The latest thing I’ve always wanted to do with my dog is take a road trip and go to a concert together.
In case you want to cry again, here’s the recap: I wrote last time about my dog Wally. He has lymphoma, and so we are fulfilling a Doggie Bucket List of all the someday-things we want to do as a duo. Things like dress as Han Solo and Chewbarka for Halloween, and eat dessert before dinner, and recreate the finest beach-running scenes in Hollywood history.
The response I got from that column was so overwhelming, and so touching, that world-class establishments would be wise to sponsor our adventures from here on out.
Anyway, I recently thought of this lifelong desire to take a concert road trip because an artist I’ve actually heard of was coming through this part of the world. No one I’ve heard of comes through this part of the world, unless it’s to play Telluride for the equivalent cost of my winter utility bills. Also, I haven’t heard of that many musicians—for instance, I recently discovered that Taylor Swift is not just a really speedy line of suit shops.
But I HAVE heard of Eilen Jewell and her country/rockabilly/surfer/blues music. And she was playing Ridgway and Moab two nights in a row. And the concerts were free! AND they were at farmers’ markets, so food.
I added “Road trip & concert” to the Doggie Bucket List, and I chose the Moab show to fulfill the wish. I had my reasons, but the main one is that Ridgway does not allow dogs at these shows.
That’s right. There really is a place in Colorado that does not allow dogs. Two, actually: concerts in Ridgway, and my day job.
The concerts I halfway understand: people would spend all their attention on ohwhaddacutedoggie, to the detriment of the band’s merch table. But my day employer needs to realize that I—and everyone else with a dog, probably—spend the entire day thinking “I wish I were with my dog,” which means that meeting minutes are actually just doodles of dogs, or brainstorms for the Doggie Bucket List. (Spoiler alert: none of the items are work-related.) If we had dogs at work, our meetings would be equally productive, and employee morale would be higher, because we wouldn’t bother having meetings at all.
But dogs aren’t allowed, so I spend the bulk of my evenings and weekends taking pictures of Wally for me to stare at while at work. And in Moab, I intended to take concert selfies with the band, because no one can say no to a happy dog with cancer.
At least, not to his face. They can say no from afar. This I learned when I read these words from the Moab Farmers’ Market:
“The city has a ban on dogs in all parks. Sorry.”
Woof. This directive stung, and not least of all because it diminishes the likelihood that Wally and I will ever road trip to see Eilen Jewell perform at the farmers’ market in Moab. But it stung deeper than that, like a splinter you can’t see because it’s in the deeper skin of your finger. It stung because it’s a denial of my very humanity.
That is not hyperbole. Lemme splain. There’s a scientific theory, developed by actual scientists or at least this one guy who wrote a book I read, that humans didn’t simply domesticate dogs. Rather, we evolved together as two parts of an inseparable symbiosis. We humans agreed to shed our basic emotional intelligence and carry the load of survival strategies and 50-pound bags of dog food. And the dogs agreed to shed their wolfish cunning in order to feel all the feelings for us, and also to fetch our slippers and pose for calendars.
In other words, without dogs, humans aren’t complete beings.
I can’t get angry at Moab for its inhumane park law, because really they are banning people who leave behind dog turds and people who think rabies shots are conspiracies.
But I can choose to pursue lifelong dreams for my dog and me in places where we are welcome and desired. We can enjoy the parks and trails in our hometown, which accept dogs and for which I am suddenly very grateful. We can enjoy plenty of barbecue scraps in the comfort of home.
And if you are interested in joining in the inspiration, we can continue our inspiring journey in the inspired setting of your world-class establishment. Especially if it’s on the beach.
This Fool’s Gold originally appeared in The Durango Telegraph and Four Corners Free Press.