Rozlyn Kromhoff-Francis remembers her grandfather telling her the most effective way to complain was to write a letter and keep it civil.
“That way you can edit yourself … so you sound like an adult,” the late Jerry Huot said.
It was sound advice from someone who knew more than a little about the art of persuasion.
Huot was a former Surrey alderman and lifetime member of the Surrey board of trade.
When he passed away, Huot’s pet Yorkshire/Jack Russell terrier Missy was adopted by Kromhoff-Francis.
So when her late grandfather’s dog was denied admission to this year’s Canada Day celebration at McLeod Athletic Park, Kromhoff-Francis did exactly what he would have done.
The Aldergrove resident wrote an open letter to the Langley Canada Day organizers to express her disappointment and posted it online at http://rozandbryan.wordpress.com.
As she politely explained in her letter, Kromhoff-Francis and her husband checked the official website before they drove to the park to see if they could take Missy.
There was nothing that said “no pets.”
It was not until they had arrived and parked that they found out different.
So Kromhoff-Francis waited outside with Missy while her husband went in to get the mini doughnuts and other lunchtime treats they had come to sample.
During the approximately 25 minutes she was waiting, Kromhoff-Francis counted eight other dogs that arrived at the entrance only to be turned away.
Two belonged to an elderly couple who had gone to some trouble to dress in red and white for the day, adding red bandannas for their tiny dogs.
“While I understand some of the logic behind barring dogs from large, crowded events …. I feel there was much room for improvement in how this was dealt with,” she wrote.
At the very least, she suggested, the Langley Canada Day website should contain a mention of the no-dogs policy.
Organizers of the the Cloverdale rodeo and PNE both notify visitors to their websites that pets are not allowed, with the exception of service animals like guide dogs for the blind.
Kromhoff-Francis also suggested volunteers should be made aware of the no-pets rule. She and her husband were waved into the parking lot by two who clearly didn’t know about the rule, because they saw Missy and remarked on how cute she was.
Her letter also suggested arranging dog-sitting or doggy day care for pet owners.
When The Times contacted the Canada Day organizers about the letter, the response was quick and equally polite.
Spokesperson Lilianne Fuller agreed that the website should have some form of notification about pets and promised Kromhoff-Francis’ concerns will be discussed at the next meeting of the board of volunteers.
Kromhoff-Francis was pleased, but says she would still like to see some way for responsible dog owners to participate in Canada Day festivities.
And she said so in her letter: “I hope one day society can handle reverting to something closer to the open-air, family-and-dog friendly celebrations I used to enjoy as a child.
At these events me and my dog could meet a hundred new dogs in one day, people could come and go as they pleased and if we wanted to eat a half homemade-salad, half concession-hotdog dinner, we could — the kind of day I would really stick around for instead of just grabbing my donuts and going home.”