Monday, April 11, 2005

days with dogs II

two hairy dogs and one harried owner visit the local park...

twice a day, every day. morning and evening. different crowds, one goal: get the dogs to pee and poop at the park, instead of in the yard.

oh, it's also good that the dogs get some exercise, socialize, and give their little doggy brains something to ponder besides their next meal.

it works out well for the dogs, who are often better-behaved than their owners.

wally is a smart, funny little jack russell terrier. dennis, his owner, is a lapsed advertising copywriter who recently completed his first book. wally runs around, plays, and generally disregards dennis' instructions. dennis, a bit of a control freak, gets uptight if other dogs attempt to play with wally's rubber bone.

dennis is spiritual kin to "garbo," an astringent woman with an enthusiastic border collie. garbo (she wants to be alone) gets extremely flustered if another dog attempts to intrude on her game of fetch. in a park full of dogs chasing thrown items, this attitude is problematic.

sam, a long-haired dacshund, likes to hump other dogs. it's semi-amusing at first, as the targets of his affection are often males, and always bigger than sam. but soon it becomes clear that sam's owner will do nothing to discourage this behavior--and becomes indignant if the target dog objects.
"there are no bad dogs, only bad owners."

this is a true statement. and while these people aren't bad owners, they're dragging down the average. i applaud them for providing a good home and excellent care for their pets. but i have to question the world view of a person who lets a dog act like it's on a bad episode of 'animal cops.'

bad dog, bad dog, what'cha gonna do?

which brings us to me, and my dog, gunnar. gunnar is a thief. he has been since he was a pup. despite nine years of my best intentions and efforts, he still steals anything he can get his mouth on. oh, and he's also a canine disposal--he tries to eat the things he steals.

nothing is safe. tennis balls, leashes, poop bags (unused), dog toys. also books, cell phones, sunglasses, footballs. the dog has been split open from stem to stern at christmas time to remove an assortment of recreational equipment from his digestive tract. and he remains undeterred.

the one and only factor saving me from further embarrassment is that gunnar is going blind, and can't see to steal nearly as much or as often. it's an unfortunate but useful tradeoff.

so, upon further review, it's likely that other dog people look at gunnar and say, "bad dog." if they're more philosophical they may just look at me and say, "bad owner." either way, i suppose i'm dragging down the average.

but look we're trying. we play well with the other dogs, and with most of the people. we're not perfect--but then again, it's an imperfect world. and we're just doing our best to keep the poop off the bottom of our shoes.

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