I am an owner of an adorable rescued boxer mix puppy (I will gladly provide photos or video of the cute mutt if asked!). My dog has already brought me much joy, and I hope through further training he can become a therapy dog to bring joy to the infirm as well.I can envision a variety of ways in which Mrs. Winfrey could help us. Realistically it's unlikely I will ever hear back from her or her people on this, but can’t hurt to ask, right?
I live in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., an area of the city experiencing a lot of renewal in recent years. There are many other dog owners in the neighborhood who, like me, desperately desire a neighborhood dog park: a place for our dogs to play with one another and to run freely and a place to congregate with other dog owners. Unfortunately, dogs seem to represent the changing identity of the neighborhood, and long-time residents vehemently oppose the idea of a dog park (admittedly there are some irresponsible dog owners in the city who hurt our cause through not picking up after their dogs and through not properly caring for/training their dogs; I pick up the waste of other dogs whenever appropriately armed . . . ). The mere suggestion about carving out part of one of the publicly owned fields or parks in the area is consistently met with vehement opposition (usually without any consideration of the land’s appropriateness for use as such), despite the fact that many of these spaces are underutilized or not used at all. It is sad that people want to forego a neighborhood amenity seemingly solely because it would benefit newcomers to the neighborhood.
I write you because I know that Oprah is a great unifier of people and a lover of dogs. I do not know what specific sort of show/segment idea this necessarily presents but believe that it would be interesting to probe the mentality of dog owners and dog opponents (I do not think this is a rare situation, particularly in the neighborhood renewal context). Much healing and dialogue needs to be done to bring the diverse neighborhood of Shaw together, and salvaging the relationship between dog owners and the dog-less is a baby step in the right direction. I think dogs and responsible dog owners are an asset to a community and think Oprah can help bridge this one gap in our neighborhood.
Photo Credit - January 2006 cover of O Magazine, copyright Harpo, image found online