaved dogs, most do not and they do not seem to care/realize and still think it is ok to bring them out in public.

You are free to email them and ask what their corporate policy is though yourself. I know in alot of my service dog groups people were passing around the screenshot of their response but I don't think I saved it myself.
I don't understand why the service animal community would be so against other pets going into places that they consider it necessary to change and form corporate policy to oust other animals from places where they were welcome. That seems rude and unnecessary to me.
 

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People with service animals don't want people with poorly trained animals screwing up their privileges. And I can understand where they wouldn't want people to lump their highly trained animals in with Fido and Fifi as much as I know that if Burger Place had to hire an exterminator to recover my rat, they would never let another rat into their establishment.

I adopted a seeing eye dog that washed out of the program before he could be given to a human. He had the tattoo in his ear and could go anywhere I could. And even though he washed out, he was one super highly trained animal, very much unlike a normal pet dog. Service animals are very special and they deserve the special privileges they have earned. And I can tell you that first hand. That doesn't mean that I believe that other well trained dogs should be discriminated against even if they don't deserve special legal protection.

But so are my shoulder rats. They are highly trained and tested and they deserve to be given a chance to prove themselves too and shouldn't be lumped in with Fido or Fifi either. I'm thinking every business owner is apprehensive when I first bring in a rat, then they get to know our rats and they become rat friendly.

As to inconsiderate, I've had the cops called on me twice... once in the park and once at the soccer field and I had to go through the whole interrogation. Ostensibly the cops claimed that they were checking out complaints about an adult being surrounded by kids, they didn't want to open the rat can of worms... I pointed out that I was actually there with my own kid and I was talking to the kid's parents when the cops arrived. After being checked out, one cop flat out apologized while the other time one suggested I should keep my rats at home, even though I wasn't doing anything wrong. I told both that I had no problems with being stopped and protecting kids was everyone's responsibility, so if they wanted to meet me or our rat anytime, it was my pleasure to be stopped... I actually offered to let the cops meet our rat and the one told me he would rather be shot than hold a rat... his partner apologized and walked away after that remark. On the up side we met the local police chief at a local event and he loved Max. We haven't had any trouble with the local police since. People with open minds don't need much convincing.

As to rats being pets.... feed a few puppies to your anaconda in public and see what happens. There's a zoo in NJ that does snake feeding time as an exhibit. Rats don't have the protection or rights dog do, they aren't legally recognized as pets.... In NJ you can't even put your own dog to sleep, much less feed it to a larger animal. Dogs are considered pets and have special protection, rats are not and are not legally protected.

In fact, due to the nature of the property I own, I'm legally responsible to exterminate my rats under local building, public safety and health codes. Under municipal codes, landlords are responsible to keep their properties rat free. Technically, my rats become pests, not pets, as soon as I bring them home. How's that for irony? And by the way, some years ago, I had the health department people at my door because a tenant claimed there were rats in my yard. They were groundhogs and the town officials went away leaving me with the groundhogs, which by the way still live in my yard. So they actually do enforce this law.

If I have to run the risks of owning rats, I sure do intend to take advantage of the benefits... I don't need to scoop the poop, I don't need to walk my rats on a leash, they are wildlife and can go to any outdoor public place even where dogs are prohibited and for the most part the health departments don't want to be the test case that decides if there is such a thing as a pet rat and what the legal standing of a pet rat is... I've worked out an arrangement with my local code enforcement officials and as neither of us needs a conflict our shoulder rats simply don't exist as far as the town is concerned. It's not a perfect arrangement, but it works for us.

Maybe, if I had the money or the time I might be into a court battle to establish status and rights for rats, but I don't and it I do my best to make it work...

As to being inconsiderate... I live in NJ and we're often accused of being rude, much less inconsiderate... I don't think we're actually that bad, but everyone defines inconsiderate their own way. And no, I don't encourage to take their rats anywhere... I'm just answering the question as to where we take our true shoulder rats and the kinds of responses we get.

I suppose, if someone were to bring a biting rat out or a poorly trained rat that would get lost in a store, I'd be opposed to that too, I just tend to think that rat owners are smarter than some dog owners and wouldn't take stupid chances with their untrained rats. Its not a matter of being inconsiderate, just smart.
 

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Rat Daddy - I do know that service animals are a special category of animals. I do not argue that point. I have no argument against them going into places that "ordinary" dogs cannot go. That after all is their purpose in life - to serve and allow their owners to have a normal life. My only reservation was about the service animal community becoming involved in ousting other dogs from venues that were open to them such as hardware stores.

NaughtyFaerie - Thanks for those links. I had no idea there were so many pet friendly restaurants.
 

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I adopted a seeing eye dog that washed out of the program before he could be given to a human. He had the tattoo in his ear and could go anywhere I could. And even though he washed out, he was one super highly trained animal, very much unlike a normal pet dog. Service animals are very special and they deserve the special privileges they have earned. And I can tell you that first hand.

But so are my shoulder rats. They are highly trained and tested and they deserve to be given a chance to prove themselves too and shouldn't be lumped in with Fido or Fifi either. I'm thinking every business owner is apprehensive when I first bring in a rat, then they get to know our rats and they become rat friendly.
You were allowed to take a service dog that was not actually a service dog into places that didn't allow pets? That seems wrong to me on so many levels. Service dogs are there to preform a service. If they are not either preforming that service or being trained to preform that service, they aren't service dogs and therefore shouldn't be allowed anywhere a regular dog wouldn't be.

And the fact that you are comparing rats to service animals astounds me. Again, service animals preform a service needed by their human companion. Your rats, while amazing and well trained, preform no needed service for you (that I've seen from your many... many posts) and therefore should not hold the same rights as a working service animal.

I have seen rats as service animals. One alerted his owner when she was about to have an attack of some sort (can't remember if it was a seizure or what). There is no comparing an animal that provides a needed service to animals (well trained or not) taken to places simply for enjoyment.

I'm not saying regular animals shouldn't be allowed places. Just that comparing a service animal to a non-service animal is just plain wrong.

Anyways... More on topic.
I have been taking my newest rat out where ever I am able, which isn't many places. I took him to Home Depot because several employees had asked to see my rats. Had no idea pets weren't allowed! Whoops! I also took him to a mattress store after my mom talked to the people there and made sure I could take my "tiny mouse-like emotional support animal" in with me (we didn't use the word rat lol). I was having awful anxiety that week and flat refused to go anywhere without my baby. He never came out of his carrier, though. Whenever I take my rats anywhere, they're locked up tight in their carrier. I don't use outings for socializing (after all, I have social phobia :p ), only for companionship for me. He does sleep in my lap in the car, though! He stayed in my lap for a two hour trip to my grandparents and the whole trip back.
 

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Rat Daddy - I do know that service animals are a special category of animals. I do not argue that point. I have no argument against them going into places that "ordinary" dogs cannot go. That after all is their purpose in life - to serve and allow their owners to have a normal life. My only reservation was about the service animal community becoming involved in ousting other dogs from venues that were open to them such as hardware stores.

NaughtyFaerie - Thanks for those links. I had no idea there were so many pet friendly restaurants.
You are very welcome. I honestly had no idea either until I took my dog to the dog park one day and was told about one of those sites by someone else there that brings their dog with them everywhere they can. I know I've seen people with NON-service animals at restaurants before I just had no idea that there were documented places, pretty awesome if you ask me!
 
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