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Canine Controversy!
by Lizard Man

A lot of people are bitching about having to leave their dogs at home this year. Get real! Stepping in dogshit whilenude really sucks, as does having to smell dogshit for three days. But even worse than the flagrantly rude impact on fellow participants, is the effect on the canine of being in a powerfully desiccating desert environment where 120 degrees in the shade is a normal daytime temperature, with bizarre smells (gunpowder, partially combusted hydrocarbons, rotting meat) and loud, disorienting noises. Just look at any Burning Man bulletin board or e-mail list after Burning Man each year and you will notice the number of "lost dog" entries, which actually exceed the number of "will the cute member of the opposite sex whose name I can't remember please contact me?" entries.

The desert abounds with dangers for domesticated pets, and in many ways, this year's site is even worse than previous year's, because of the hot spring. For those not in the know, one of our pirate radio stations, Spike Memorial Radio, is named for a dog who slipped and fell in the hot spring at Fly Geyser. Now, poor Spike did not fall in one of the swimming holes a safe distance from the geyser. Spike fell in one of the normal-looking, yet broiling-hot streams that flow from the geyser to the pools, and was instantly scalded to death. Actually, it wasn't instant he struggled for almost a full minute before succumbing. But the message should be clear: the Hualapai Playa and Fly Geyser area and grasslands are not safe for pets. Besides the scorpions that currently live in the vicinity of our camp, there are predators in the hills and at the edges of the desert, and they are wild. Dogs are an easy mark for them, as well as for the ranchers who consider wild dogs a nuisance to be shot on sight. Finally, once lost on a 25-square mile playa with no landmarks, a dog -or small child, for that matter- has an extremely small chance of survival, let alone return. If you didn't have the good sense to leave Rover at home, allow me to express to you, in advance, my sincerest condolences over theloss of your dog. Ha! Read your information packet next time!

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