Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A stray Border Collie and an old Lab mix

It was so nice to get back to walking shelter dogs after 5 weeks on the East Coast of the U.S. without a dog. Cash,my Aussie shepherd, and I walked Daddy Long Legs, the older black lab. I then played with the male 2 year oldish Border Collie who has gone unclaimed at the shelter for a few days and if no one claims him will be available for adoption. He was a nice fellow who really enjoyed playing fetch with his tennis ball. He was even pretty smart in catching on when I tried to trick him by fake throwing the ball in different directions. For more information on either of these dogs contact http://www.humanesocietyofthepalouse.org/index.html

Friday, August 5, 2011

Marking Territory

I recently spent 5 weeks on the East Coast of the United States in the suburbs of New Jersey, taking care of my sick mother. I had left my dogs at home but to de-stress I spent an hour or more a day walking around my old home town. I noticed a regular group of friendly dog walkers, and I also noticed a small handful of signs posted on the edge of nicely landscaped properties, many of which were maintained by lawn service workers and not homeowners. While I am a strong believer in property rights, I got the feeling that many of the signs were put up not necessarily in order to fix some out of control problem, but instead as an assertion of human territory. I have lived in congested areas before and now live in the country where I get my fair share of motorists throwing their empty beer cans and candy wrappers out on the edge of my property but instead of putting up ugly signs that I'm guessing would be ignored anyway, I just pick up the garbage every once in awhile, and don't think too much about it. It's my contention that in crowded congested areas, New jersey being the most crowded state in the Nation with 1195.5 residents per square mile (Washington D.C. has 9856.5 but is not a state) Idaho having 19 residents per square mile, people get more defensive of their territory. So I was surprised to see what I thought were unattractive signs at the edges of lovely landscaped properties. To me the signage seemed more distasteful than the occasional overlooked dog dropping. I am a responsible dog walker and pick up after the dogs I walk, but this battle of land owners verses a few irresponsible dog walkers seemed to go deeper than the obvious. The one that made me laugh was the pretty sign with silk bows that asked for the dogs not to "Pee " on the shrubs. I'm wondering how they would even know? There were 4 of these signs spread out over the perimeter of this property and the ironic aspect was that this person's shrubs, attractive as they might have been, were also spreading out a good way onto the public sidewalk( note photos above). Do they really believe that ownership extends out to the public sidewalk despite the fact that they had made the initial plantings? I'm curious as to how the public/private boundary was not clearly understood. Was someone perhaps claiming more territory in an overcrowded area? The yard and shrubs were quite lovely, but once again the signage, complete with silky ribbons, did really draw the eye away and detract from the lovely plantings more so than any dog's pee, as far as I'm concerned. Oh well, more thoughts to ponder on a crowded planet where there are so many people and so many dog owners. I guess we creatures all try and claim territory, the trick is to figure out how to all get along.