Turtlecop! All Three Exciting Episodes! Next!

April 7, 2008

night rider

Although the scarf and helmet might suggest appropriate turtle use, the stirrups are ergonomically  unsuitable, as is the upright posture needed for this activity.

First Episode

I was nearly finished my Saturday morning at Tommy Thompson Park, on the Leslie Street Spit, when I saw a large dog merrily galloping across my line of sight. This dog and I were still far enough into the park to be beyond the signs that tell humans not to bring their pets to the park, and the sign that carefully explains why not to. While I realize that canine literacy rates in Canada are very low, I thought surely there must be a human owner somewhere about.

A minute later I caught up with bowser. He was on a ridge a few metres higher than the trail. He was defecating. I started to pull a pick-up bag from my  coat pocket. It was then that a guy maybe 30 years old, about twenty feet ahead of me on the trail, softly called his dog. I waded in with both flippers.

“First of all, you should be picking up after your dog! Second of all, he should be on a leash! Third, dogs aren’t allowed in here — the park is well signed!”

The poor bagless schmuck told me that he had just been explaining (the other guy with him was apparently a stranger) that when he was growing up here, he used to let his dogs run all over the place. Ignoring the logic that if he already knew his error, he should have already called his dog, I replied, “Well, it’s now a sensitive wildlife area, and dogs are not allowed! I don’t bring my dog here!” Handing off the bag to the hangdog owner, I went on my way. About twenty minutes later, while waiting for e.g. to meet me, I saw the young man leave the park, his big bouncy dog on a leash.

And I felt…really kinda crummy. I rarely intervene like that. If I hadn’t seen the owner, I would have simply picked up the poop and grumbled to myself about some people giving dogs a bad reputation. And I also didn’t know how much of my speaking up had to do with the fact that e.g. and Cai and I had come here one morning last summer, read the signs, and decided that e.g. would drive Cai over to the offleash area at nearby Cherry Beach while I explored the spit. If I’m going to abide by the rules, then by golly, everybody else can too!

Second Episode

When e.g. swung by with the car, I told her what had happened. Her first response was, “Anger can be a deterrent.” Then she proceeded to relate another example of citizen policing that she’d heard at the dog park that morning.

A woman walking her dogs saw a much younger woman eating take-out chicken pieces and dropping the bones on the ground. Older woman told younger woman that chicken bones can harm dogs. Younger woman started arguing with older woman and insulting her. When older woman walked away, younger woman threw the chicken bones at the dogs.

Final Episode

Yesterday, I played one of my least-favourite games: Homework Police. I had gotten one version of requirements from Jack’s mum, and was getting another from Jack. Much growling and squealing throughout the afternoon and evening ended with Baby Bear going to bed in tears, and Papa Bear (me) mad at everybody. This morning, as we were getting our coats on to head for the streetcar, I told Jack I made a lousy cop.

“From now on, if you’re gonna write your homework assignments on your arm and lose them during your swimming lesson, that’s your problem, not mine. Any time you want my help, I’ll be glad to help you; otherwise, you’re 11 now, so it’s time to be responsible for your own stuff. Okay?” Jack listened, silently, seriously, nodding. Then we headed out together to the transit stop. Jack got on the streetcar and waved; Turtle waved back, and threw away her badge.