The Dog Days of Summer

It’s hot here in the Northeast as we find ourselves in steamy July weather, heading into more of the same in August. I’m not complaining, mind you, some like it hot and I’m one of them. It makes it a bit tricky, or should I say sticky, playing golf and walking Rusty, but I would rather have it this way than be out at ten degrees with a thirty mile an hour wind in my face mid-January.


Rusty and I used to enjoy walking around the Tufts campus on a large field that was made public for dog owners. Unfortunately, a few irresponsible folk prompted the Dean to close the dog walking field while she pondered our liabilities. Apparently, there have been a few dog fights there, a few people bitten while trying to break up fights, several heated arguments have occurred between dog owners, and the police have been called in on a couple occasions to resolve issues. Not only that but, despite numerous requests, many owners refuse to pick up their dog’s waste and some fail to yield to oncoming farm equipment. All in all, a pretty raw deal.


Fortunately, our Dean has agreed to open the field again after the hay cutting and baling season but only under certain specific conditions. First, all dogs must be on lead except in a smaller enclosed off leash area (for those who want to risk it). Secondly, dog walkers will be required to apply for permission to walk their dogs on the field and will have to produce necessary documentation that their dogs are healthy and well-behaved. After so doing, they will receive a brightly colored tag to be attached to their dog’s collar during walks on our field. Thirdly, any misdemeanors will be dealt with by confiscation of the tag and, thus, a denial of dog walking rights.


It’s a shame that Rusty will have to be somewhat constrained after being free to gallop around the entire twenty-acre field since last summer, but some access is better than no access. These measures were necessary, the Dean said, not because she feared some person might be killed but because of possible legal repercussions. The worst damage that might occur, she quipped, was that a dog might accidentally get baled!


Incidentally, the farm staff reported that because of peoples’ failure to pick up after their dog many of the hay bales were contaminated with dog feces; a situation which no doubt left a bad taste in the mouths of many of our farm animals. Anyway, the weather’s warm, dog walking is a joy, and the summer marches on. With July the 4th behind us, Labor Day is creeping up. That’s when the students return in full force to begin another year. Right before that happens, I’m off to Colorado to give another one of my seminars and will invite anyone who lives in that area to check out details on my website (see under “Events”). I hope to see some of you there.

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