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Dundee Warden, owner of Dundee's Barber Shop, and Charlie pose for a photograph

Dundee Warden, owner of Dundee's Barber Shop in Reeder's Alley in Helena, and her dog Charlie.

Here's a chance an editorial writer doesn't get all that often, but needs to make the most of. We take up the cudgel today for man's best friend. Which is to say, for our collective mental health, because nothing feels better in a day full of stress than an interaction with a pooch.

True, this writer's canine experiences all too frequently involve chasing a Labrador with springs for legs after she has soared over our back gate. But that's another matter entirely, between me, Animal Control and the folks giving me price quotes on Southern-Border-style walls.

But we digress. What we really wish to advocate for is the presence of pooches. In barber shops.

The Montana State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists is considering banning the beasts from salons and barber shops, because they're unsanitary.

Please.

We find ourselves for once in perfect harmony with those who rail about the excesses of the nanny state. Government does not exist to protect us from dogs in barber shops. This is not an advancement in public health. This is a bureaucratic boondoggle and it must be stopped.

A quiet, tail-wagging companion while one is reading a three-year-old copy of Sports Illustrated and waiting for grooming is not a bad thing. It is to be encouraged, not banned.

Several barbers testified before the board this week that banning mutts would hurt their businesses. And why would that be? Because customers enjoy the shops' resident dogs.

If we leave the shop with a little less of our own hair and a little more of Rover's attached to our pants leg, we can live with that.

What's next? Protecting the public from cats napping in bookstore windows?

The comment period for this proposed abomination ended Friday. Don't pay any attention to that. Please continue to let the board of Bureaucratic Cosmonauts know how you feel about this:

Comments can be emailed to dlibsdcos@mt.gov; faxed to 406-841-2305 or sent vial U.S. mail to 301 S. Park Ave., PO Box 200513, Helena, MT 59620-0513.

This editorial originally appeared in the Montana Standard (Butte). 

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