Monday, June 17, 2019

Reader's Diary #2043- Shawn Kobb: Street Dog

The last time I was in Vancouver I was taken aback by how many homeless people had dogs. For protection, for companionship, it made sense to me. But as this is not something I've encountered in Yellowknife despite having a large homeless population, I found myself wondering about the complications; are shelters accepting of these animals? Is it possible to scrape enough food together for a second mouth? And what about the economics? I'm sure some people are dog lovers and are maybe even more likely to donate spare change, I'm sure there are others who deem it irresponsible and withhold donations (the same folks who'd withhold donations for a homeless person who smokes). Of course, a homeless dog owner would be able to weigh in on this and I could only guess.

Which is why I could not say with any certainty that Shawn Kobb's "Street Dog," a short story about a homeless man and his dog, depicts a situation authentically.  There's one particular passage that decidedly didn't ring true to me:

It’d probably be more interesting if I said he occasionally hunts down a rabbit and returns it to me so I can clean it and cook it up for the two of us. That’d be a lie, though. I doubt he knows how to hunt rabbits, and I sure as hell don’t know how to clean one. Lighting a fire is a good way to get the cops to come down hard on you.

This came across as a writer wondering aloud if a homeless person's dog could do such a thing and deciding against it rather than the thoughts of an actual homeless person.

Otherwise though, I believed the emotion of the story and quite enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Back in the nineties I witnessed a homeless person being given dry dog food for his dog - and nothing for himself. And he seemed thrilled that someone cared so much for dogs that they went through all the trouble to do that. I think you nailed it. Homeless people have dogs because of the companionship AND the likelihood that it will increase their take from passersby. It may also, though, be a reason that some of them brave relatively cold weather rather than going to a shelter. .