Friday, September 16, 2011

A stitch in time .....

It is no secret that I love to cook .... so first first time visitors to my kitchen are often surprised to see it so simply equipped.  Somehow they always expect to see every appliance and gadget under the sun as if that was the secret to my success.
Does that mean I have stinted on anything?   Of course not!   All the useful bits and tools are here, eh?  It simply means that I have only collected those things that will either see regular use or make everyday jobs simpler.
How did I know the difference between the essentials and the bits that just take up space?    After thirty odd years of cooking professionally, I may not be jack of all trades ... but I am master of my own kitchen.   
In other words,  it takes a bit of expertise to know which tools are worth while and which are a waste of time and money.  
It seems like everytime we turn around this year, we have all been discussing dog bylaws around the province.      From breed bans to leash lengths and beyond, municipal councillors keep proposing every alternative under the sun except for the one single thing that would work.
When we love our dogs so much, it is easy to forget that they are not people on four paws.   Personally, I think that my dogs are often better than people ... more loyal, more forgiving and much, much more resilient.
First and foremost, municipalities need to change the focus of dog bylaws.  Don't concentrate on the dogs ... work on the people who own them.   In other words ... educate, educate, educate.
When I go for a hike in the woods with my dogs,  our easy walk harnesses make the experience enjoyable for us all.  ( And before the keyboards catch on fire, not every dog is meant to go offleash.   Miss Ruby would follow her beautiful hound nose halfway to Halifax ... and where she leads, Henry would follow.  In our house, the play yard is for galloping ... walks are a shared social experience to keep us all healthy and mentally active.   It is my job to protect them and keep them safe, eh? )
But I am wandering afield as I am so often wont to do.   The point I am making in my meandering way is that it was having readily available expertise has helped me broaden my own horizons and make better purchasing decisions :)  
So here is today's what if ..... what if the municipalities focused on creating better dog owners?   Smarter and more responsible dog owners?
If I wanted to purchase a gun to  carry in the woods, I would have to take all sorts of courses before I could legally do do.   If I wanted to Dad's old dory out on the lake with even just a backup motor for safety, there is a course I would have to take first.
I rather expect there are few councillors who would go out on a limb and make some sort of responsible dog ownership course mandatory for dog ownership ... seeing as politicians are ever reluctant to ruffle tax payers feathers.
But ... what if municipalities were to start offering free lifetime licenses for owners of altered pets who had taken obedience training?    Hmmm.   They could take it even one step further and sponsor seminars on the subject of responsible dog ownership.  Seminars that could be free for all owners of licensed pets?   Instead of fining pet owners with dogs at large, they could be obliged to take obedience training as well, eh?
At the end of the day, our dogs cannot be expected to automatically understand social constraints without a little help.  Straight, sweet and simple .... behind every "good" dog is a great dog owner.  
What time is it?   It is always time to remember that  the best way to create safer communities is to create more socially responsible dog owners! 

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