Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I *should* have said...


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."

That didn't come out quite right!

hug your hounds


  1. Hehehe.. Commissioner poop.. Poor Sammy, but I'm sure you did well and will provide good info! :)

  2. I would be too nervous to even talk to anyone..I'm sure you got your message across..

  3. You're a great speaker, Patience, so I'm sure you did just fine!

  4. Hey..kinda looks like you are offering to muzzle a few commissioners. Good idea

    (with apologies to my pal Harry.)

  5. Wonderful post...and a great reminder that our dog friends are not humans. They get stressed with too much sound, action and smells.

    I brought Augie one year to march in the 4th of July parade with our Cub Scouts, we lasted 20 minutes. It was too hot(his tongue was hanging to the ground), too much stimulation (his face gets tight, head goes down, pants like crazy). We headed home, I let him play in our quiet backyard in the sprinkler...he slept the rest of the day.

    I learned that day that what may be fun for the human may not be fun for the dog (and they really don't stoic).

  6. i too have a habit of saying entirely the wrong thing! well done!

  7. Patience, I hope you have an opportunity to write a pice for the paper, and maybe speak on several radio stations (not just your favorite NPR station), about the risks to dogs at these events. I just attended a great seminar by Sarah Kaljnas, a behaviorist/trainer, and she brought video of dogs at a summer festival. Seeing them, especially without audio, it was so glaringly obvious that 98% of the dogs there were stressed and none of the owners noticed. Sometimes they were obilivious to their dogs, to the point that several dogs could have bitten people, and actually, one dog did end up killing another dog. All the dogs were clearly showing signals that they weren't handling all the stimulation well, but the people were intent on having a good time, not their dog's well-being. Why they brought them, I don't know, especially as it means they don't have both hands completely free to carry food and/or trinkets.

  8. You made the papers! Being a news photographer, I first had to click on the photo to see who took the photo. Most people never look at the name, but all photographers do.

    Anyway, you are so right. There are just too many irresponsible dog owners. Half of them don't even know how to take care of dogs, and many of them have them just for show to parade around.

    Good job! Tell 'em like it is.

  9. w00f's, rocky gets really upset at hoomans and pups he not nos..any muzzzle would scare him to death..soo i would never take him to such places.. i am trying to work with him and let him no that hoomans will not hurt him..

    b safe,

  10. Hee Hee Commisioner poop....You are too much!! Love and kisses A+A

  11. I'm sure you did a great job bringing awareness to two important issues! BOL!

  12. Oh boy, sounds like you might have benefited from the muzzle for a second to compose your thoughts!!

  13. Ohhh no, Commissioner poop? I can't say anything, Mom truly hates to get up and talk to people, she probably would make a huge mess of things (figuratively speaking of course!!)..


  14. You should go on tour demonstrating poop bagging technique. Lord nows there are some folks that are spewing enough of their own.

    wally t.

  15. Oh Patience. I can just see you doing this. I'm dealing with city council poop right now. Hopefully, I don't ever have to actually TALK to them...

  16. You did better than I could have - I despise public speaking!

  17. Politics and poop-well said!

  18. Just tell them you thought about it and don't want to put your dogs through it. You changed your mind. Or tell them you talked to your dogs and they politely declined the invitation.

    Kynda Canada
    (homesick for the last 20 years for Paducah & can't wait to visit again.)


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