Monday, March 30, 2009

Panting Lines

There is a dog on every corner of the city.  Go out the front door and look.  One dog at least.  Rottweilers, Pitbulls, and Dobermen, alternating with Golden Retrievers, Yellow and Black Labs, Russian Wolfhounds, Greyhounds, Weimerauners, Burmese Mountain Dogs, Alsatians, Whippets, Scotties, St. Bernards, and Great Danes.  Bulldogs in rugby sweaters wearing derbies surrounded by defective pugs, long-haired schnauzers humping Pomeranians humping miniature pinschers.  A thousand poodles, spaniels, maltese, and terriers vanishing into chihuahua.       

They are there by dint of populist aggregate, by misplaced urges (parental or partner), by snowballing conformist compulsions.  They are there by desire-- people have chosen to bring dogs to the city at double or triple the human population  (or to match a quarter the purported rat population).  There is a brief period in the morning where central park belongs to dogs.  They are allowed off-leash between 6 and 9 on weekdays and humanity is proven secondary to caninity.  But now by dint of populist aggregate you can walk to your corner and grapple with a stranger's dog.  You can walk up to your corner dog, wrestle it to the ground and rub its belly until the legs kick with instinct.  Slake that brief flash of affection that would otherwise be spent hugging the pin oaks that grow from every sidewalk. You will notice that once you are satisfied and walk away feeling somewhat refreshed the dog will walk back to its designated spot: a perfectly painted outline of the dog where he or she will stand, sit or lay for the length of its shift waiting for the next person to walk by.

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