Dogs, cats and Silt officials can’t everyone just get along?
“Weber and Wyatt, STOP chasing the cat!” husband-head yelled at our two large yellow Labs the other evening as the entourage went screaming through the living room. “Somebody is going to be in BIG trouble if we have to go to the vet!”It’s not that the dogs don’t like the cat – she’s been here far longer than they have and they’re used to her – I think they just get bored sometimes.”HEY! I’m tired of this chew toy … let’s go chase the kitty!” they signal to each other in secret dog language.It’s partly the cat’s fault because she encourages them by running in the first place.But for the most part, the pets all get along and despite their difference in species, even cozy up and sleep together.Unlike the elected officials and employees in the town of Silt, Colorado.Not that we recommend that employees or officials sleep together – although it has allegedly happened a few times in the past – it just seems like lately these prominent people are having a hard time playing well together.In the last six months, the police chief was demoted, the town treasurer was canned, the town administrator and his wife, the town planner, both quit due to personnel issues, a trustee resigned rather than face a recall and the mayor is currently in the midst of a recall petition initiated by the mayor pro tem.It’s like a bad soap opera.And this isn’t the first controversy being stirred up in Silt. In 1998, the town had a recall election and removed three trustees from the board. Last year, the town made national news when a number of residents banded together and tried to get the name “Silt” changed because they thought it sounded “dirty.”Like the bumper sticker says, “Silt Happens.”Granted, when one is elected to a board or hired on to work in a government office – or any office for that matter – there is no guarantee that the different personalities within the organization will mesh.Kind of like when you add a new pet to your family without knowing if it will blend well with the one or more animals that are already there.I remember when we brought our dog, Wyatt, whom we rescued from the pound, home for the first time to join Weber. I gave them a 3-foot long rawhide bone to play with, which I thought they would enjoy.It started a HUGE fight.The cat, on the other hand, hid under the bed for about a week.It took awhile, but eventually they all got used to each other and lived peacefully together.”Giving the pets a chance to work out their differences is important,” said veterinary behaviorist Gary Landsberg in a recent article in USA Weekend. “Then again, you don’t want them to practice not getting along either so that (being disagreeable with one another) becomes a learned response. And, most of all, if anyone gets hurt, bring in professional help.”Instead of recalls and resignations, perhaps the town of Silt should invest in some of those squishy sponge bats and people could just bop each other over the head when they have a disagreement.Sure, every party in the Silt saga claims to have a valid reason why they are taking certain actions and there is probably truth in all of them. But there should be some other way to resolve their problems.Dogs, for example, usually just sniff the other animal’s rear end and call it good.Again, not that we recommend Silt officials do that, or bite each other, but it does seem to work.In fact, animal behaviorist Ian Dunbar, who writes about pet behavior on dogstardaily.com, says the old phrase “fighting like cats and dogs” is “ridiculous.”How about “fighting like Silt town officials?”What was ironic on the Web site was a “recall salad” recipe that includes five pieces of kibble, five pieces of freeze-dried liver, five small cubes of cheese, one dog, one human and one yard.”Randomly toss one piece of kibble, liver or cheese into the yard, away from human,” it says. “Allow dog to process the tossed food, then call back to position.”By replacing the ingredients of “yard” with “council chambers,” “board” for “human” and “dog” with “trustee”, maybe the recipe would work for Silt.And perhaps everyone could get along.Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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