One of the great things about winter around here is that it keeps a lot of people indoors. Inside we watch television (wasn't Serena great in Melbourne?), listen to the radio (us Canucks still listen to the radio like tv was never invented) and natter on the computer. When the weather is bad the Hammer and I pretty much have the trails to ourselves. When we encounter someone else they are usually oldtimers who only love the Canucks when they are winning more than their dogs.
Today the fields once again sprang to life as the soccer kids and their coffee sucking parents invaded the parks. The trails teemed with waggy dogs and their owners willing now to exercize their mutts in the warm, energizing sun. The population growth of Greater Dope City is out of fucking control. It is a good thing birth control is popular or we would be as overpopulated as India or Europe.
We found a trail with just one car parked at its head and made our way into the half blown down forest of a low mountain. The eagles, herons, hawks, ducks and smaller squeaky birds were visibly energized by the sun as well. In time we came upon the people and their dog we shared the trail with. It was two women. One of them squawked at me about how friendly my dog is. A lot of people think big dogs are nastier than little ones, a belief uncomfirmed by own experience with dogs.
"Keep him away! Keep him away! My Smoochie has been attacked by other dogs twice!"
"Don't worry about the Hammer," I said in as calm a manner as I could manage. "She's more gentle than an Anne Murray fan club meeting." We were on an off-leash trail. I was not going to tie up my dog for some hysterical lady.
The lady bent down and protected her good looking dog. Looked like a border collie and it did not look frightened. The Hammer sends off peaceful vibes.
"Go away! Go away!" the lady shrieked as my dog got close enough to have a look at her dog and shake a little drool on them both.
"C'mon Hammer. C'mon. Doggie doesn't want to play today." My dog followed me but predictably went running back to make sure the dog did not want to play after we headed a few steps in the opposite direction.
Dogs do sometimes scrap when they get together. Mostly they get along fine, even when there are enough of them around to confuse their sense of who the top dog in the pack is.
I could have explained to the lady that a couple neighbours have taken to using the Hammer as a therapy dog for their dogs who have been too often on the wrong end of a dog fight. But she would not have listened. She was a dog owner who did not get out much on rainy days.