My 4 year old son was knocked to the ground by a dog that weighed about as much as I do. The dog wasn’t being aggressive. He just wanted to play and say hello to the little human who was throwing a ball. It wasn’t his fault he was so big that when he tried to lick the boy, he fell over. The dog’s owner (because of course we live in a world where we believe that we have some sort of right to possess other living beings) should have had him on a leash, or kept him in sight so that she could call him off or at least notice when he was not wanted. It can be quite traumatic for someone who is barely a metre high and weighs less than 15kgs to be knocked to the ground by an animal 3 times his weight with its tongue slobbering all over his face. Thankfully my boy can be a lot tougher than he seems. He just got up, dusted off and carried on with the game. Can you imagine if it had been someone half his size and twice as sensitive?!
Then there was the time somebody’s dog attacked our food. We had decided that since it was a public holiday, even the full time mom would get the day off. Instead of me spending the morning preparing food, we would get take away food for the picnic. We got enough food to have left overs so I wouldn’t have to cook supper either. We had just arrived and eaten a tiny bit before everyone wanted to play. We packed the food back into the containers and put them in a bag, so we could have another snack later. The dog came along and ripped not one but 2 of the containers out of the bag and chewed right through them. Again, not the dogs fault. He was running free and found something to investigate. The human, again, was nowhere in sight. She only arrived after the damage was done and my husband was busy trying to pull the animal away from the rest of the food. I made a really loud comment about this being the reason dogs should be on leashes. The people we were with told me not to make a fuss. One of them even mentioned that they used to have dogs that were “picnic crashers” and that it was very embarrassing for the owner. Yes I know that there are people who are happy to share their food with their dogs and even eat of the same plate. I am not of that strange breed that accepts dog saliva as a condiment. If a dog has eaten half my food (and the Styrofoam container it came in) I’m not going to eat the other half. Thankfully other people at the picnic shared their food, otherwise we would have had to go hungry or leave the park early to go home and make other food because we can’t afford 2 lots of take away food in one day. Of course I also had to make a plan for supper for my family. Oh well, I guess that’s nothing compared to the embarrassment of the picnic crasher’s owner. By the way the same dog came to investigate my friend’s crotchet bag on the way out. Unfortunately her hand was in it at the time so he took a little nip at it. He didn’t draw blood or anything so we didn’t make a fuss. My husband just grabbed the dog and gave it a smack on the bum and it slunk back to the owner who was walking along the path a few metres away deep in conversation and completely oblivious to the embarrassment her dog was causing.
All of the above is extremely irritating, but nothing compared to my pet hate (pun noted). Dog poop. You cannot go to a park in Johannesburg without having to deal with this crap (ha ha I can’t help myself – humour is a coping mechanism) Seriously though, even if you are careful not to put your picnic blanket down on an actual turd, the moment you get down to ground level, you can smell the shit. Then you look around and realize that there are little mounds all around you and you have to warn the 4 year old who is trying to chase a ball to look where he’s stepping ‘cos you don’t want to have to clean somebody else’s dog’s poop off his shoes before you get into the car. Are there actually people in the world who don’t really care if their cars smell like dog poop? So now the poor kid who has just learned to run and catch a ball at the same time, has to now add avoiding dog poop to the list of multi-tasking – and he doesn’t even get the benefits of owning a dog to balance things out a bit.
Sorry, I got a bit carried away on the whinging front but I promise there is a point coming.
Yesterday we went to a park straight after voting. That was when the metaphor became really obvious. Politicians are the dogs. We think we own them. We feed them. We pay for their homes. We try obedience school (the laws and punishments are clearly set out) and we expect some kind of standard of behaviour. Our last government however showed up all the sordid reality of dog ownership. They took all of the privileges without any of the responsibilities.
They took control of the Police services. Shooting live ammunition at people who are just asking for service delivery is pretty much the equivalent of knocking over a powerless child. They are more than happy to devour the hard earned food of the people. Just think about the abuse of taxpayer’s money. Nkandla is only one little attention grabber compared to the billions that have gone astray.
Then the clincher is that they will unashamedly cause shit wherever they feel like doing so without any concern at all for who is going to clean it up. If you don’t like the smell of the shit you can go sit somewhere else.
Well you know what? I’m sick of this shit. I’m going to go out and buy me a pooper scooper. It doesn’t matter if I don’t own a dog. I don’t like the shit so I’m going to clean it up, even if it is only around my picnic blanket and the areas where my friends and family want to play. If everybody does the same we’ll soon have clean parks again, whether or not the dog owners are willing to take responsibility for their own dogs shit.