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Woman who walks with the dogs – true(ish) story with pictures

May 31, 2011

In the end they sent an application for renewal of dog registration and I had to answer. It was just like The Truman Show. Every which way, I was hounded (pun intended). The people of the world with their ways, they were out to get me, no doubt about it.

I didn't make this up. Zoom in on the sign in the sky. No creative editing here, I promise. Punt Road, Melbourne as one strange art gallery.

I was out walking the dog and I saw a sign above the railway bridge. It read, ‘Blame and punish the individual.’ Beneath the sign, cars streamed into the tunnel and out of it, turning left and right, waiting at the lights, revving a bit as they waited. On the bridge, people waited for their trains, the 5.36 from Frankston and the 5.12 – running late – from Epping. No one looked at the sign, although it was huge, at least the size of a large plate-glass window in an art gallery. White letters on a black background. A big full stop the size of a basketball after the word ‘individual’. No one looked at the sign because they didn’t need to. They all knew it, they got the message, they were all breathing it in anyway. Individuals being blamed and punished, and doing their fair share of blaming and punishing too.

Lucky dogs can’t read, I thought as I looked down and shook my head. The dog was wagging her tail. She likes cars as long as she’s on her lead. She knows she’s safe with me.

Yes, we really do live in a funny world.

On the way home, I passed another sign that gave me pause. See? The world is not that real, don’t worry, I told the dog. She clearly wasn’t worried at all.

But then I got home and discovered that her registration was up for renewal. Now there’s a sign that you can’t ignore. She runs away, the Council finds her, they’ll be on to me with a fine, and who wants that? I could risk it, and it’s not that much money anyway, but there are some ways of the world that you might as well go with. The application letter said she was a small Australian Terrier, black, with no distinguishing features. The only part that’s strictly true is the part about no distinguishing features. It’s also the only part she’d appreciate, if I could tell her. She’d like that description of herself, I think.

Head not shown to protect the animal's privacy.

She wears a green tag on her collar, an extra tag, not just the one the Council gave me. It’s because she does run away occasionally. An adventurer, she is. A covert adventurer, which is why she likes to be indistinguishable. Goes out into the world, looks at its ways, and then comes home. Always comes home. I like that in a person, the homing instinct. That’s the bit that’s most true, and it’s what matters most about this whole thing, I guess.

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