We see so many signs relating to dogs on our travels that I’m starting to think sign writing would cease to exist as a profession if our national obsession with dog ownership abated.
It seems that everywhere we go there are signs either warning dog owners to control their pooches or non dog owners to beware of the (presumably) well-controlled dogs. Honestly, it’s getting so we can’t go anywhere without spotting a dog-themed notice.
Just for fun, I thought I’d post a few here.
These days, most responsible owners ‘pick up’ after their pooches (I’m using euphemisms here); however, there are still a few who carry on regardless, making other people’s lives a minefield of doggy turds. So I applaud any attempts to remind people of their duty to clean up after their dog.
This sign was spotted on the Gower peninsula a few weeks ago and is directed at those who’d prefer to whistle and look the other way while little Fido is doing his business (much like the young lady at the base of Pen y Fan who resolutely refused to acknowledge her golden labrador’s antics despite it being on a lead she was holding),
The next notice is aimed at a particularly odd group of dog owners – those who take the time to scoop up the stinky poos and are even prepared to bag it. Said bag tied, they consider their public duty done and sling it into a nearby hedge or worse, a tree. Yes, we’ve all seen those little coloured bags dangling from up high like shiny Chinese lanterns. So, just in case anyone was in doubt…
Sadly, some people are so credulous, they think all it takes is a politely worded-note, a smiley face and a kiss.
Joking aside, it isn’t easy being a dog owner. Not only do you have to carry steaming ‘presents’ around in your coat or trouser pocket, often for hours, but it’s not always easy to find somewhere to actually walk your mutt (so he can do his business). Some places make it pretty clear dog owners are not welcome..
Others employ slightly more tact. They might not want you ‘here’ exactly but they’re more than happy to direct you ‘over there’.
Others use diversionary tactics. Instead of just coming out with it and saying ‘we don’t like dogs around here’, they prefer to imply that the reason they don’t really want dogs around is because our four-legged friends have some rather anti-social habits… like smoking.
Sometimes walking your dog isn’t the only thing land owners get upset about.
I should perhaps explain something about this particularly prescriptive notice. The home owner lives in a rather luxurious house immediately behind the sea wall at Goldcliff, near Newport. Unfortunately for this intolerant man, the Wales Coast Path runs directly along the sea wall in front of his property.
Hiker and blogger Charles Hawes describes what happened when he dared to stop and take a photograph of the striking pink property. ‘I was shouted and sworn at when I had done so and the angry occupant started chasing after me. It was only when I looked back that I saw the array of “dos” and “don’ts” that had been placed on a sign by the path, including “No Photos”.‘
Back then, the notice was still intact but when we were there a few weeks ago, it seemed as if people had got a tad fed up of Mr Pink House and had started destroying his sign letter by letter.
The irony is that a few Christmases ago, his dog ruined our Boxing Day walk. Locked out of her home and clearly bored, the golden labrador bitch insisted on following us for miles. When we reached lanes near Redbrook this became a real problem – the poor dog had absolutely no road sense and very nearly caused an accident by running in front of a car. Not wishing any harm to come to her (or anyone else!), we had no choice but to retrace our steps and take it home. Ironic then that this man threatens to ‘destroy’ loose dogs. Delightful man.
Of course not all dogs are friendly. Harri has been attacked by large dogs on several occasions when out running on public footpaths, which is why I applaud owners who at least warn you about their dangerous dogs in advance.
The next one is posted outside a house at Lower Machen. Harri was running there this morning and he said from the amount of furious barking he could hear behind walls and fences, it seemed like the whole village of nineteen houses was being guarded by the Hound(s) of Baskerville.
Actually, I’ve sometimes wondered if the dogs are as bad as their bark, that some of these notices perhaps overstate the danger just to keep people away.
That certainly wasn’t the case as we passed one gate at Penmaen, Gower. In fact, this German Shepherd was going so crazy as we walked past, a lady driver rolled her car window down and commented how scary he could be. The notice suggests there are more than one of them too!
But my favourite doggy sign has to be this one. I love its simplicity, how it gets its point across in the minimum of words.
Circular Walks on the Gower Peninsula by Harri Garrod Roberts is now available on Amazon.