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July 21st, 2019

Letter to Dog Owners

Maybe you're not like my neighbors.  They're fine people, decent people.  However, their two poodles are currently gated on the front porch of their house and barking at everything that goes by.  The constant noise pollution is not welcome.  I will remember this if I ever want to have a loud party or run a saw at 5:30am.  Consideration gets consideration.

This morning when I was done working in the garden I headed for the house only to realize on the steps that something was on the bottom of my sandal.  I scraped it off on the edge of the steps and it was dog shit.  I hosed off my shoe and the steps.  It may seem like a small thing to you, that your dog does not come when you call it and loves to shit in my garden, but it is not a small thing to me.

Yesterday I went for a walk with a girlfriend who has two dogs.  She wanted me to walk one but I begged out.  The one that she did bring, an American pitbull, was kept on leash the whole time.  It took the treats which were offered regularly regardless of behavior, and appeared indifferent to the kiddie talk tone taken in her speech.  It kept jumping on me, and slobbering on my legs whenever we stopped.  Slobbering may be normal in your world, but I don't want it in mine.

I live across the street from a park, and people walk their dogs past here all day every day.  I have a cat.  My cat hates dogs with a ferocity I have never seen in another creature.  She will go out of her way to draw blood if the dog is clueless enough to get in range.  But some dogs would kill her if they caught her, and she recognizes that kind and runs, climbs, escapes.  The park rules are that all dogs are to be on leash at all times except for when inside the dog park, which is always available.  I believe city rules are the same.  Any dog owner stupid enough to let their dog in my yard deserves the vet bill.  Any dog that is hunter enough to threaten my cat should be on leash.

My last pet was a dog.  I loved him deeply.  I did a real dog obedience training with him, with a lady who trained German shepherds for the police.  We both learned, and we had a language.  He did not run off to shit in someone else's yard.  I could call him off a chase when other dogs were still chasing.  He would sit and watch quietly when I spotted wildlife.  He would heel, really heel without a leash on, and stay.  He would stay laying in the shade while I had lunch in a restaurant.  So when you say your dog is well trained, at a bare minimum I expect that you can call them back to you and they will come.  Every time.  If he's not well trained, he should be on a leash.

Postscript: I texted my neighbors to ask for some quiet and admitted that the dog barking was getting to me.  They took the dogs indoors and the noise has stopped.  I can feel my blood pressure gradually dropping back toward normal.

I think that when this cat dies I will not have any more pets.  It is very American to have pets, it helps us with the isolation.  But I would rather hang out with my neighbors than listen to their pets.  I would rather make love to my partner than pet the cat.  I would rather not have a litter box to clean or warm piles of dung to pick up with a plastic bag.  The numbers are astounding about pet ownership in the US: could it be that we are substituting cats, dogs, computers and phones for having real connections with other people?

QotD: Eagles Don't Flock

Eagles don't flock. 
You have to find them one at a time.

--Ross Perot 1930-2019 

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