By G.D. Maxwell
"My dogs better than your dog,
My dogs better than yours."
Zippy the Dog made me say that. Its a jingle he heard on television once and still hums. Zippy likes to think hes a "good" dog. Its part of his inbred Lab neurosis. While hes one of the most aloof dogs I know, he cant shake the "good dog" thing. He wants to be a good dog. He needs to hear hes a good dog over and over again endlessly and most often following behaviour verging on criminal. After food, treat, Kong, ball and walk, good dogs what he likes to hear most. Its pathetic, really. But endearing.
Whistler is a dog town and, lets face it, dogs are pretty cool animals, especially Whistler dogs. If you dont believe it, getcha self out to the parade and DogFest this weekend. Wear old shoes.
Whistler dogs are usually big dogs and thats in their favour. Ive only seen a couple of small Whistler dogs. I dont 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 arent 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 Im 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 whove 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 theyll 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, youre dumber than a Chihuahua. Pay attention. Anticipate. Enjoy.
"If dogs run free,
Why not me."
Maybe its something that harkens back to a more primitive, collective memory time, but free-range dogs give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. They look like theyre having a lot of fun. They remind me of my childhood when Id 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 theyd had any sense at all, my parents would have kept me on a leash in the back yard, but damn, we had fun.