GK: Not long ago, a leash law was passed by the City Council of Columbia requiring that dogs not be allowed to run loose, and also that dogs recycle their trash and not smoke except in designated areas, and in the interest of hearing both sides of a controversy, my next guest is a Golden Retriever from Columbia, and your name is----

TK: Rex.

GK: Rex, how do you feel about this leash law?

TK: Let me put it this way. (MUSIC UNDER, VIOLIN) A man's friends may turn against him, his own children may be ungrateful, he may lose his money, his reputation, but no matter what happens, your dog will never turn his back on you. Your dog will stand by you in good times or bad, he will guard you in your sleep, and when all other friends desert you, your dog will remain faithful. And even when death takes you in its cold embrace, your dog will remain by your graveside, his head between his paws, faithful and true. A person who would leash his dog is a person who would put leg chains on his mother.

GK: I take it you don't like it.

TK: I think that when you restrict the freedom of dogs, number one, you're going to see an increase in crime, and number two, people's lawns aren't going to look so green, and number three, you're going to see a decline in the quality of dog breeding.

GK: So you don't feel that dogs running loose are a nuisance?

TK: In a town where you got thousands of 18- and 19-year-old men running around unleashed, I'd say "nuisance" is a relative term.

GK: Do you think that----

TK: And I must say: you put dogs on a leash and it's only a matter of time before you've got grown men and woman going around with Baggies on their hands having to pick up dog poop. I personally hate to see that.

GK: You don't care for that----

TK: I think it's undignified. I wouldn't do it. And I'm a dog.

GK: Are the dogs of Columbia planning any sort of demonstrations or ----

TK: We've been exchanging d-mail and talking about it. And we're planning a Chew-In this summer followed by a Take Back The Leash March. Lassie is flying in and Toto. We're going to chain ourselves to the obedience school.

GK: Thank you, Rex. (PLAYOFF)

© 1997 by Garrison Keillor