May 25th, 2017 .

Dogged Opponents

Pat Morden

An unrelenting war of ideologies is being fought in communities across this great land.

Like so many such wars, both sides have good reasons for their beliefs, and are deeply entrenched in their positions. They tend to pity, disdain or actively dislike those on the other side of the ideological divide. Although these is some détente, battles break out regularly.

I’m talking, of course, about the pro- and anti-dog leagues.

Anti-doggers believe (quite logically) that dogs are lesser animals than humans, and therefore have few or no rights. They see dogs as dirty, noisy disease vectors and dangerous predators. They dislike dog hair dust-bunnies, dog poop and pee, and dog breath.  They spend their money on fences and cats. They are right.

Pro-doggers believe that dogs are, in some respects, greater than humans – more compassionate, loving and loyal. They see dogs as fun and interesting companions who provide protection. They love the smell of a puppy, the touch of a silky coat, the shine of an adoring eye. They spend their money on toys, equipment, and dog sports. They are right.

Pro-doggers are generally peaceable, but have been known to shatter the windshields of expensive cars to free dogs left in the heat. Anti-doggers work primarily through by-laws, enforcement officers, and signs, insisting that dogs have no place in public.

There aren’t many people in the no-dog’s-land between the two polarities — perhaps just a few owners of elderly Golden Retrievers and Bichons.

Can an armistice be reached? Perhaps, but both sides will have to move. Anti-doggers may need to make more space for well-behaved dogs and dog owners. (Why, for example, are dogs allowed in shops and outdoor patios in Toronto, but not in other communities?) Pro-doggers must work hard to socialize and train their dogs, so that they can earn their place in polite society. Anti-doggers can’t assume that every dog is vicious. Pro-doggers can’t assume that everyone wants to be kissed on the face by their dog.

Let peace reign!

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