Like many parents, some of our favorite books to read to our young children were in the Beginner Books collection. One title in particular, “Go Dog, Go” by P.D. Eastman, was high on the repeat reading list for our kids’ bedtimes. My wife, being an enthralling storyteller (I’ve always thought she should narrate children’s books for a profession!) would read this silly story first published in 1961 night after night after night, delighting our kids with the simple, playful dialogue spoken by cartoon canines while driving around in colorful cars, “Do you like my hat?” “I do not like your hat!” “Alright then, good bye!” “Good bye!”
This classic children’s book came to mind last week as my wife and I were sitting at a table outside the new Starbucks in Montrose, watching the parade of people and pooches go by on an early mid-week evening. After a while, I began to notice how many of the cars passing by on Honolulu Avenue had a dog’s face hanging out of the passenger window. Big dogs, little dogs, dogs with floppy ears and dogs with pointy ears. If you want to see a picture of pure happiness, watch a dog with its head poking out a moving car’s open window. Oh, I know – it’s not supposed to be good for a dog’s eyes, or ears, or whatever to have all that air and particulates and whatnot hitting its exposed face. To which I can only say, bark me.
If dogs didn’t absolutely love the experience, it wouldn’t be so dang difficult to drag them back inside your car only to have them go right back to sticking their heads through the window as soon as you let go. A dog’s life is far too short to deny them a simple, joyful experience like that. I mean, wouldn’t you do the same thing if it wasn’t for all the stares you’d get as you drove past with your tongue hanging out? Trust me, people stare.
If my wife and I have dogs on our minds more than usual lately, it’s probably because we’ve been without at least one dog in our household for over three months now. That’s the longest period we’ve ever been sans-pooch. Needless to say, our dog-radar is on maximum sensitivity these days.
And so, sitting and sipping our caffeine-laden beverages the other night, we couldn’t help but notice the plethora of puppies on parade in cars, walking past on leashes, sitting contentedly while their owners enjoy coffee, being carried under arms, even pushed down the sidewalk in their very own strollers. (Okay, that’s a bit too nutty even for this dog nut.) One might even say that Montrose is a Mecca for mutts. Walking through town on any given day, you’ll see several stores with a shiny, stainless steel bowl of cold water on the sidewalk just outside the door. Besides being a kind gesture to the dogs that frequent the shopping park, it’s a smart outreach to the pet owners walking by.
My wife and I have witnessed several instances when a dog owner will be enjoying dinner outside one of many Montrose restaurants with sidewalk seating, and their four-legged child will be sitting right at their side as they power through a burrito at Joselito’s, a slab of ribs at Zeke’s, or roasted chicken at Black Cow. Being in such close proximity, I’m sure more than a few hungry hounds have been the beneficiaries of clandestine handouts of people food. Once this past summer we even saw a couple enjoying an al fresco dinner at Star Café who not only brought their small dog along for the evening, they had planned ahead to also bring a soft, cushiony pad on which their furry dinner guest was lounging with them at the table.
I could swear I even heard the lucky dog ask the waiter for a refill on its iced tea.
Go dog, go!
I’ll see you ’round town.