Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A walk in the park

This morning, armed with  a bio-degradable pooper bag, I took Eddie for a walk in a city centre park which is open to the public. There were half a dozen men in green fluorescent jackets working in the far corner of the park, but I didn't take much notice because this is where Eddie and I always go when we're in town, and there were no obvious signs saying that dogs were not allowed.

We had only been there two minutes when one fluorescent jacket detached itself from the rest and headed with some purpose in our direction. As it got closer I could see that there were no gesticulations and no angry expression, so I said a chirpy 'Morning!', and got an even chirpier one in reply. This chap turned out to have a dog of his own, and he took a doggie treat from his pocket and offered it to Eddie, who was quite surprised but politely accepted after a split second's hesitation.

Very apologetically, the man said that he had been asked from 'on high' - he pointed to his earpiece - to ask us to leave the park. Dogs used to be allowed but were now banned, he said, and there were signs to that effect at each of the gates. I said I was sorry, I hadn't seen them, but why on earth were dogs banned, and he said (I'm not kidding):

'One or two owners let their dogs foul the grass and didn't clean up after them. A couple of kids were playing in the park, and fell over, and got dog poo in their eyes.'

'They fell where the dog poo was, and got it in their eyes?'

'Yes', he said, with a straight face. 'There was a huge stink.'

Up to that point, I too had managed a straight face.

'A huge stink?'

'Yes', he said, and actually shook his head. 'Huge.'

As George Kennedy famously remarked in Airport, I didn't know whether to smile, spit or swallow. I was indignant and amused at the same time.

'Well', I said, 'I think that's very short-sighted', and I had a mind to reference the two kids with dog poo in their eyes, but I don't think he would have found it funny.

Presumably having taken all this on board, Eddie managed to find a spot to squat on his way to the gate, and I made use of the pooper bag with an ostentatious fluorish.

What is the world coming to..
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