Gone to the Dogs

It’s hard to imagine the American West without our countless curs flapping their tongues out car windows, going blissfully insane at trailheads and, if there is water involved, shaking themselves dry, without exception, next to that one person who seriously doesn’t like dogs. There also seems to be a trend in the West for people to assume the name Dog. Not the urban Dawg, but just Dog. Has anyone else noticed that?

1) Good Dog!

We’ll start with the good Dog first. Ted “Cave Dog” Keizer of Portland has set hiking records just about everywhere he’s made a paw print. With the help of a long list of friends and family, a.k.a. the Dog Team, Cave Dog killed the Mighty Mountain Megamarathon, scaling (the Team reports he climbed 55, while the official number is generally 54) all of Colorado’s 14ers in 10 days, 20 hours and 26 minutes in September 2000. He climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in three days, 18 hours and 14 minutes in 2002; all 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains, including Mount Washington, in three days, 17 hours and 21 minutes; and the 35 Catskills peaks of more than 3,500 feet in two days, 15 hours and 24 minutes, also in 2002. He’s gotten a lot of criticism for his big support team and attacking the trails in a less-than-leisurely mode, but you can’t fault the guy for getting his job done.

2) Bad Dog!

A&E TV staple bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman has managed to piss off a whole bunch of people in Colorado lately, and they aren’t even the greasy vagabonds he culls for a living. First, we’ve got Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey all lathered up last July because Chapman blasted suspect Andrew Distel with pepper spray, then brought the fugitive into the sheriff’s office without decontaminating him first. Hilkey blogged that people were in danger of getting downwinded from Distel while “While Dog stayed outside, shirtless and sweaty, prancing back and forth, waving his golden locks for the camera …” Really? What’s this shirtless business, anyway? Chapman responded that he’d used the right protocol to clean up Distel, and that he even gave him a cigarette and clean shirt to wear. Oddly enough, the garment was a Dog promotional T-shirt. Chapman also threatened to return to Grand Junction to run for sheriff someday. Earlier that month in Breckenridge, the Chapman entourage barged into a crowded bar looking for someone who wasn’t there. The interruption resulted in a barroom melee that continued onto the sidewalk, with Chapman yelling his trademark, “Come one white boy … come on motherfuck*r!” A potted plant was thrown, a taser was brandished, someone’s shirt came off and someone ended up in the ER with 15 stitches to his head.

3) Why they go postal

In May, the U.S. Postal Service released its list of the top-25 most likely places to be attacked by other people’s curs. Houston topped the billing with 62 incidents in 2010, followed by San Diego and Columbus, Ohio, for second place, and Los Angeles in third. Elsewhere in the West, Phoenix took a respectable sixth place, followed by Portland in seventh, Denver in eighth and Seattle in 10th place. State Farm insurance processed 3,500 claims for dog bites in 2010, with California making more than $11 million in claims for 369 attacks.


4) Shocker! People like Labradors

The American Kennel Club released its highly anticipated list of which dog breeds are most popular in which cities, and we confirmed after exhaustive research that in Denver, and almost everywhere else, the Labrador retriever was at the top. Denver dog owners chose German shepherds and golden retrievers for second and third place. Portland and Seattle had the same top three, with bulldogs tied for third place in Seattle. It’s interesting that the smelliest breed (we’re basing this on the Must Swim in Foul Water Quotient, in addition to the Voluminous Flatulence and Dung Rolling scales) consistently rates as the most popular dog in America.

5) Dog party in San Diego

DogFriendly.com, in its 2011 list of best places for dogs, put Portland at the top, because Portland is always on the top of any list of things in the Known Universe that are friendly, hip, eco-conscious — you get the drift. We’re pretty much assuming at this point that bad/uncool things do not happen in Portland. Anyway, Chicago came in second and San Diego came in third for its availability of dog-friendly beaches, which are getting exceedingly rare these days. Kudos to Seattle (fourth place), because you can take leashed dogs on public transit. This means lower-income people can do crazy things like take their dogs to the vet.

6) Dogs we love

In American Humane’s 2012 list of dog heroes, there are numerous mutts whose deeds are enough to get most of us dewy-eyed. Take, for example, Sage, a border collie from Hagerman, N.M., who was called to the Pentagon as part of New Mexico Task Force 1 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She has responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, searched for missing or captured soldiers in Iraq and, locally, has helped find missing people. Sadly, she was diagnosed with two types of lung cancer in 2009, probably the result of searching through so much toxic debris. She now works with cancer patients and survivors. Probably the most tear-jerking account in this year’s picks is that of Roselle, a Labrador guide dog that took her owner down 1,463 stairs in Tower One of the World Trade Center after the plane hit the building in the 9/11 attacks. She passed away in June.

Tara Flanagan splits her time between Boulder and Breckenridge.