I was asked to appear before the Mayor and the City Commissioners last night, to remind the good folks of Paducah about the dog ordinance already in place. I had it all thought out: I'd be ever so witty, and I'd touch on several points that are of vital importance to Paducah's dogs and dog owners.
But lordy it's hard in front of God and TV cameras and the American Flag to remember what you were going to say. Especially when I left my notes in the bag at my feet. Could I have just bent down and retrieved them? Apparently, that was too much for my addled brain to accomplish.
The ordinance says, among other things that at City sponsored events, dogs must be on a leash no longer than three feet, and they must be muzzled. Now before you all get your tails stuck in a fan, let me explain, since I served on the committee which drafted said ordinance. We're talking about downtown events, with thousands of people, food, and loud music. Local dogs aren't used to big crowds on city streets. Paducah hosts Downtown After Dinner a fantabulous program where every Saturday night from May through October, the streets are closed to car traffic and live entertainment is on every block. The streets and sidewalks are jammed with people.
Before the ordinance, a Bad Thing was happening. Some Irresponsible Dog Owners (boooooo, hisss, wrinkle nose and spit) were bringing sad dogs on heavy chains to Downtown After Dinner, with the sole purpose of intimidation. Yuck and poor dogs and I've already said boo hiss spit.
But a greyhound rescue group also came to advocate for the sweet greyhounds looking for homes. (YAY!! HOORAY!!! GOOD HUMANS!!!)
The ordinance committee didn't want to ban all dogs, so we made a compromise. Dogs would be muzzled and on short leads.
During last night's commission meeting, Commissioner Kaler asked if I would be willing to bring one of my dogs to Downtown After Dinner and talk to folks about the proper muzzles, etc. (People have been using groomer's muzzles which clamp the dogs' mouths shut. OH this is dangerous as the dog can't pant. The appropriate muzzle is a basket muzzle, pictured above.)
Now, Dear Readers, this is where I missed a wonderful opportunity. I should have answered, "Commissioner Kaler, thank you for the chance to make this point. I don't think Downtown After Dinner is a particularly fun thing for most dogs. They are on the pavement which is at least ten degrees hotter. They are surrounded by a claustrophobic ocean of humans. The bands are loud for us; imagine what it would feel like to ears that are exponentially more sensitive than ours. I personally feel that my dogs would be happier at home."
But no. I did not say that. I looked like a deer in headlights for a moment, and then my mouth said, "Yes. Yes I would." (Sam I Am is going to kill me.) Somewhere my brain was flashing "WRONG ANSWER" but I couldn't get the right answer to my mouth in time.
My mouth was busy saying other clever things. I had given each commissioner an unlit poop candle and a poop baggie. Commissioners Gault and Abraham gamely did on-camera demonstrations of proper poop bagging technique. I said, "I'm sure City Commissioners must become adept at dealing with poop on a regular basis. Not dog poop, but, you know Commissioner poop."