One Dog and I – The Final Chapter

Through the years of writing this column I have championed several causes and, despite a cascade of words, I have invariably failed. Among these numerous failures, none has been as resoundingly futile as my campaign against dogs being brought to festivals. Since this is the last time I will ever mention dogs and festivals in this column, I thought a brief history of this subject would be appropriate.

It all began when I returned to Door County from Chicago and began working, once again, in my family’s bookstore. Much to my consternation, I discovered that, during Fall Fest weekend in Sister Bay, there were an inordinate number of dogs and their owners on crowded streets. I made some inquiries with the village and discovered there was nothing prohibiting dogs despite the fact that this seemed, to my mind (and many others I spoke with), an unnecessary danger.

My initial writings focused on the dog owners who brought these dogs and, of course, my complaints were ignored. Then one fall weekend, Barb and I took a mini-vacation to Cedarburg, which happened to coincide with that municipality’s Scarecrow Festival. As we walked the streets and noticed dogs in attendance at this celebration I came to the realization that these dogs were the same dogs that I saw at Fall Fest in Sister Bay! Dumbfounded, I enlisted my friend and occasional research assistant Caslon Bold to investigate the phenomenon.

In short order, we discovered that an outlaw band of dogs traveled from festival to festival across Wisconsin “adopting” people in each community to “take them” to the events. Further investigation led to the discovery that these dogs were led by a large, ill-tempered dog who went by the egotistical appellation “One Dog.”

With this discovery I changed my focus: if my village wouldn’t listen then I would focus my attention on the dogs themselves, particularly One Dog. Thus one February weekend – again in Cedarburg, this time during their Winter Festival – Caslon and I enlisted the assistance of another friend, Franklin Gothic, a tech geek who devised a sonar array to chase One Dog and his pack away from town.

Finding the dogs gathered just out of town the night before the Festival, we set up the sonar array and … lo and behold, it worked! The dogs ran off and were nowhere to be seen during the festivities the next day. Full of confidence we toted the equipment up to Door County ready to repel the pack from our own festivals. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate the dogs before Fall Fest’s start and the array simply didn’t work with the buildings and bluffs. One Dog and his pack had learned from our success and kept well-hidden leading up to the weekend.

It probably should not have surprised me that my success in Cedarburg, along with the fact that I had discovered and publicized the existence of One Dog and his pack, led to counter-attacks. Now instead of dogs and their human subjects simply walking past the bookstore, several would park themselves in front of my bookstore throughout the day’s events, occasionally ogling me through the doorway.

Indeed, One Dog himself made it a point to stop by each Fall Fest to stare at me menacingly before defecating on the store’s lawn.

Throughout the years, I continued to write about One Dog and his pack in hopes that action would finally be taken to end their attendance at Fall Fest. Unfortunately, all my writing accomplished was to further anger One Dog. The apex of One Dog’s anger came one year when a crudely written note arrived at the Door Reminder (where my column was being published) that threatened the health and well being of my cats.

In recent years, I have curtailed my complaints about the dogs at Fall Fest, though I have never truly dropped the subject. And despite all my efforts the dogs still flood downtown Sister Bay during Fall Fest.

Now, of course, the bookstore is closed and, for the first time in 24 years, I will not be in my bookstore in downtown Sister Bay for Fall Fest. And since I have no intention of attending Fall Fest, this year or any year in the future, the attendance of One Dog and his pack at Fall Fest no longer concerns me. Still, this past week I received another crudely written letter, which said:

“Most Repugnant Human Writer, I WIN! One Dog”

So let me close by addressing my adversary directly. Since he has always seemed to read every word I have ever written about him I have no doubt these words will reach One Dog’s eyes.

Dear One Dog, You are correct: you win. I am done. But allow me to express my appreciation for your faithful years of reading this column. And so there’s no misunderstanding let me close with these final words about you and I: