The dog days of summer

The Cast:

The walking wounded: Avid jogger who recently had a run-in with the sharp end of a canine. Ardently pushing for Durango dog reform, but reluctant to admit he was running home with a five pound tube of hamburger.

The pedigree: Believes only purebreds, both people and dogs, are entitled to liberties. Walks her beloved terrier along Main Avenue to draw attention and avoid commingling with other dog owners. Happiest inside her gated community.

The weiner dog owner: Three-year Durango resident and baby boomer. Regularly takes weiner dog on summer trips in the family Winnebago. Proud owner of six dog sweaters as wells a doggie diaper, which allows “Mumsie” to smuggle “Cutesie” into movie theaters.

The master of the mutt: Long-time Durangoan and long-time dog owner. His dogs “have never done anything wrong.” He feels the leash is a violation of his animal’s rights. Past dog names include Shasta, Kaya and Pow-wow.

Canis: The greater god of all things canine. True ruler of the known universe

The scene opens on the Durango Dog Park several weeks ago. Storm-filled skies move steadily toward a group of four persons, sitting roundtable fashion. The smell of wet dog fills the air, and far off the sound of Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come” echoes from a passing Gran Torino. Four other would-be players sit with their dogs inside cars parked next to the Ninth Street Bridge, unwilling to hoof the quarter mile between the parking lot and the meeting at the Durango Dog Park.

The walking wounded: (Reaching down and itching a fresh wrap of gauze) I’ve called this summit for a reason. Durango is facing a crisis – the crisis of the fang. No longer can we tolerate canine freedom. No longer can we allow dogs to run free and out-of-control. (Begins to change the dressing, revealing what appears to be a sizeable Chihuahua bite) Leashes, collars, spaying and neutering and stiff sentences must become the new absolutes. (Rubs and itches the bite) In some cases, muzzling may be necessary.

The pedigree: I, for one, am in full agreement. Mixed breeds have roamed the streets of Durango for too many years, harassing man and man’s best friend alike. We must control those who need controlling. A month ago, my Scottish terrier birthed the full combination platter. From all appearances, labrador, poodle and weiner dog had all commingled inside her precious womb. Euthanasia was the only answer. The whole litter had to go. (Now sobbing)

The weiner dog owner: I resent that statement. (Panting heavily, the weiner dog eyes the terrier and lifts its left leg, displaying that indeed there was a little weiner in that litter of puppies). I also resent any suggestion of mandatory spaying and neutering. Cutesie’s nuggets enabled us to retire a year early. His stud fees now pay for most of our monthly groceries. (At the mention of ‘stud fee,’ the weiner dog eyes up the walking wounded’s good leg and starts humping.)

The master of the mutt: Fascism! All this talk is Hitlerian. The Colorado mountain town was built upon the backs of canines, especially mixed breeds. In the name of 6,500 feet of elevation, our animals must be allowed to roam under voice command. Leashes and collars are a direct assault on their strong canine minds. These suggestions will backfire. We’re talking about serious psychological tampering here. (On cue, the mutt sniffs its owner’s crotch, barks, squats and lays a coil of mountain doo in the middle of the group).

The pedigree: (Turns up her nose in disgust) Is that Gravy Train I smell? How pedestrian. This is exactly what we need to control in Durango (Points at the fresh pile). Speaking of Gravy Train, I think our excrement removal needs to go to the next level. I’d like to see the City splurge and get scented poo bags for our trails. We could stand a little refinement around here.

The walking wounded: (Passing around sheets of parchment before beginning to redress his wound.) Let’s get back on the page here. These are regulations that have been quite effective in the cities of San Antonio and Sacramento. I recommend immediate adoption. (The weiner dog, rather than its owner now takes exception and bites the walking wounded just above the Chihuahua wound). Christ! Oh no, not again. Not another full battery of shots.

The weiner dog owner: (Pretending that the dog bite never happened and nervously leafing through the regs) I hope there are exemptions for extendo-leashes, rules limiting dog owner liability and requirements that businesses allow dogs during regular operating hours. That reminds me. Has anyone given thought to a doggie delicatessen? We had one back in Thermopolis, and I think it could be a huge hit and a welcome bonus for our little buddies.

The master of the mutt: (With mention of doggie delicatessen, the mutt lays a second stripe next to the first) I’m not going to sit around here and take anymore of this. Just remember, the dogs came first. Come on, Jerry. Let’s get your frisbee and go somewhere where people appreciate intelligent animals. (On cue, the mutt’s pile quivers, shakes and then emits a visible puff of dark smoke. The cloud grows and spreads, eventually forming the enormous and terrifying figure of Canis, god of all things canine.)

Canis: FOOLS! INFIDELS! INGRATES! Can’t you see? Your dog problem is beyond solution! Did you feeble humans actually think that dogs are under your control? Does Cutesie allow you to urinate inside his RV? Does your terrier mix $20 of vitamins and supplements into your morning mignon? There are only two truths here. Bad owners make bad dogs, and more rules make more rule breakers.

In exchange for your presumption, I have decided to smite this burg. Because of your insolence, you will join with Steamboat, Crested Butte and Telluride and now suffer the Curse of the Brown Crocus. From here unto eternity, the first bloom to appear from the receding snows will be canine in origin. The smell and sight will be insufferable. Second homeowners will delay their arrival by weeks; tourists will flee for the better smelling climes of Montezuma County; crops will wither; and the dog will rule this strange town of Durango. (Canis cackles a hideous laugh and vanishes back to from whence he came. Jerry’s pile hardens, smokes and pops into ashes. All three dogs in attendance pant happily. The members of the roundtable stare in disbelief.)

The master of the mutt: Good boy, Jerry! Good boy!

The weiner dog owner: Did somebody say something? Everything got cloudy there for a second. I heard loud voices. Help me, I’m horribly frightened.

The walking wounded: (Now using the Sacramento and San Antonio ordinances to bandage the weiner dog bite) I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

The pedigree: I think we might want to discuss perfumed poo bags now.

– Will Sands



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