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Quiet Desperation

You’re right, owner of an unleashed dog — you’re amazing, and we’re lucky to have you


I have some very good news for some of you — and you know who you are.

You are exempt from all of the dog leash laws and ordinances and regulations in Douglas County. And do you know why? Because you are special. You are special and cool and different than everyone else, and your dog is simply better than our dogs.

And don’t bother picking up after your dog either. Someone else will do it for you, because you and your dog are special.

I could write a novella about someone who ignores something as simple and important as leash laws. In a single behavior, it tells me all I need to know - and want to know — about someone.

I met my first brother-in-law on a golf course. He cheated, and that told me all I needed to know about him.

A man getting out of his car in the grocery store parking lot dumped his cigarette butts and ashes on the ground. All I needed to know about him.

A passenger who get on planes with enough carry-ons for two, all I need to know.

God, or someone or something, is in the details. That aphorism is credited to architect Mies van der Rohe, who also said, “Less is more.”

Others have said, “More is more,” and “Less is a bore.”

There are two sides to every story.

Let me refer to a Peter Sellers film.

“Does your dog bite?”


The dog bites the man.

“I thought you said your dog does not bite.”

“That is not my dog.”

The other side of this story is this: I am seeing an unleashed dog and I am seeing you, but it is not your dog.

However, you call out a name and it comes running.

Whenever I see an unleashed dog, I think of Woodstock, because it was cool, man, to walk around Max Yasgur’s dairy farm with a large, unleashed dog.

It shows that you are an independent thinker, and the winds of life are at your back and in your favor. It shows that you, yourself, are an unleashed dog.

It also shows that you are a jackass.

I guess it’s cavalier. Some of us roll stop signs and follow too closely. Twenty items in a 10-items-or-less line.

Leashing your dog might be seen as a sign of conformity. You know? Do as you’re told. Draw inside the lines.

I learned how to draw because I didn’t have lines to draw inside of. I was given blank books, and was told: “Draw.”

But in real life, I draw inside the lines. And that’s why Smitty is on a leash.

An unleashed dog is a recipe for consequences no one wants. Your dog bites or is bitten. Your dog runs away or is run over.

As you all know, there are designated off-leash dog parks in Douglas County.

For what it’s worth, if a dog confronts my dog, I will do whatever I have to do to assure the safety — and longevity — of my dog.

Smitty thinks he is ferocious, but a larger dog could dismantle him quite easily. Sometimes dogs will just sniff each other, and sometimes they think they are Tyson and Spinks.

None of that comes into play, if your dog is leashed.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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