Wednesday, January 26, 2011
While engaged in a classic Canadian chore, shoveling the driveway, I discovered a bright yellow stain on the snowbank where my driveway connects with the sidewalk. Some dog had obviously pissed there. From the height I judged it was a medium to large breed. A vivid mental image popped up: The furry canine, cheerfully loping along in that ‘bliss is ignorance’ manner that dogs have, properly leashed by its owner, who is also mildly unaware of his surroundings due to his pleasure at breathing the crisp winter air. They pass by my house and the mutt lifts its leg and lets loose a long squirt. The owner pauses to offer his companion a smile, and maybe a little absent encouragement. “Good boy, Freckles, good boy.” Then they both blithely carry on their way.
I get it, I do. You can’t be expected to pick up your dog’s urine. Maybe you could manage it in the winter - just scoop up all the discoloured snow into the poop bag - but never in the summer. You can’t cut out a chunk of sod every time your dog shoots. Even if you could, the cure is worse than the disease, as most home-owners become almost homicidal about protecting their lawns, at least in my neighbourhood.
Furthermore, dogs lift that leg and let fly so quickly you have no realistic chance to direct their stream at all. Could the owner have gotten his dog to pee on the boulevard instead of my pristine white snow? Maybe, but he probably would have gotten peed on himself in the process, and spooked the hell out of the dog, too.
Cleaning up the mess took about eight seconds. One shovel full of snow lifted and removed. Done. No big deal. Still, I found myself absurdly annoyed, and of course I knew why.
It is the ridiculous tendency of some people to treat their pets better than they treat other people, in particular with regards to being lenient about their behaviour. Would we ignore the concept of some passing pedestrian stopping to take a slash on our front walk? No dog owner would ever countenance doing such a thing, yet they have no problem with their canines spraying urine hither and yon. At least most of them pick up the poop, although there is a significant percentage that don’t, if the springtime melt is any indicator. (I caught one guy, once, letting his dog take a crunch in my alley without removing the crap, and I called him on it. He was good-natured about it, though he should never have tried to get away with it, not on my watch!)
Ultimately it comes down to training. We’ve all seen that cat that can poop in the toilet, and dogs are capable of remarkable intelligence. Am I really supposed to believe that dogs can’t be trained to urinate and defecate only on their own lawn? Or even in a designated area of the owner’s choosing? Come on, pet owners, are you really going to go on record and claim your precious animals are too stupid to learn?
It isn’t the animals’ fault. We know who’s to blame. Bad animal means bad owner! Bad owner, bad! Don’t be so lazy. Kick it up a notch. Put on your A-game. Come on, teach those pets to be properly functioning members of society. Step one: don’t do your business in the street! Or on my lawn. Please?
(To my human friend that also enjoys peeing on buildings, streets, and alleys, I will only say this: it’s not my responsibility to train you, but I’m willing to help, and I know we are all looking forward to you also becoming a functioning member of society. You know who you are, pal.)