Picture the outdoorsman in a plaid shirt. He’s rugged-good-looking, a few days’ worth of perfectly even stubble dirtying a rich tan.
His sleek kayak rests on the shore. Virgin forest stretches into an immaculate sunset. A hearty campfire throws up heat and light. And a dog lies quietly and obediently at the flip-flops of its master.
What a load! You paddlers with your stupid barking dogs. There is no tranquillity while your mutt rummages through my dinner scraps, tramples my drying gear with its dirty paws and lifts its leg on my tent.
We paddlers come together at campgrounds, riverbanks and festivals.
Often we pitch our tents less than a paddle length apart. Strangely, we all get up in the morning at the same ungodly hour, at 5 a.m. when some dog yips at a chipmunk, striking up a canine chorus.
I’m no dog psychiatrist. I can’t explain why doggie A attacks doggie B. What I do know is that about every 10 minutes, one dog owner jumps up and runs screaming across the campground to tear his beast off the bleeding neck of another.
Worse than the chaos on land is the frenzy in the water wrought by the moron who brings his dog paddling. It either launches into the river, nearly drowning — word to the wise, the doggie paddle doesn’t serve anyone well in class 3 or higher rapids — or gives chase downstream, thrashing through the brush and barking itself hoarse. Great idea. Thanks for not thinking about anybody but yourself.
Which brings me to my final point: If your dog behaves badly, it’s because you, the owner, have brought it up poorly. You, the owner, have failed this dog and, consequently, you have failed us.
Leave the dog at home.
— Ben Aylsworth
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