Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Let ’em run



By G.D. Maxwell

"My dog’s better than your dog,

My dog’s better than yours."

Zippy the Dog made me say that. It’s a jingle he heard on television once and still hums. Zippy likes to think he’s a "good" dog. It’s part of his inbred Lab neurosis. While he’s one of the most aloof dogs I know, he can’t shake the "good dog" thing. He wants to be a good dog. He needs to hear he’s a good dog… over and over again… endlessly and most often following behaviour verging on criminal. After food, treat, Kong, ball and walk, good dog’s what he likes to hear most. It’s pathetic, really. But endearing.

Whistler is a dog town and, let’s face it, dogs are pretty cool animals, especially Whistler dogs. If you don’t believe it, getcha self out to the parade and DogFest this weekend. Wear old shoes.

Whistler dogs are usually big dogs and that’s in their favour. I’ve only seen a couple of small Whistler dogs. I don’t know if small dogs are just so déclassé no one who has them lets them out or if they all get eaten by larger animals. Small dogs usually aren’t too street savvy.

Whistler dogs never wear leashes unless bylaw officers are lurking nearby. Like neckties on men and panty hose on women, leashes are tight, uncomfortable and not at all Whistler. If left to our own devices, none of us would ever buy ties or panty hose and I’m sure dogs would never buy leashes.

This, of course, leads to some problems, most of which have been well publicized. Dogs do unpredictable things. They dart out in front of cars; some die prematurely. They dart out in front of bikers and bladers, some of whom crash to the Valley Trail. They scare the bejesus out of visiting, city dogs who’ve never had a taste of leashless life. They perform bodily functions when and where they wish. Big deal.

I think bikers or bladers – myself included – who get taken out by a dog have only themselves to blame. Dogs are like cars. You never know what they’ll do next. If you choose to barrel along, oblivious to the distinct possibility that the dog further up the trail may, or probably will, dart out in front of you or jump up and lick your face, you’re dumber than a Chihuahua. Pay attention. Anticipate. Enjoy.

"If dogs run free,

Why not me."

Maybe it’s something that harkens back to a more primitive, collective memory time, but free-range dogs give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. They look like they’re having a lot of fun. They remind me of my childhood when I’d roam the neighbourhood, collect a pack of friends, and spend the day wandering, playing, and doing whatever else popped into our heads. It was probably dangerous, careless and irresponsible and if they’d had any sense at all, my parents would have kept me on a leash in the back yard, but damn, we had fun.