Last Sunday Montrealers elected a new mayor. Unseating the incumbent and electing the first woman mayor in the city’s history caused an upheaval at City Hall. The mayor-elect is an animal lover and therefore many pit bull owners will be pleased with her election as the contentious breed-specific ban must surely be doomed.
The photo above is from Tuesday morning when the mayor-elect and her team posed outside Montreal city hall. Behind her are several councilors and advisors from her party. I was surprised to notice that over the mayor-elect’s right shoulder is a familiar face. Yes, indeed, none other than my friend and pit bull contact. Seeing him there, I just had to meet up with him for one last interview.
I tried contacting him in our usual manner, but with no luck. So I decided to take the (pit) bull by the horns and show up unannounced. When I arrived the atmosphere in the campaign room was palpably different – downright positive, none of the nervous tension that I had experienced before.
I walked in and was ready for the customary frisking as one of the larger dogs checked me for wires. But no, they just waved me in. No more fear of being exposed. I waited until a large Doberman ushered me into the little office with the snout-level table and one chair and there he was.
He seemed to have a large cigar in his mouth and pointed with his paw to the chair. I sat down as instructed and he removed the cigar from his mouth.
“Welcome writer guy,” he greeted me. “I meant to get back to you but things have been crazy around her for the last few days as I’m sure you can imagine.”
While he was talking I had my eyes glued to what I thought was a cigar but was now clearly a well worked over rawhide chew stick.
“Thank you for agreeing to see me,” I replied.
“No, it is I who must thank you,” he explained. “I have no doubt our interviews in your newspaper helped our campaign greatly.”
“I don’t write for a newspaper. I have a blog.”
“Huh? You mean you’re not with the Times of Globe or some such publication.”
“Nope, sorry,” I said. “You should have figured that out when I agreed to pay you for our interviews. Journalists don’t pay for interviews.”
“Not even Milkbones,” he said dumbfounded.
“No sir, nothing, nada, zippo”
At this, he stood and left the room for a moment. Upon his return, he had what looked like a cigar box in his mouth. He dropped the box on the table and returned to his spot opposite me.
“There you go,” he started. “Now we’re even. Open up and enjoy.”
I obeyed and flipped the lid up to reveal about a dozen perfectly rolled rawhide dog chew sticks. No being overly keen to take him up on his kind offer I delayed and stammered a bit. Then, for the first time since I met him several months ago, he barked. A real deep-down full-out wall-shaking big dog single arf.
Once my heart returned to a normal pace, I got up off the floor, regained my seat if not my composure and … well … stuck a rawhide chew stick in my mouth. At this he did something else for the first time, he chortled. I did not know dogs could chortle, be he certainly did. For a moment or two, we sat in silence chewing our rawhide (I must come clean and admit I have had beef jerky that was worse).
I told him that I had seen his picture on the front page of the newspaper and was surprised to see that he had evidently played a role in the election campaign. I knew from our previous interviews that he was intent on lobbying both candidates, dancing with both devils, but I was curious about how he became part of the winning team.
He enlightened me saying “One day I attended a rally for the challenger. As you know at that time we pit bulls had to go about incognito, so I was wearing a labrador retriever pelt. She made the usual fuss over me like all politicians do, but then when she scratched me around the ears she inadvertently undid the velcro and exposed my face.
“But she didn’t get huffy or angry, she just slipped me her mobile number and asked me to call her. Needless to say, I did and explained our plight. She listened patiently then asked if I could help her get out the vote. Let’s just say that there was more than one voter who was pulled – with an arm in the mouth of a dog – to the polling station. Voter turnout is essential to the democratic process.”
So you are confident that the pit bull ban will be done away with, but what about the required muzzle?” I asked.
“Firstly the mayor-elect has promised to allow her party members significant freedom. No muzzles for them, no muzzles for us. Secondly, the provincial government has recently passed Bill 62 banning face covering, what could be more face-covering than a muzzle I ask you?”
It would seem my pit bull friend has all the political angles covered, no need to resort to violence. Alas, if only people could be this sane.