This week Montreal’s controversial pit bull law goes into effect. By the weekend the long arm of the law will be extended to the canine world. When the law was first announced I took it upon myself to interview a pit bull. Now that we are about to see how the law works once put into practice I thought it might be a good time to follow-up with my interlocutor once again. But before I could do so he contacted me.
He told me he and many of his fellow pit bulls have gone into hiding. He wanted to talk with me before the law takes effect. In an effort to keep his whereabouts secret he informed me by anonymous text message where I should go and when. He told me to wait and one of the members of the resistance would meet me.
I arrived at the appointed place on time and had waited for just a few moments when I almost jumped out of my shoes as seemingly from out of nowhere a large German Shepherd arrived and leaned against me, almost knocking me over. He was wearing a harness with a handle, hanging from the handle was a pair of sunglasses that, when I put them on I realized were opaque, and a white stick.
The glasses acted as a blindfold and the white stick and “guide dog” completed the effect. These dogs were organized.
After a difficult 15-minute stroll during which, while being led blindly, I tripped over my guide dog several times only to be helped up by good Samaritans, we arrived at our destination. Once I was allowed to remove my blindfold and my eyes adjusted to the light, I could see we were in what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. As I looked around I could see several pit bulls checking me out. Just as I was getting nervous I noticed my host ambling over to me.
We went through the same process as last time; he patted me down to make certain I was not wired (this time I did not assume he was going to maul me) then he asked to see the biscuits I had brought. It then dawned on me that last time I used the Milkbones as a bit of a bribe to get the interview, but this time he had asked me, so shouldn’t he be giving me something? I guess it doesn’t work that way in the dog underworld.
Once he was pleased I was not wearing a recording device, and he had crunched a few dog biscuits he motioned for me to sit at an old kitchen table under a single naked light bulb.
“So you got here without too much trouble I hope,” he began.
“At least you sent a service dog; I couldn’t see a thing,” I replied.
“Service dog? Don’t kid yourself,” he told me. “He’s not a trained service dog. He was only playing the part. Frankly I’m a bit surprised you didn’t end up in the canal…. If we were close to the canal…. Which we are not. Understand?”
“Okay, so tell me why I’m here.”
“Look around. We’ve been working very hard since the law was announced,” he explained. “This place is full of dog pelts of every breed known to man except of course for one. Our fellow pit bulls have been dropping by for several months; in one door as a pit bull, out the other as a Doberman or Poodle, perhaps a Great Dane if the dog happened to be big enough.”
I was certainly taken aback by this news. “But where are you getting these various pelts?”
“Dog cadavers,” he said.
“Cadaver dogs!” I exclaimed.
“No stupid. Cadaver dogs search for cadavers when there’s been a disaster. We use dog cadavers for our pelts.” he told me with a smirk.
“Oh, and just where do you get the dog cadavers?”
“Many dogs sign a ‘Pelt Donation Form’ that, once the pooch passes on, gives a moulting or balding dog a second chance. In this case we feel justified in using them for our cause.”
“That’s amazing! The authorities won’t be able to enforce the law because there won’t be any pit bulls.” I said.
“Exactly. Once this discriminatory law takes effect most of us will have to lay low at least for a little while,” he elaborated. “Considering what they will do to us – microchips, castration, permits – we are going into hiding. But right under the very noses of those who would have us banned.”
At this point one of the pit bulls who had been working away came over to me, barked and put his head in my lap. If the bark didn’t put me away, the proximity of his teeth to my flesh was making me edgy.
“That’s Carl’” said my host. “He’s apologizing for tripping you on the way over here. Remember he is not a real guide dog. We all have to do what we can these days.”
“He didn’t trip me.” I said “The dog who brought me here was a German Shepard. I saw him.”
My host merely grinned and nodded his head, stating “Not a bad pelt job eh?”
I was gobsmacked when it dawned on me how effective these camouflage pelts were. I asked why he wanted me to meet with me.
He took a piece of Milk-Bone and chewed on it for a moment, then said: “We have a wee bit of a problem. While there are plenty of pelts of all breeds – thanks to the kindness and generosity of our departed canine brothers and sisters – we need something else. You see, we have run out of Velcro. This has to be purchased, and we have the money – don’t even ask – but we are not welcome in stores.”
“I see, so you want me to buy you some Velcro. That’s easy, they have it at the dollar store.”
At this his right front paw came up like a traffic cop stopping cars. “No’” he said emphatically. “Lives depend on these pelts staying on. What if the cheap imitation Velcro came undone and exposed a pit bull in a Black Lab pelt? Huh, how would you feel then Chief?”
I had to admit he had me there. So I promised to purchase only quality Velcro. I told him I would go to a local fabric store. He suggested I find several such stores so I didn’t raise suspicions as I had a considerable amount of Velcro to buy. He pushed a fat envelope stuffed with cash across the table to me.
“Get the receipts please, we have bean-counter dogs too,” he told me while rolling his eyes.