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Another Portland Blog

Monday, June 09, 2008

 

Zoe the dog, lover of the local music scene?

On Sunday my parents and I decided to take their dog Zoe for a walk along the Waterfront. Given that it was the last day of the Rose Festival, this could have quickly turned into a disaster. Zoe's a young dog and had never really been exposed to things like battleships, crowds, rivers, bridges, dragon boats, Canadian geese, parade floats or Saturday Market. Despite the madness, she navigated the Waterfront like a champ but I learned that has a peculiar "phobia."

Of street musicians. The pooch can't stand them.

Or so I thought at the time. As we passed alongside Saturday Market we ran into a guy playing the blues on an old Fender. Zoe froze and flopped over on the ground in front of him. It took some nagging and a minute of reassuring pets to get her going again. Thankfully, the bluesman didn't seem offended by this sudden burst of unsolicited criticism from the local furball community.

Then the same thing happened in the middle of a gigantic crowd as we were trying to make our way to the Hawthorne Bridge. She had no problem diving into an ocean of humans, kids and dogs but the minute Zoe laid her eyes on a drummer banging on a row of buckets she flopped over again. Juxtaposed between the drummer and a large kiosk set up for a Rock Band tournament she completely froze. The clanking buckets and the mangled guitar cords of a gamer botching "Mississippi Queen" formed a, quite frankly, terrifying cacophony of sound.




And so a circle in the crowd quickly grew around myself and Zoe. I had to quickly think of a way to convince her that neither the video game nor the buckets were going to attack us. After another minute of embarrassment and me saying, "It's ok, music, crappy or otherwise, can't hurt you," Zoe came to her senses again. We made a beeline for the bridge and got her back to the car without further incident.

Then at the car she flopped over again. It was at this point that my mother decided to reveal that this is some sort of new game for Zoe. I have no idea why she withheld this information up until this point. Maybe she thought it was funny or maybe she was getting back at me for something I did to piss her off as a teenager. So, apparently, the dog now lays down when she doesn't want to leave a given place. Zoe has done this at various local Pet Smarts, her doggy daycare center, at least one dog park and whenever she's brought back in from the backyard on nice days. It's hard to tell if she was scared of the musicians or actually liked them. For the sake of this anecdote, I'm going to roll with the later.

Regardless, my parents' dog is an expect in the art of nonviolent resistance. I can only assume that she must have caught a History Channel documentary on Gandhi at some point. But is she really a lover of the local music scene? I remain unconvinced until I see her running around with a Blitzen Trapper bandanna tied around her neck.

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