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Mark Knight explains why he thinks banning dogs in Aussie pubs and bars is a backward step

Mark Knight, November 21, 2019 5:30PM Herald Sun

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Part of Mark Knight’s dog cartoon, media_cameraPart of Mark Knight’s dog cartoon,


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The dog is known as man’s best friend.

Through history, the domesticated* dog has always had a place in the lives of humans.

People who have pets, especially dogs, are known to have better health. Dogs are being used as companion animals in hospitals and rehabilitation* centres. Families with young children benefit from having a dog.

Dog culture in Europe is very strong. You see people on public transport with their dogs, sitting in restaurants and outdoor cafes. A miniature poodle in a woman’s handbag is not an unusual sight!

Bar Josephine Dog Ban media_cameraDog owners in Footscray in Victoria were not pleased when their local council banned dogs going to their favourite bar. Picture: Ellen Smith

In Australia, a culture of dogs in pubs and bars has been building for some time. It seemed a natural and civilised* progression* of our culture that our canine* friends should be able to join us while we relax over a drink and meet with friends and their dogs. Accepting, of course, that the dogs are well behaved.

So when I heard that some councils in Australia were banning dogs in pubs and bars I thought it was a backward step.

I also love to draw dogs and this was a golden opportunity!

Mark Knight’s dogs in bars cartoon. Right-click to open new tab for full-sized image

media_cameraMark Knight cartoon for Sunday Herald Sun, November 17, 2019

The thought of a council health inspector walking into a bar and threatening it with closure if all dogs were not removed made me see red … a red kelpie, in fact, sitting at a bar, having a drink.

When I’d drawn the kelpie I thought he can’t drink alone so I sat a staffordshire terrier next to him. Then I added a long-haired jack russell drinking an espresso martini, a german shepherd, a rottweiler, a bloodhound, and a pug having beers, a caboodle, a happy-as bichon frise and at the bar, a little short-haired jack russell licking up a decaf* machiatto. Then I drew a grumpy Bulldog swapping stories with an English sheepdog. I couldn’t leave out a blue heeler, a greyhound or finally a fat lab.

The only thing I’d forgotten to draw was the owners of the dogs.

VIDEO: One Sydney pub has added doggie meals to its menu

Pub meals for dogs

I thought that this could be one of those cartoons that puts the “shoe on the other foot”. Or looking at a subject from a completely different angle.

A role reversal* maybe?

In my cartoon, it’s not the dogs that are banned from bars but the humans! In my drawing, the bar IS for dogs!

I didn’t want to have the dogs’ owners banished so I was looking for the right person to be stopped from entering the dogs’ bar. I decided it should be a council inspector!

The barman tells him quite strongly that “we don’t serve your kind here!”

I’ll drink to that.


  • domesticated: not wild
  • rehabilitation: recovery
  • civilised: getting along well in society
  • progression: moving towards something better
  • canine: dog
  • decaf: without caffeine
  • role reversal: switching normal roles


Narwhal the puppy unicorn

Knight: Hell on earth as weather giants collide


  1. Which government bodies wanted to ban dogs in bars?
  2. What does ‘shoe on the other foot’ mean
  3. What made Mark Knight see red?
  4. Who is banished in Mark Knight’s bar?
  5. Name three types of dog in the cartoon.


1. Gone to the dogs
Read Mark’s explanation about why he chose to draw dogs in a bar for his cartoon and write two, three or four short sentences, just to make sure you understand what the cartoon is saying.

Now consider a new caption for the cartoon to describe how you feel about the issue.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Look through the most recent stories on Kids News and choose one to draw a cartoon about. Use Mark’s three-step process to get started:

  • What is my subject?
  • What do I want to say about this issue?
  • How do I say it? Do I use visual metaphors (an image that the viewer is meant to understand as a symbol for something else), multiple panels or symbolism (when one idea, feeling or emotion is represented by something else such as a: picture, character, colour or object)?

Time: allow at least 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

With a partner see if you can identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.

Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

Curriculum Links: English, Big Write and VCOP

HAVE YOUR SAY: Should dogs should be allowed in Australian pubs, bars and cafes?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will show until approved by editors.

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