57. Taking Back the Streets -- and the Treats

Dear Tera,

I told Alpha to leave the computer with me.  I told him that I would take good care of it, even if I might have to defend it from my friends and colleagues at the kennel.  I told him that he could go away on his trip, and leave it to me to make the deadline for last month’s issue of OSCAR.

But did he listen to me?  Noooooo…  We missed our deadline, and so now I’m told that the Firehall has been besieged with mail and phone calls wondering what happened to The Windsor Chronicles last month. 

It is very edifying that an entire neighbourhood should take up the cause.  I’m very touched that so many should care about my welfare.  “Where is that wonderful dog of perspicacious wit and discernment?” they ask.  “I hope nothing has happened to her.”

Ah, but I’m back.  And we’re all back, stronger than ever.  We’re taking back the streets, in fact.  I missed seeing you at our demonstration.  There we were gathered, all in one place, the Woofstock generation and the human race.  Some 25 of us and assorted humanoid managers, coaches, trainers and handlers, all together on a crisp, sunny morning. 

We had a glorious time of it, warming up with our runs around the stacks of boards that the humanoids will soon erect into their hockey rink.  The humanoids seemed to enjoy one another’s company as well – although they tend to be a lazy species, not much for running and chasing and wrestling on the frosty grass.

Then came the time for the photo shoot to mark the occasion.  Humanoids, as you must have observed, mark important events by holding this funny little boxes up to their eyes and flashing lights at us.  We, of course, mark important events in much more satisfying ways that give relief to the kidneys and a smile to the dewlap.

Then came the big event:  the parade to take back the streets.  We marched across the park and down Belmont as if we owned it.  And perhaps now we do. 

As you know, Belmont Avenue is a dark zone – a street rife with cats.  You can’t swing a kong without hitting one.  The cats are particularly insolent along Belmont Avenue.  They’ll walk right in front of you without so much as a raised hackle.  They convene in the front gardens, looking at one another and the world in that smug catlike way. 

But on that particular morning, with our proud parade, those cats slunk back to their porches, I tell you.  Their eyes widened in disbelief.  They had never seen so many dogs at once.  And this is just the beginning.  Today Belmont Avenue, tomorrow the world.

Because the end-point of our morning parade was the new place on Bank Street that may well serve as our clubhouse – our headquarters for our plans to take back more streets for dog-kind. 

It’s a wonderful place, full of the smell of dog treats and people treats.  And not only do they let dogs inside, the humanoids actually encourage us to come in.  Even Frank, our galumphing Labrador friend, whose enthusiastic black tail can wipe a counter top clean with one wag – even Frank was welcome in this place.

And not a cat to be seen.  There were cat treats, cat posters, cat toys.  But not a cat anywhere.  So this is what I say:  they want to earn their place at the Wag store, let them hold their own demonstration.  Let them parade together from Windsor Park down Belmont Avenue.  Can you imagine a procession of 25 cats with their owners on leash, taking back the street?  Me neither.

A new day is dawning in the neighbourhood.  A foresee a time when the whole area between Windsor Park and the Wag store will be regarded as the dog zone – the Windsor-Wag corridor.  And we will continue to expand our zone of influence – out to the Hopewell pup kennel and its after-hours counterpart at the Firehall.  Then stretch to the dog runs and the swimming holes at Brewer Park. Eventually out to the walkways along the canal.  All one big dog-friendly zone, where we can walk our humanoids in safety.  And not a cat to be seen.

The day will dawn, my friend.  Today the park, tomorrow the world.

                                    Visions of glory,