Friday, November 10, 2006

Bulldogs On The Waterfront

For almost a year, dogs and their people have been permitted, on a trial basis, to walk on-leash on the paths through the waterfront parks.


Last weekend Sandy and I walked with our friend Rose and two of her bulldogs. When Sandy first met Coal and Louise, I don't think she was even sure they were dogs. She sniffed, she jumped back, she sniffed again. If dogs can shrug, I think that's what she did.

So off we went through the waterfront parks, Sandy pretty much in the lead.

Rose and the bulldogs were like a walking advertisement for dogs in waterfront parks. People saw the pack of us coming and literally rushed by Sandy and me to gush over Coal and Louise. "Oh! My favorite dogs!" people shouted. It must be like this when you're with a rock star.

Coal and Louise loved this. They snuffled people's outstretched hands. One dog rolled over for a belly rub while the other dragged himself over the sidewalk in circles, apparently ecstatic.

Sandy looked at me in shock more than once. "What's with these dogs?" she wanted to know. For the first time in a long time, it wasn't all about Sandy. We stood off to the side, waiting while people pushed and shoved, trying to get close to the strange-looking slobber machines.

The next day, City Council finally voted to permit dogs and their owners access to the paths in waterfront parks permanently. Dogs have to stay on the paths. They can't step on the grass or into the water. They must be on-leash. Still, after 7 years of fighting over it, this represents progress.