Thursday, July 30, 2015

Know-nothing nature lovers

I used walk along a paved trail where I was living at the time. Lots of folks walked their dogs there, too. As temperatures rose, some of them tried to hydrate their dogs.

Depending on how far I walked, there are four drinking fountains along the way. The one at the far end actually had a ground-level drinking fountain for dogs. But the others did not. 

Some dog owners bring a little water bowl along. Some fill a cap with water. Some let the dog drink directly from their water bottle. Great idea having dog germs on the water bottle you drink from.

One time I saw the owner of a toy dog lift the animal so that it could drink from the (human) water fountain. Get dog germs on that, while you're at it.

Now, why do I mention this? Because I left something out. The trail was right alongside a river. That's why it's popular. It's scenic.

It doesn't even occur to these dog owners that on a hot day, the logical way to hydrate your dog is to walk it down to the river–just a few yards a way. You know, the way people water their horse in Westerns? Or nature shows where wild animals frequent the local watering hole. 

Not only could the dog drink, but on a hot day it could cool off in the river. Jump in. Get wet all over.

But somehow, these dog owners can't make the connection between a river and a thirsty dog. How do they think animals hydrate in the wild? Do they think wild animals drink tap water?

No, wild animals drink from rivers, lakes, ponds–even mud puddles. 

I'm sure most of these dutiful dog-owners pride themselves on being animal lovers and environmentalists, yet they don't know the first thing about nature or animals. Even when nature is right under their nose, they can't make the connection.

I suspect their problem is that when the look at their dear pet dog, they don't see a canine–they see a furry human. And since they (the dog-owner) wouldn't drink river water, they subconsciously imagine that's unsanitary for a dog.

Of course, dogs have a tougher digestive system than humans. For that matter, our forebears had a tougher digestive system than we do. 

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