Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pony Up or Go to the Dogs

I spotted this enigmatic scene on my dash through downtown Vancouver yesterday afternoon.  I'm not sure if it's the local Pony Police who prance about in a campaign to stamp out smoking, or if he's a friendly horse of a different colour trying to cadge a smoke from an unsuspecting nicotine addict.  Perhaps the person lighting up rode the critter in to town from a cowboy hinterland and decided that this spot looked as good as any to hunker down and set up camp.  As I was sprinting to catch a bus, I didn't have the time to linger and offer a sugar cube (unlaced) to the the pony or anything a little stronger to the puffer to loosen his or her tongue.  I guess we'll never know the true story of this little vignette;  life's mostly like that, there's just no use in neigh-saying it.

Speaking of a horse of a different colour...I came across some more unexpected livestock on my foray into the big city yesterday.  I hope that pretty red-haired dog whisperer has some hefty plastic bags stashed somewhere about her lithe body as these fellows could leave behind some serious doo-doo on this trendy, pristine, downtown street. 

I'm always impressed by how well-behaved and downright civilized most city dogs are.  They don't rush at passers-by, go for strangers' crotches, try to race after, hump or kill other canines they encounter, strain at their leashes dragging their owners in their wake, or otherwise make a public nuisance of themselves.  Out in the country where I reside back in New Brunswick, dogs have a tendency to behave in such unbridled behaviour while their owners blithely ignore any droppings their canine pals may feel moved to leave behind.

What I don't understand, however, is how people living in apartments (sorry, "condos") of limited square footage and immediate outdoor access can manage to house such large beasts for pets.  I think an investigation into this phenomenon would make good fodder for a doctoral dissertation on contemporary anthropological trends in city life.   Or at the very least, a new novel by Vancouver writer, Douglas Coupland


  1. Ah I see that I may be the first to indulge in some dogged horseplay here! Great photos, I was without my camera yesterday while out and about in the rain and as a result missed a fab shot of a flock of seagulls, some ducks, a few geese and a pukeko!

    However, you're right (of course)-just how does the psyche of dogs change when they're citified, what harm does it do them?

  2. It might be a father waiting for the bus, which will take him to his child, waiting for ages now to ride upon a horse.

    Amazed as well by the "hinterland" word, which is indeed of German origin.

    With regard to the dogs, it was the first job of mine, taking them for a walk. Guess that the first thing animals in big cities do, is to avoid having their ears up, listening to their environment.
    For sure eyes open wide for the wonderful song, which I haven't heard in nearly a decade. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday.

  3. Saj,
    Lovely to see you first in line with a bright shiny comment! The line-up here is short, but lively. Much passing back and forth of flasks and chips goes on, not to say you're a chippie or anything! (actually, I'm not really sure what a "chippie" is...but I'm almost positive that you're not one!)

    Isn't it always the way that the rare time one ventures forth without a camera is guaranteed to be a time when a primo photo op presents itself? And yet, one never learns. Or else the camera batteries give out (been there, done that too many times).

    On the bright side, that many fewer photos to have to deal with.

  4. Robert,
    Bless your loving fatherly heart to think that this picture depicts a dad taking a much-longed-for toy to his little son! A lovely twist on this little vignette.

    I didn't realize "hinterland" was of German origin. It's a word much used in Canada, at least by me.

    Dog walking could be a challenging occupation, but fun for a dog lover. My sister dreams of being a dog walker to make some extra money once she retires. I've only had one dog in my life, and that was more than enough for me! She taught me patience and was very sweet, but certainly a big responsibility.

    I'm glad that the tune stirred up some old memories for you. I hope they were good ones!

  5. Ah Mad Lynne...
    I snorted and neighed and guffawed and galumphed my way through this epic post which brims with unbridled humour and philosophical questions about canine life on Mane street, errr, Main Street, sort of a Tail of Two Cities in sociological visions, laced or unlaced, and since when do sugar cubes dress up in lace anyway ??? Perhaps the lace would be more fitting for the pretty redheaded dog stroller ? Looks like one of those dogs saw you taking his picture too, but she, on the other hand, was demurely ignoring the photographer. As for the supply of plastic bags, unless they were stashed discreetly in her décolleté, I'm not sure where else they could be hiding. Poor thing, I wouldn't want to picture her having to stoop to gather up their dejections, she looks a bit too graceful for that decidedly distasteful duty...

    As for the pony, perhaps it had just been won at a carnaval ? There must be a carnaval in downtown Vancouver, no ?

  6. Life is a carnival, Owen; or rather, a 3-ringed circus. Some dare to be the high wire acts who soar between swings or dangle from spinning ropes while looking sexy; others, acrobats who roll and tumble along but always land on their feet smiling; many become sad clowns trying to milk a laugh from their ridiculous plights; a significant number tame lions or boss elephants about while shouting loudly and cracking whips; a few balance on galloping steeds racing in circles while trying to beat the odds of falling off; a good many frolic with dressed-up canines, trying to teach old dogs new tricks; and the vast majority of us come in silently and darkly between the acts with our scoops and shovels and little brooms so that the stars of the show don't slip in the shit or the audience smell anything bad. Not everyone gets to wear the spangled tights.

    If you want to talk to me, I'll be in ring number 3 with my broom and dustpan. I hear you have some experience with those tools, yourself. Maybe you could apply for a job with the carnival. Who knows, you might even be able to work your way up to Clown.

  7. that first scene is certainly an enigma and begs the question - it is the kind of thing seen here in mexico city - the city of magic realism on a daily basis - and something i really treasure about this place - the totally inexplicable that has a certain magic...

  8. Send in the clowns ! I'll be ready to join their ranks any day now, the broom duty is getting a little old...

  9. Hi Catherine,
    A daily dose of big city magic realism sounds just like what the doctor ordered! Or perhaps, for some, it's cause to visit a doctor.

  10. Perhaps, Owen, it's time to run away from the circus altogether. I remember seeing a picture in a magazine of a painting of a circus bear peddling for all his worth through the countryside. The painting was based on a true story of a trained bear who had escaped from his circus captivity. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, he was recaptured. I guess it would have been an equally hard go for him to either make a living in any other sort of profession or to return to the wilds. But what an ingenious fellow, for a bear!

  11. It's a tempting thought, running from the circus, but starvation is not such a tempting alternative, and until now I haven't stumbled on and acceptable utopian community... but my eyes and ears are open...

    Who-da thunk that I'd have to come all the way to France to join the rat race.

    So are you back east again ??? I though I saw Moncton in the traffic feed earlier... was that you ??? Will be curious to see what you'll be doing next... Maybe we could both be dancing bears somewhere ?

  12. Ah, Owen, just how many bloggers do you know from Moncton who hang out at your blog? Yup, that was prob'ly me you saw flying my flag there.

    I am, indeed, back east, having arrived in the wee small hours of this morning. Still very much in recovery mode.

    The rat race in France looks so much sexier from this side of the pond. Maybe I'll swim over and join in.

    I'm interested to see what I'll do next, as well.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Toady Bear, may I have this waltz?

  13. Laughing !


    Skulking you are, ey... that's good practice then for life in the woods with the bears and other critters... dancing or otherwise...

    WV is "miniz", as in the female bears had to wear miniz when dancing in public... err, waltzing...

  14. I haven't told you yet about my days as a go-go dancer...