I live in the wilderness. Well, on the edge of the wilderness. Bears camp out in my backyard. Seriously. One broke into a neighbor’s home a couple of years ago. He was found snoozing on his back, four giant paws in the air, having ripped the hinges off the fridge and helped himself to beer and cheese or whatever was inside.
Everyone in Kaslo has at least one dog. No need to “exercise” them here — you simply let your best friend out the front door, he chases something wild for a while, comes back eventually, et voila. Things are, of course, somewhat different in the city. Most urban centers, in an effort to keep dog shit on sidewalks to a minimum, have designated off-leash dog parks, where canines and their owners can enjoy some semblance of the outdoorsy existence Scout and I take for granted.
I mention this because dog parks are breeding grounds for bad (usually human) behavior. Dog parks attract assholes the way trailer parks attract tornadoes. I can think of no better occasion for a man interested in finding his better self to begin the search than while walking with Fido through an offleash park teeming with canines and their often-benighted owners.
I could provide you with a few tips, but happily I needn’t bother — the October issue of Outside magazine has done that for me. Here are four suggestions from our pals at Outside that will ensure you a manly experience the next time you’re out walkin’ the dog:
Rule the Dog Park
1. DO: Address other people and say, “Good-lookin’ dog.” DON’T: Ask a dog his name. He doesn’t speak English.
2. DO: Bend at the knees to avoid being toppled during scrums.DON’T: Shout “He’s friendly!” as your dog barrels toward others. (“Watch out!” is acceptable.)
3. DO: Keep your dog under control. DON’T: Remark “Oh, look—they’re friends” as your dog violently humps another.
4. DO: Scoop poop. DON’T: Vow to clean it up later.