Friday, July 27, 2007

THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

The Dog Days of Summer are here for sure, and I don't mean the days when the Dog Star follows the Sun across the sky in July and August as I'm sure you all know. We have had heat, plenty of it, and it has been bone dry, yet another cute phrase. About the only bones I know are bone dry are when you're dead. Still it fits the miserable weather and drought we've had, but I'm not talking about that either. No, I'm talking about the invasion of new dogs into little old Coltons Point and the bizzare impact it has had on the village.

Now that several rentals and a couple of sales have been completed and every dwelling in the Point seems to be occupied, by my reckoning we have had an increase of about 15 dogs this summer ranging from Pit Bulls to Great Danes, rag muffins to shepards. Imagine that, 15 new dogs in a couple of months when we average about 1-2 per year. You don't move 15 dogs into a little fishing village without some real pains since in many cases the dog owners were entirely clueless about life in this seaside paradise.

Now some of them came from the big city where certain things are expected like the immediate availability of police and dog catchers I guess and it was a rude awakening to them when they discovered our first responders might show up any time in the next few days. Short of someone in the final throes of death there are not many reasons for anyone to hurry to the Point when everywhere else has much worse problems. At least that's how it was until the new people showed up and turned the village upside down.

Here at the Point people are friends. If we have problems we settle it among ourselves. There is simply no need to bother outside authorities with the small problems of the Point. And then ex-GI Joe showed up. Now he expected an immediate response to everything from everyone. One day he gets a dog, a slightly aggressive dog no less, and the next day he has the dog catcher on speed dial with a continuous flow of reports of vicious dogs at the Point who attack dogs and people. In a matter of a couple of weeks he made more reports of vicious dogs in the Point than the Animal Control had received the previous 10 years. Now that is how you want to introduce yourself to your new neighbors.

Thanks to the very strange perception of ex-GI Joe dogs that have never been reported for aggressive behaviour suddenly became raging menaces and when he reported the Grand Dame of the Point, the property of all Pointers, our beloved Golden Retreiver Holly to the authorities, well that was the ultimate insult to Pointers with a conscious. I mean Holly, the orphan of the Point, who has survived and been cared for by people from one end of the Point to the other is about the friendliest dog in the world. She has kept our seniors company over the years, been the only security in the Point as she guards the community against intruders throughout the night, and escorts people on their walks. You might see her swimming in the river, hopelessly chasing a rabbit, or hiding behind a hedge at night. You will never see her hurting another dog or person. At over 12 years old and with sometimes severe arthritis, what the hell kind of threat could she be to anyone. Yet ex-GI Joe is fearful for his life because of her.

Of course that wasn't even the worst of it. Wild Willie's two and a half dogs suddenly became a vicious pack of killers on the hunt. Before the influx of new people about the worst said of the Wild Willie gang was that they barked too much. Now they were transformed into a deadly pride of lions on the prowl. All Animal Control had to do was take a look at that gang to know their bark was much worse than their bite. The streets of the Point were about to become killing fields if you were to believe the Animal Control and Police reports. Neighbors were taking sides. People were being intimidated and afraid to talk. Somehow the stupid dog issue was growing into a daytime soap opera.

When the dust finally settled, when the tickets were paid and the court appearances finished, when Animal Control finally got to take care of the rest of the county and the sheriff's office got back to chasing real threats to society, the Point was no longer the same. Dogs whose greatest pleasure was in giving pleasure through companionship to people, often lonely people, were no longer free to make their rounds. Dogs who took a personal responsibility for the safety and security of neighbors by checking on them and their houses every night were no longer free to provide such help. Dogs who enjoyed the freedom of wandering the Point and entertaining the adults and children, along with the visitors, could entertain no more.

The neighborhood dogs who were out at night and could prevent skunks, foxes, racoons and deer from over-running the neighborhood, not to mention bringing rabies into the village, were no longer free to protect the neighborhood from the creatures of the woods and swamps. My how the march of civilization helps us mature. When you really think about it, the biggest flaw with animal laws was the wrong creatures were on the leash. Animals can work things out. It is the humans that screw up the world for everyone else.

1 comment:

Las Vegas Phyllis said...

Hooray.....you're back. I'm glad I read from the bottom up...the latest post was a bit depressing. I always look for your "little Irish" dog when I (try to) walk with Ink Spot. Hope that sighting hasn't changed!!!