Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Left out of the Community

I had a great time walking around in an urban environment yesterday morning. I got to meet lots of new people, kiss some elderly women, and run around with a shepherd who was playing frisbee. I sniffed out some Cheerios that a child had lost in his stroller. Wasn't that nice of me? Eating them was perhaps not that nice. I never said I was perfect.

Still, despite all this fun, things can seem pretty unwelcoming from my puppy point of view. Jason's friends around the neighborhood keep  mentioning the local community association president who calls the dog catcher on any dog that is playing off leash. The dog catcher is sighted at least  three or four times a day. I like to be chased after, but being chased by the dog catcher doesn't sound like a very good idea.

Yesterday I kept on finding signs saying that I wasn't welcome. Sure, I understand there are places that aren't for dogs: the grocery store is one place that comes to mind. I'd eat everything I smell. That wouldn't be very good. Athletic fields make sense too. Some owners don't clean up their dogs poop. Who would want to play soccer in that?

Or are athletic fields a good place for puppies to play? What about parks where I'm safe from cars? Aren't those a good place to play? Sure -- owners who don't pick up poop are, well, thoughtless. The community ought to encourage those folks to be better neighbors. In fact, the community as a whole ought to encourage each other to be better neighbors in general. What better way to do that than through dog owners?

It seems that while the puppies are playing together the people get to talk. They get to know their neighbors and the news around town. The find out who had a baby, who is sick, and who is struggling at work. They hear about the neighbor who leaves their dog out roaming the neighborhood and develop strategies together how to solve the problem. The people get, well, neighborly. Isn't that a good idea?

The community board president seems to be getting it all wrong. She calls out the dog catchers and chases neighbors out of the park. Who will be left to plant flowers and pick up trash? How will neighbors get to know neighbors and start to care for each other?

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