Su Lum: Slumming
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I have followed, with some amusement, the local debate over a proposed dog park for “little” dogs, defined as “dogs weighing under 20 pounds.” One of the premises behind it was that little dogs need protection from big dogs and, while that might occasionally be the case, my experience with little dogs is that it’s more often the other way around. A more defensible argument for a little dog park would be to protect the big dogs from the little ones.
We have quite a few dogs at The Aspen Times ” sometimes as many as a dozen ” ranging from moose-sized Mabel, a chocolate Lab, down to my miniature dachshunds, Nick and Freddie.
Bred to hunt vicious badgers, dachshunds might make the weight limit for a small dog park, but I can assure you they do NOT consider themselves, or act as if, they are “little.” Au contraire. They think they are the kings of the castle and that all the rest of those little mutts, even the ones who outweigh them by several stones, are the dirty rascals.
Saki and Sam are almost full-grown shepherd puppies who get down on their knees, their heads flat on the floor to make themselves look littler ” big dogs know they’re big ” and try to ingratiate themselves to Freddie and Nicky. The big dogs only want to cover their little faces with sloppy kisses, but the dachshunds will have none of it. Snapping (not biting) and screaming, they fend off the amorous advances and head to their bed under my desk.
Saki and Sam, and most of the other dogs at The Times, would do well in a dog park for amiable dogs (with size not an issue), but you’re asking for trouble with a dog park full of Yorkies, Chihuahuas and miniature dachshunds, so I agree with City Council for refusing to go down that road. Schnitzel, an un-neutered German shepherd, would do better in a dog park than my guys, sweet little dumplings though they are to me.
What my late dachshund Rufus considered a perfect day was seeing a UPS person flee across the lawn and leap the fence. Rufus never bit anybody (or another dog), but he did such a damned good imitation of ferocity that I never even thought about taking him to work with me, much less to a dog park if there had been such a thing back then. Great Dane? Har! Bring him on. I think delivery people will testify that the little ankle-snappers are their worst enemies ” certainly not the retrievers, with their leashes in their mouths.
Everything is relative, including size and temperament. I’m a small person, but I don’t think I’d fare particularly well if I were put in a park with other small people ” I’d want Bob Braudis to be in there with us to keep the peace.
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