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               That’s me enjoying a meal at an authentic Italian eatery

I came back from my holiday feeling like a lump of foie gras after four weeks of eating and drinking my way through Italy. 

Anyway, I’m feeling good about this new plan to exercise daily, so I take my dog to the park. I’m going to let him run around a bit while I look for someone so focussed on their personal trainer, they won’t immediately notice that I’m following along.



But I’m stopped dead in my tracks. Someone has taped this poster around a lamp post.

That’s my dog. And the lovely woman who’d been watching him while I was gone. Her dog is there too.

Jesus. I don’t even have to be in this neighborhood to become the center of controversy. I rip the poster down and slink home to put Rufus on a pee pad and work out to a free yoga app.

The next day the poster is back up. It’s been wrapped in clear duct tape and takes me about 5 minutes to saw through it with my key. I have no idea what I’d say if someone called me out for doing this.

I think I’m protecting the lovely woman who volunteered to take care of my shitty dog since it’s because of him that this woman is now on some crazy person’s hit list.

The next day the poster is back up again. Duct taped even more thoroughly and joined by five other identical posters, posted on nearby poles. I take my dog to the groomer.

“Just make him unrecognizable.”  

To be extra safe, I start walking my dog at a park in East Vancouver. It’s a neighborhood with a more relaxed vibe. If my dog isn’t one of the best-behaved dogs there, at least he won’t stand out. On my walk around Trout Lake, I fall in behind two older men who are also walking their dogs.

“I’m only saying this because I’m concerned,” says the taller of the two.

A standard first line for any juicy gossip session. 

“The other day, I caught her hauling bags of dog shit out of the garbage. Again.”

“I thought she was selling used kitty litter,” said the other man who had an image faded beyond easy recognition tattooed on his left calf.

“You didn’t get her flier?”

They were concerned about a woman who’d been collecting and drying dog shit and trying to sell it as garden fertilizer. Apparently, the business had started with used kitty litter, but someone had removed all her fliers and replaced them with a photocopied article about how toxic cat poop is, especially for pregnant women. A few weeks later though, new posters had appeared, with a few moderations.

“Can you imagine what her apartment smells like?”

Then yesterday, I took my dog on a hike in Deep Cove. After, we stop to cool down a bit on a stretch of beach where a few dogs lie around, despite the by-law signs.  After a few minutes, a young woman walks past me, pulling a large gray cat on a leash. I think she believes she is actually walking her pet, but the cat has spread his arms and legs as wide as possible, seemingly resigned to being dragged. He bumps along after his owner, looking up at the sky trying not to make eye contact with anyone who’d recognize him.

Suddenly, the woman picks him up, wades out into the water and sticks him on a rock. She sits next to him, staring serenely out at the horizon, totally oblivious to her pet’s attempts at escape. Cat people are so weird.

Will someone print off a poster? Because cat abuse is a real thing. And someone should tell her.

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