What do you know--checking out the Times website and guess who has an op-ed-- not just an op-ed but one of the "most e-mailed" stories--saying exactly what I've been saying about human and animal relationships AND dog parks (okay, so I didn't quite tie them together. But it was implicit). Yes, Mr. Greatest-New-Writer-To-Grace-Planet-Earth Mr. Jonathan Safran Foer himself! Actually, it's a very well written and thoughtful piece, even if he failed to cite me. I'm just grateful somebody is getting the word out.
He notes that by closing off-leash hours (still being debated here in NY), humans further separate themselves from the world of animals. I quote:
"In the course of our lives, we move from a warm and benevolent relationship with animals (learning responsibility through caring for our pets, stroking and confiding in them), to a cruel one (virtually all animals raised for meat in this country are factory farmed — they spend their lives in confinement, dosed with antibiotics and other drugs).
How do you explain this? Is our kindness replaced with cruelty? I don’t think so. I think in part it’s because the older we get, the less exposure we have to animals. And nothing facilitates indifference or forgetfulness so much as distance."
He goes on to say that humans learn from animals that "living on a planet of fixed size requires compromise, and while we are the only party capable of negotiating, we are not the only party at the table." [Brief aside--you are the only party literally "at the table." Everyone else has to wait under the table. The table in itself is anti-animal!]
Hear, hear. And pretty mucher right here--turns out Foer and George (his dog) live around here and are daily visitors to my beloved Prospect Park! I may have sniffed the butt of the dog of the biggest wunderkind to hit literature since...well, since the last wunderkind to hit literature.