A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Let Dogs Inside

I spotted this sign the other day along Evergreen Walk in Manchester, Connecticut.

My first thought was that it was a plea for allowing dogs into stores. I was pleasantly surprised that the mall management would allow an organization to advertise thus on their streets. Then I realized it was a PETA ad against the long-term chaining of dogs in yards (as is done with guard dogs).

It's true that chaining in solitude--leaving aside issues of exposure, lack of wholesome food and water, and other means of neglect--is torture for a pack animal that longs for companionship. Chaining a dog breeds extreme territorialism, which is the reason these dogs attack people who stray into their bounds. Pit bulls raised as family pets don't attack babies.

Less cruel, but equally stupid, are the ever-increasing strictures in this country against dogs in public places. Walking downtown to pay my water bill in City Hall could double as a pleasant outing with Taz--but no. I can't go eight steps into the building with my dog, and if I leave her outside, there are two cops and a security guard around her by the time I get out. "It's a liability issue--someone may get hurt." "It's for the dog's own good--she might get thirsty." "Her barking could disturb the peace."

In other countries, dogs go into shops and restaurants, on the bus, into City Hall or the library, no problem. I've never spotted a misbehaving dog in Europe; I've never seen a frightened or inconvenienced human. Dogs trot along the Champs-Elysées unleashed, next to their human companions. They don't dart into traffic, jump on strangers, or tangle with other dogs. It's called "civilization."