I love government, sometimes they show us just how intelligent our pets are. I was minding my own business one day, bound for one of the most challenging hiking experiences in northeastern West Virginia, when I came upon this sign with challenging instructions for every type of visitor possible…well, just about.
Following instructions for backpackers, bicyclists, and horse-bound riders, the happy trail sign makers added instructions for the most intelligent creature known to man: your dog. It even concluded with shouting instructions, warning the literate creature to “Leave no trace!” This, as you know, is one command a dog can understand- when depositing a load on the trail, the dog can indeed promptly consume it- also leaving no trace behind.
I am wondering just who did commission this Bush-era sign for the Spring Ridge Trail, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the artist was formerly known as Prince…I mean was formerly a department of education employee. As a devoted American-based educator, I can honestly state that as educators, we are all so thankful that Laura Bush explained to us how all children can learn. And since all children can learn, it is not too far of a stretch to say that all dogs can learn.
Following that premise, the construction of this relic of wisdom commenced with a flourish, as is obvious by the happy font of warning that is leaning forward. With concerted effort and thought, the artist carefully constructed lettering appealing to the eye and every potential reader. It might also be noted that the leaning italic font employed in the warning makes it easier for dogs to read, since they often turn their heads slightly to one side. I used to think this was a sign of stiff neck, however, I now realize it was just a habit dogs follow in order to better read print.
It might also be noted that although this sign in West Virginia addresses dogs, Virginia does not have signs addressing dogs. I can only deduce from this variation that only West Virginia dogs can learn, as in Virginia it is difficult for a dog to learn new tricks. This would explain a lot of things, including why West Virginia has voted more creatively in primary elections than in Virginia…obviously with the help of these literate voting creatures.
This brings up all sorts of issues, ones that congressional staff employees will surely need to study in order to give informed advice to those sage representatives who have no time to do such things. West Virginia congressmen (and congresswomen) will need to propose legislation allocating money for these worthy projects. It is incumbent upon the hard working members to lend their support for these projects to determine the inherent rights of these literate citizens, including their rights to a fair and speedy trail, presumption of innocence, and the right to poop in public. It is imperative that we give these government officials time to investigate, to do ten year follow-up studies of dogs who read trail signs, comparing them in longitudinal studies with their owners. In the long run, we can trot out some statistics that will prove once and for all what these sign makers knew several years ago- dogs really are deep thinkers.