Bit of a tense face-off in the park this week. An angry mum was giving the big verbals to another woman who had a smart looking border collie with her. Mum was angry, and quite rightly so, because her toddler’s trike had run over a pile of dog poo, and the wheels were caked.
However, ol’ Hawkeye Morrison here had clocked the collie lady earlier. The dog had indeed done its business, but then it stood proud sentinel until dog-mummy could come up and clear the mess.
Border collies, of course, are the world’s cleverest dog. There’s a reason Shep was matched up with the late, lovely John Noakes on Blue Peter.
Give that dog a tie to go with the collar and Shep could have run for US President.
The situation here was black and white, as was the dog. He and his owner were blameless. I did my UN peacekeeper bit, thus preventing the need for the dog-mummy to go back to the bin and haul out the plastic bag of Freddie’s excremental evidence. There are some things we just don’t need to see.
Responsible dog owners are wonderful. They share their dogs with us, in a way. You can’t help but smile when you see a dog bounding about a park.
The city should thank the good ones, and do everything possible to make life easier for considerate canines and their owners.
Empty and available litter bins would be handy, or perhaps have a Giveway Doggie Bag Day. Maybe a reward card, where they get brown stamps and collect ten for a free coffee. Admittedly, this bit needs work.
My own small part of the doggy-poo battle is to say ta to doggy owners whenever I see them cleaning up. Obviously, I don’t shake their hands. That would be messy.
But the sad fact is that there are Bad Dog Owners, and to my surprise, the numbers seem to be rising.
Dog mess is increasing on pavements and in parks again.
Few pavements in Leith are navigable in a straight line. Few parks can be gambolled in freely.
Recently, in a stunning display of inconsideration, a veritable mini-mountain range of brown peaks arose on a lowered section of pavement at the crossing. Wheelchairs users beware.
Just who are these undercover dog poo dumpers? Well for one thing, they seem to be people who don’t actually like dogs. They like the idea of one.
They like posting cutie pictures on social media of those mini-dogs, like the ones Kardashians used to tote about in shoulder bags, although they’ve moved onto other fashion must-haves these days, it seems.
The wee dogs have just vanished. This worries me. Somewhere in one of those walk-in wardrobes the size of a one-bedroom flat in Gorgie there may languish a designer handbag with a wee pile of bones rattling about at the bottom.
Then there are the owners who prefer a dog that purely strains the lead and intimidates passers-by.
In the 21st century, a dog should be neither accessory nor weapon. It’s a living, breathing animal that needs good food, good exercise and, for the rest of the city, a cleaning-up after them.
Begrudging dog owners can be spotted late at night. The poor animal gets ‘walked’ after dark, if by ‘walked’ you mean shoved out onto the pavement just long enough to leave its mark on history, before being hauled back indoors.
In daylight hours you may spot the The Dog Whisperer. The dog is usually not on a lead. Dog and Master (or Mistress) believe they are as one.
They are buddies, pals and comrades. Two-legs is the Alpha of the double act. Four legs looks up in admiration, bound in pack loyalty to run at the side of the master. The leash is scorned. In the imagination of at least one of the pair, and it won’t always be the two-legged partner, they are the perfect partnership of man and beast.
Which is a pity, because, in reality, the dog is an untrained menace who lopes carelessly across busy roads causing sharp braking and the sort of tactical manoeuvring bodyguards usually use to avoid possible kidnap attempts.
Worse, not only is the leash left at home, so are the essential poo bags to clean up after the pack.
No leash, no bag, no clue.
Is it time to toughen up on the dogs who do the dirty and the owners who let them? Is it time to bring back the dog license, only this time with teeth?
Yes, sadly, I think it probably is. Dogs can be chipped these days. Quick scans can reveal who’s paid and who’s not. But let’s use the money to thank those great dog owners who care and love their four-legged friends, so we can hand out doggie bags and why not a coffee or two?