Our dog Mouse (our last was Wolf, son of Bear, dog of RedBeard) frequently gets walked at the Bruce Pit dog park in Ottawa. If you have a dog, you should know that they (and you!) are much happier and balanced when well-exercised. No-one reinforces this message in the public eye more and better than Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer”, who will shortly be coming to Canada, and to Ottawa in particular. We would all do well to listen to Cesar’s messages of balance and humility, and to think more about what it all means in the grander context of humans who are in turn subservient to our “masters”, that is, our governments and their public institutions.
When Christy and I first arrived in Ottawa in 1990, one of the attractions of the place (and a key reason for our having remained here, despite that our initial intent was just to check it out for a few years) was the access to natural environments nearby where we could walk, ride bikes, and cross-country ski with our young kids and hound (then, “Bucky”). At the time of our arrival, much of the land surrounding Ottawa was “Greenbelt”, land nationally (ie publicly!) owned, and administered on our behalf by the National Capital Commission (NCC), and open to all.
In January of 2010 Christy and I were walking Mouse (off-leash) at the Bruce Pit, about to enter an area that when we first arrived was free for anyone’s general use without restriction, but that had since had rules applied by the NCC that precluded dogs in the area between November and April, and required dogs be on-leash from May through October, it having been designated a “Ski Trail”. On that day our national police force, the RCMP, had officers stationed behind trees to surprise dog-walkers and present them with warnings and tickets (with hefty fines), for, in my opinion, doing nothing wrong. I was incensed enough to make my views public, and to solicit for support for the cause of dogs and freedom on the Bruce Pit forums, here*.
Cesar, beware! You are entering a politically dog-unfriendly zone! We have here an institution that doesn’t understand it needs to loosen the leash, not pull it tighter. At one level up in the hierarchy, the dogs (ie us dog-walking humans) are balanced, but the master (the NCC) is not.
* I notice the link is broken. The site is now at www.brucepit.ca, but the discussion of the events of Jan 2010 is missing… I hope to get some of it bacq, it was some interesting stuff.