As I walked along the beach near my home enjoying my daily exercise on a beautiful morning, a big black dog walked straight at me staring me down. I’m not a dog-lover by nature and instinctively raised my arms to my chest to avoid being licked or sniffed by this dog I didn’t know. The owner of the dog declared as she followed her leash-free dog from some distance, “This is a Dog Beach!” Really! I thought this was still a public beach open to everyone including the dog-less folk.
“My beach” has truly gone to the dogs. Not only is it the nearest beach to my home, but in the long uninterrupted stretch of sand and perfect water from Mount Martha to Rye, I believe it is The Best Beach for sitting, contemplating, paddling, swimming, wandering and picnicking. Well it was until recently when some public servants in their “wisdom” declared this popular spot to be a leash-free zone for dogs. So inevitably it has been inundated.
Last summer we had quite a few very hot days in a row with temperatures in the mid 40’s (Celsius). Thousands of people flocked to the beaches looking for relief. And they brought along their poor panting dogs totally ignoring any signs stating times when dogs are actually allowed on the beaches in the long daylight-saving days and evenings. I felt sorry for the dogs in their furry coats but it was absolute pandemonium at the “dog beach”. Dogs were everywhere darting happily amongst the people. They swam, dug holes, chased seagulls, chased each other, chased balls and children, then cheerfully peed and pooed oblivious of the people relaxing on nearby towels. The dogs had a ball!
I feel I have been effectively ostracised from “my own beach”. Who made this decision? Obviously dog lovers! I have heard no public complaints aired about this. Am I in the minority yet again? The silent majority have successfully bullied their actions into being once again with no thought or consensus. I am not against dogs or leash-free zones, but why they gave this perfect spot to the dogs is beyond my comprehension.
I wonder if this is how the koalas feel. Or the aboriginal people of the past? Or the smokers of today? (I am not a smoker, or an aboriginie, or a koala!). I feel powerless and without voice in this matter. I am being pushed out and will have to find an alternative beach elsewhere.
There are no officers employed to police and enforce the dog visiting times. And so the times are ignored by many dog owners. As a leash-free zone for dogs at given times, it is now totally a Dog Beach: The Best Dog Beach for Dogs in the Southern Hemisphere. What spoilt happy mutts.
If this is all I have to complain about in my life then things are pretty great.