Let me tell you a story.
It's a summer's day - perfect for the long walk from Function Junction to my home in Spring Creek. I'm in a bit of a foul mood, frustrated as I am that a source hasn't returned my calls. A walk home could cure that.
I walk uphill alongside the highway, putting at risk the cleanliness of the bright khakis I reserve for sunny days. Still frustrated after work, I'm eager to get home and plunk myself in front of my PS3.
First thing I notice as I ascend the stairs to my complex - dog shit. Right there, sitting on top of a brick walkway. Razzing me as an obstacle on a clear path to my home. Lying there as though it'll be absorbed into the ground and fade away. Apparently ceramics make great compost material!
Then I get to my door, and unbeknownst to me I'm followed by a giant poodle with a curious nose. I bend over to get my keys out of my bag and this obnoxious mutt digs its nose into my ass like an anal probe. I turn around to register my disgust and this fleabag starts barking at me as though I'm intruding upon my own home!
The owner, standing about 10 feet away, says a halfhearted "sorry" and claims the dog is friendly. Hard to believe when it's acting like a bouncer at my own door.
Later that night, I'm taking out the garbage. A white dog that's just a few pounds short of a polar bear is walking off leash alongside its owner. I'm heading to the compactor when it starts barking at me. Naturally, I freeze in my tracks, unsure of what the dog will do next. Five times I've been bitten by dogs and it always resulted from running.
The owner hasn't bothered to put it on a leash. He holds it by the neck and tells me it's friendly. I've heard that one before.
Whistler prides itself on being a "dog friendly" municipality and that's fine. But the degree to which owners trust their dogs has reached embarrassing heights in this community. It shows a blatant disregard for municipal bylaws, not to mention the safety and comfort of others.
RMOW bylaws state that all dogs must be on leashes everywhere except for Rainbow Park, Meadow Park, Alpha Lake Park and baseball fields at certain times of the day. The fine is $50 - and the RMOW could rise above the recession if it bothered to enforce this.
The bylaws also state that you must clean up after your dog - yet I see dog shit everywhere I look. On walkways, on the Valley Trail and even my landlord's driveway! Where's the sign that says my landlord's driveway is a dog-friendly area? Take your shit to the ballpark!
The RMOW website offers tips on "being a good Whistler dog." I think tips on being a good owner would be handier because some people in this town just don't get it. I hardly think it's too much trouble to put your dog on a leash. At least for the comfort of trail users who get spooked upon seeing an off-leash pit bull bound towards them at top speed. A passing "Sorry, she's friendly" just doesn't cut it in those instances.
Whistler should be dog-friendly. They're great animals and fantastic home alarms. The ones I've known personally have been fantastic, friendly, energetic animals. The owners I know seem to take care of their pets exactly as they're supposed to.
But I just can't say that for everyone. Owners who flaunt municipal bylaws or don't bother to learn them are threatening Whistler's status as a dog friendly community. You simply can't treat your dog as a princess that can do whatever it wants. And I really do think it's my right as a citizen not to be subject to inappropriate search up my rectum.
A little courtesy is in order. For me. For everyone.