What’s your dog’s name?

Visiting the pristine Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria last weekend, I was happily soaking up the peace, gazing at the gorgeous vistas, deeply breathing in the natural fragrances, running along Norman Beach, taking dips in the crystal clear waters, and wondering what else makes me love this place so much.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilsons Promontory National Park

Then it hit me – THERE ARE NO DOGS!!! Hallelujah! PERFECTION! And further to that thought; no dog owners trying to convince everyone how adorable their mutt is and how it wouldn’t ever possibly bite or snarl at anyone. Yeah right!

Please Please Please powers of bureauracy never ever ever allow dogs into Wilsons Promontory National Park. No matter how much they try to convince everyone that it would be a fair thing.

What’s not fair is that so many people are not obeying local laws thinking their lovely smelly slobbering fleabag is the exception to the rule. Our beaches are plagued with them. Dog non-lovers (and there are a few of us) are ignored and forced to share our beaches with dogs at all times of the day despite the rules.

Recently I was sitting near two little girls on the beach on a hot summers day and a lady was blatantly walking her dog along the beach without a lead in the middle of the time of day when dogs were not supposed to be there at all. The little girls father was out in the water with his little boy, and a long way away in terms of supervision or protection of the little girls. One little girl said to her sister, “I’m scared of dogs.” The other sister replied nastily, “Get over it.” The point is that the little girl should not have been made to feel scared at the beach. She should have been able to enjoy the experience unthreatened. If something had happened the father was too far away to be of any use whatsoever. But that is another issue.

So beautiful Wilson’s Promontory I will keep returning to have my soul renewed with natural beauty quietly confident that it will continue to be a sanctuary, not only for the Australian wildlife that lives there, but also for the people like me who do not share a liking for dogs.

The Dog Beach

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.

dogs_on_beach“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.winter_solstice

If this is all I have to complain about in my life then things are pretty great.