I am a criminal. I admit this without apology. Despite society’s pressures to be good, I wallow in the pursuit of lawlessness with delicious glee.
I walk my dog off leash in public parks. There. I’ve said it. It’s out in the open now, dear reader, and I confess my sin with pride.
Let me take you back to the beginning…
Three years ago, we adopted a dog from a rescue organization. He’s of indeterminate age and breed. The best description we’ve come up with is BBD—Big Black Dog. (PG rated photos of said BBD can be found at www.GwenCampbell.net He won’t pose for racy ones so don’t bother asking.)
Three years ago I was a good person. Responsible. Law abiding. I only drove five or so kilometers over the speed limit in town. I separated paper from glass. I didn’t wear white after Labour Day. That was all before the BBD came into our lives.
We’ve got a nifty wooded area a block from our house. On the other side of that, there’s a massive green space that backs onto two primary schools and two soccer pitches. Perfect for dog walking and the people in my neighbourhood walk their dogs, a lot.
Not everyone in my neighbourhood loves dogs, however.
Up until four months ago, there was a joyous peace between dog owners and the unwashed…I mean those without dogs. We picked up our dog’s poop. Their kind stuck to the playground, the paved path or cut across the soccer pitch to simply get from point A to B. We kept our dogs out of their way.
That system broke down when soccer season started and HE started coming around. The man. The heat. The white van patrol.
The by-law enforcement officer.
Apparently, somebody started phoning the by-law office, asking that the laws about unleashed pets be enforced.
That’s when WE took our criminal activities underground.
Oh we still break the law and love doing it. There are more of us than you’d imagine. Many, many more. These days, you’ll find us hanging out in the woods, huddled in furtive groups of eight to ten with our dogs running free around us. We still chat about the same things but now, our eyes move constantly. We’re always aware of where the exits are, how close we are to the paths that will let us make a speedy escape if HE shows up.
It’s with no small irony that, during those covert escapades, I think back on my misspent youth. How I’d slip out of the house before dusk, hang out with my friends in a woods or a field not so different from the one I do now. Somebody might have pilfered a beer from the fridge at home, and pass it around. We’d smoke cigarettes we were too young to buy legally.
Despite society’s pressures, like I said, I’m obviously a lifelong devotee of crime. Only now we sneak around so our dogs can run free. Unlike back when, however, I pick up my dog’s poop whereas I never picked up my cigarette butts.
Perhaps there’s hope for me yet. Gawd I hope not.
Look for Gwen’s latest book All Tomorrow’s Halloween Parties from Shadowfire Pres.