Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Blacks, Irish But No Dogs

I heard a woman on the radio the other day.
She said - half in jest, wholly in earnest - that dogs should be banned.
She didn't like dogs.
And it wasn't just dogs that fouled the footpath or the grass in the park.
She didn't like dogs full stop.
Well, I don't like her.
There is an enormous anti-dog lobby abroad - and, for those who don't get the 'abroad' thing, there's one at home as well.

Most parks are closed to dogs most of the time.
And by 'closed' I mean you are not permitted to let them off their leads.
Oh, if you get up early in the morning, you can let them off their leads for a few moments.
And that's not something you're permitted to do on many Irish beaches.
Except in winter.
Now, Irish beaches are bad enough in summer. You know. Empty, cold, rainy, windy, unpleasant.
And they're worse in winter.
Only a fool would walk a dog on an Irish beach on most winter days.
Or someone like the woman I heard on the radio. Someone who hates dogs.
Dogs need exercise. That's a simple fact.
The bigger the dog, the most exercise they need.
But in today's Ireland, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find somewhere to exercise a dog without breaking the law.
Don't get me wrong.
Every time I have to use my pooper scooper (only the Yanks could come up with a name like that for, well, for a thing that does what a pooper scooper does. Then, it was the Yanks who decided to call the toilet the "rest room," the result of which is that Americans are reluctant to tell anyone they're 'going for a rest,")...
...where was I?
Oh yes. Every time I use the pooper scooper I almost throw up. They're revolting machines. Hideous.
But the law is the law.
And I don't have a problem cleaning up after Eric.
Eric is our dog. That's him up there.
He's a big, white Samoyed.
And like big, white Samoyeds, and virtually every breed of dog on the planet, least the ones I've heard of, he has to do what he has to do.
And I has to clean it up.
And I do.
And still people look at you. Still people thing you've done something wrong or, worse still, the unfortunate mutt has.
I don't get it.
They're only animals.
I mean, do these people want to ban birds too?
And what about sheep and cows and ducks and geese and, come to think of it, bees and butterflies and fish and all other creatures who involuntarily do what dogs get into so much trouble for doing.
(I wouldn't necessarily ban cats for doing what it is all animals do. It would be for an utterly different reason altogether.)
I know a place in Dublin where you can bring dogs and there are no rules, no laws, no regulations to stop you.
It's a big place. It's a large, green area near water.
And you can bring your dog whenever you like.
Where is it?
Not telling.

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