Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Its spring in Toronto. That's what they tell me. When Hayley and I went for our walk today we were being pelted with snow and there was ice underfoot. But its spring. Sure. And the check's in the mail.

But it has warmed up recently and the snow has been melting and that means two things: Mud, muddy dog, dirty muddy dog, dirty icy muddy dog, dirty icy muddy dog who jumps up on the couch before we get her to the tub ... Ok, that counts as one thing. The other thing that spring means to a dog park? Poop. Lots of poop. Poop everywhere. (Hayley glares at me. OK, not your poop.)

There is just an awful lot of dog poop in our little local part. As Cheech Marin might say "Homes, thats a lot of cheet" Where does all this shit come from? OK, I know where it comes from in terms from where it was issued (again, Hayley glares at me, like her golden bum could ever issue forth such organic dread). A lot of dogs come to our park on a daily basis, I know most of them. But really, there is more shit than mud. And shit in the mud. Or mud in the shit ... ok, that is way too many occurrences of the word shit in one paragraph, sorry. But you get my point.

What it all means, is that people in this city have no no real concept of dog park etiquette. I mean, rule number one "Pick up your shit!" (I said shit again but its a new paragraph, I do it like that) That seems an obvious rule, golly, they even have signs and illustrations and everything. Still, people ignore it. Cause people have no idea of dog park etiquette.

Another terrible breach of etiquette is the situation about toys. My toys (Hayley cocks an eyebrow) OK, her toys. We bring them, we want them back. Often, in the case of sticks, I hunt them down like Steve Irwin in search of sting ray stingers thru mud, snow and (you guessed it) dog poop. They are our toys. We want them back.

Fetching seems an arcane skill these days, rarely practised, barely understood, whispered about in shadowy alley ways and cloisters and kept back from the masses. It seems such an easy thing; human throws sticks, dog brings stick back. Or, it Hayley's case, human throws stick, border collies chases stick, runs with it for a time and drops on command. That works for us, keeps us both moving.

Now, Hayley, being a border collie and all, would much rather fetch dogs than sticks. And since people seem to object when I snatch up their pekipoodlelabdoo (or whatever) and hurl it across the park we've worked out a compromise: Human throws stick. Average-unfortunately-not-smartest-dog-in-the-world chases stick, border collie chases dog, dog returns stick, border collie slides in after the dog and smugly asserts "There, I brought his hairy hide back" Applause and happiness ensue.
Buy it doesn't happen that way. What happens is I throw the ball, dog chases the ball, Hayley lunges off in pursuit, dog catches ball, runs with ball .. runs with ball .. runs with ball ... Hayley stops, stares for a second and looks over her shoulder at me saying "Now, where the hell is he going?" I pose the same questions to his human and the response is usually "Oh, he won't bring it back" and off they walk, after their dog. With Hayley's ball. Sadness and regret ensue.
If they are not fetching they are also not dropping. And if they are not dropping I am the one running after them (ok, its more like a hobble but I've grown fond of it) putting them into a stay and prising the toy out of their jobs. All the while their owners stand there, muttering "Gee, he never gives it up for me" To which I respond "No shit, have you ever tried?"
Its annoying. And its rude. There are more breaches of dog park etiquette but its late, the morning comes early, and I have to go out and buy me some new dog toys

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