Sunday, 13 September 2015

Ignoramuses: Observations From Walking My Dog

Ignoramus #1:
Some automobile drivers are ignorant.

Pop quiz: What does this sign mean?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that at least 25% of the people in my home town do not know what this sign means, or if they do, they're either too distracted behind the wheel, or they just don't care. Maybe that number is a little high, but it sure seems that way sometimes.

I've seen people run through crosswalks before, but I never really noticed how bad an epidemic it's become since adopting our last rescue dog and going on daily walks that include twice having to use crosswalks.

Conclusion: Some people are simply ignorant. On one such walk I noticed a man walking a bicycle with an infant on the back child seat, just about get run over by two cars while he was already half way across the four-lane street. What's wrong with drivers today? Pedestrians really do take their lives in their hands walking across designated pedestrian crosswalks. Unbelievable!

Ignoramus #2:
Some bicyclists are ignorant.

We walk on multi-use trails with two-way pedestrian and bicyclist traffic. The other day a cyclist came out of nowhere past my dog, freaking the dog out in the process. Would have served him right if the dog had taken a bite out of his leg. When I called back after him saying, "Thanks for the warning," he looked back at me dumbfounded and completely oblivious as to what had just happened.

Many cyclists are good, either ringing a bell before they pass you, or calling from behind, "Passing on your left." I appreciate people like that; their courtesy makes it safe for everyone. However, it's those few who 'race' bicycles - around trails with joggers, people walking dogs, young children out for a stroll with their families - unfortunately make it dangerous for others. A little trail-sharing etiquette would be appreciated.

Ignoramus #3:
Some dog owners are ignorant.

I think most dog owners are pretty good, but I've noticed that there are also a few ignorant ones out there. How so? They're ignorant in that they refuse to pick up their dog's feces, despite the fact that our city even provides bags in the parks for exactly that purpose. I have half a mind to pick it up myself and throw it back at the dog owner when I see that! Really people? Let's grab a brain!

Another pet peeve about some dog owners is those who seem to think that bylaws which state that "Dogs must be on leashes" don't apply to them. I have rounded corners on the trails by our neighbourhood lake/park to find dogs off leashes. It's one thing when the dog is small, although they can get pretty chewed up by my 98-pound dog if we're not careful; it's quite another to find a large breed dog off-leash facing you on the trail, as was the case a couple days ago. Its ignoramus owner nonchalantly came along, leash in hand, but not until I had to restrain my dog from the potential dog fight. When I reminded him that this was a leash-required park that included a risk of bylaw fines for offenders, he didn't seem to care less. Point is, there are park areas provided by the city for those who want to run their dogs off leashes; why don't these ignoramuses go there? I prefer the control of a leashed area to walk my dog, and I think I have that right too.

Well there you have it; three types of ignoramus behaviour that I've observed while walking my dog. Did I come across too harsh? Maybe, but I make no apologies; these types of things infuriate me! I'm not suggesting that I'm perfect and beyond screwing up, but I like to think that I have a little more concern for my fellow man, especially if they're out there enjoying the same park spaces as me. That's the way I see it. Thanks for listening to my rant. Peace.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Everything My Dog Says About Me Is True

About six weeks ago, our lives became turned upside down. This was not a bad kind of upside down turning; on the contrary it was a very good kind of turning life upside down. After many years since the passing of our last dog, my wife and I decided that it was once again time for a four-legged friend to join us in our otherwise empty nest. That was a decision that we have not regretted for a second!

As with our last dog, we  once again decided that going for a rescue dog was right for us. In our way of thinking, what more beautiful thing could a dog lover do than take in a dog that was rescued because someone else either abused her, or no longer could care for her for some reason, and give her a second chance at a good life in a good home.

So when the time was right, we visited our local Humane Society and instantly fell in love with a beautiful Labrador and Great Pyrenees cross. We were offered a chance to take her for a walk, and gladly did so. When we returned to the Humane Society, I took my new best friend back to her kennel while my wife started the paperwork for her adoption. A few days later our 44.7 kg (98 pound) 18 month old toddler moved in to our home.

I was surprised to learn that, according to an article in Macleans in March 28, 2013, of all the impounded stray dogs, only 14% are put to death in Canada (in comparison to 60% in the USA). The same article actually reports on how stray dogs are actually imported into Canada, a practise that I struggle with a bit. After all, do we not already have enough dogs in SPCA's and Humane Societies in this country longing to be adopted into good homes? Do we have to import still more? I worry that such a practise may ultimately cause the death rate of homeless dogs in Canada to climb, as opposed the preferred further decline of euthanizing rates. But I have digressed. With our rescue, there's one less dog who will have his or her life prematurely ended because there aren't enough loving homes in which to place them. If nothing else, that gives me a measure of peace and comfort.

My brother once said that dogs are "therapeutic." I would have to whole-heartedly agree. No matter what the day throws my way, coming home to a wagging tail and a doggie-hug has a way of making everything OK again. As much as I may have rescued her, it's equally true to say that she has also rescued me. So let me ask you, have you hugged your rescue dog today?

Well that's about it for now; I'm off to the trails around our neighbourhood lake with my new best friend for our daily 6.5 km (4.0 mi) walk. Woof.