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Pet Peeves of Summer

It’s no secret that I love dogs. Not the kind on two legs, who, for some reason I continuously manage to wind up dating, but the four legged kind. You know, the fuzzy ones with the big brown liquidy eyes that have more depth of feeling in them than the most passionate of poetry; the ones with the tail that wags like it has a life of its own at the silky toned kind words of a human; the ones we create parks for, buy balls for and some of us…ugh!...dress in little sweaters and tutus. Hello, people. These beings wear fur far more beautiful than anything that really is meant to cover the human body. And PS? They don’t need boots or four little Air Jordans or what have you. Just sayin’…but I digress…

So it’s summer—one of the hottest ones I can remember. “What does this have to do with dogs, aside from the fact we call them the ‘dog days?” you ask. Well. I’ll tell you….but you kind of knew that, didn’t you?

Let me start with what I have personally witnessed. And feel free to chime in here anytime. On my daily tours of duty sweating down M Street, 14th Street, Connecticut Avenue, U Street…just to name a few, I have watched pet owners tie their ever faithful furry companions outside stores, cafes, and coffee shops. While I’m thrilled that people are taking their pets for a walk and want them by their side, is it just me or is it just a little…a lot, when these poor things are left out in this heat without benefit of at least water? I ask you, when was the last time you saw a canine sidle up to a water fountain, hit the button and drink or duck into the local convenience store for a frosty bottle of H2O and a pack of cigs at its own behest?

Don’t get me wrong, not everyone with a puppy does this and many places offer bowls of water for folks with pets in front of their establishments. Kudos to you, caring business owners. Kudos, too, for those majority of doggie daddies and mommies who are aware of the panting pet and offer everything from glasses of cool water to having it licked directly out of their cupped hands. But I have also seen those who sit by their own poor, sweltering animals--their bodies clad in fur, with a core temperature of 101.5 degrees-- while the dog desperately pants away. All this while they enjoy a full bottle of icy water on their restaurant table. Really?? Listen, Bucko, how would you like it if I put you in a canoe in the middle of the Potomac, surrounded by fluid, none of it drinkable, and left you out there in 90+ degree weather with the sun beating down, covered with a fur coat, while I sat by sipping iced tea on the river’s edge for an hour or two? I’m not even going to mention the car—that’s something, I hope at this point, is obvious enough.

These creatures are not independent. They are in many ways like the infant that never grows up, and they want nothing more than to please their owners. I think that kind of selflessness deserves at least some consideration of their comfort and health. They would do that for you.

Oh, Garcon, may I have another ice cube for my drink and a couple to go for my cat and dog, who, on a fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk day like today, I had the good sense to kiss goodbye and leave in the comfort of my air conditioned home. Truly, the only good kind of hot dogs in DC are the ones at Ben's.