It’s a doggy dog world

Peter Warland meets some new canine friends during a trip through the Community Forest.

Peter Warland

An old friend of mine didn’t know the expression ‘It’s a dog eat dog world’. He believed it was ‘A doggy dog world,’ and, as I was prowling about the Community forest the other day, I found that it was. There were more dogs enjoying the ambience than people, and what interesting canines they were.

The first spaniel was taking a woman for a walk and, although his coat was shiny and clean from its daily rub in coconut oil, he assured me that he’d much rather have rolled in some healthy horse droppings. He sniffed at himself disdainfully as the woman and I discussed the weather and the shortage of people that morning taking in the scenery, if not the odours.

An extremely different dog that morning didn’t hove into sight for a while because he’d apparently misplaced his human and was searching for him. The human and I discussed nonsensical human matters until the dog spotted us and hurried up to see what we were up to. Now, that canine quadruped was a tad short on legs and hastened our way at the speed of an aging tortoise. Meanwhile, the man assured me that he and the dog walked entirely round the lake every day and I reckoned that that walk must have used up most of the available daylight. As the dog advanced, intent of sniffing the human who was wasting his pet’s time, I moved a small cone aside so that he might continue his Tim Conway doggy walk before dark.

My next encounter was with a covey of women and several dogs of diverse sizes. One dog, the size of a VW bug was being tentatively restrained by a woman of smaller dimensions. Feeling sorry for the animal, I asked, “Why is he on a leash?” The woman claimed that she was attempting to stop the animal from bowling me over. I reckoned that he’d like to work me over with his tongue; he looked friendly enough.

In fact, all of the dogs that I met that day were remarkably affable; they usually are.

The happy mongrel that was working on trapping gofers that day came over to check me out while his human was attempting to fix a broken bicycle chain. The dog seemed to think that a broken bicycle was a relief from him chasing the stupid machine all day when there were better things to do in this life.

There was a beautiful huskie-like dog almost with a couple that I ran into later. The fellow, who maybe is called Mike, told me that the dog always has to lead. “Ever since we got that beast,” he told me, “he has always wanted to be ahead. If we turn around and head off in the opposite direction, he’ll out-fox us and we’ll be following him again. Must be some sort of instinct.”

“More like innate cussedness,” opined the lady. “He probably gets it from Mike here. Watch!” And she headed off towards the west (I think. You never know in the community forest). We two males trotted off after her, me pushing the bike, and watched the dog re-appear in front, tail waving joyfully.

I had no solutions to offer the couple and their doggy-dog problems so, without a canine to lead me, I struggled on to my bike and tried to remember in which direction I was trying to go.

Then I ran into Harry and Kate, Kate being a large Golden Retriever of uncertain age. She came over to me in order to check me out. “Is she as dopey as all the others?” I asked Harry. He took an inordinate amount of time to answer that one than said, “I only had to show once that it wasn’t a good idea to run away from me.” I had visions of beatings but Harry assured me, “I learned that trick early with my first shepherd,” he explained. “When she wandered off, I didn’t call her or go after her, I hid. When she finally found me, that was it. Same with dopey Kate here.”