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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Conversations With Dog

   I've often wondered what my dog and I would say to each other if he could actually speak. It occurred to me almost immediately that he does speak, as long as I'm willing to listen. I spent some time on translation, and did my best not to anthropomorphize Murphy's end of the conversation. That's tough, isn't it? To not make everything in our own image? It's fortunate that we don't succeed. It's a work in progress for me and probably will remain so, but at least I try. Ah, to be a flawed human...

   Our last conversation at the park might have gone something like this:

Murph: I would like to go over here...I smell a squirrel!

Me: That's fine buddy, this is your time. Sniff away...

Murph: Please throw the toy...I will do anything just to ruuuun!

Me: Yes of course I will. I love to see you leap up to grab your Frisbee or to chase your bouncy ball. Your  exuberance is contagious and it makes me laugh. Go get it!

I throw the toy until it feels like my arm might fall off. I watch Murphy leap and spin and take off running like his little stub is on fire. All the while I can feel the happiness coming off him in waves, and can almost feel the tension leaving his muscles with each fluid and powerful stride. I launch him like a rocket with each throw; he dutifully returns to my side with his toy every time. It's a game we know well and that both of us enjoy.

Murph: I'm worn out now, but want to keep chasing. THROW IT!!

Me: Enough running buddy, but lets walk for awhile so you can cool down. Why don't you and your nose go exploring?

Murph: YES!

Murphy revels in the relative freedom of his long line. After years of work and the acquisition of impeccable off-leash skills, the line is merely a formality. Even so, it keeps him safe and makes me feel better too. I connect it to a harness so there's no tension on his neck, and Murphy feels 'free'. He sniffs at all the delicious smells; dogs and squirrels and things I can only imagine with my limited senses. I wonder what he thinks.

Murph: I see a dog...It's coming right at me. What do I do what do I do what do I do...oh yeah, I run to you. It'll be okay, I run to you and you feed me and smile and tell me I'm awesome. I can do this I can do this Oh no it's coming closer I can do this I don't know if I can do this....

Me: Good job buddy. You are awesome. Sit behind me. I've got this.

Me to interloper dog while gesturing emphatically: NO!!! Get lost!
Me to dog's owner: CALL YOUR DOG!!!
Murph: Whine!

The dog finally leaves and we continue to walk. Murphy slowly returns to his 'sniffun', but continues to spare a nervous glance over his shoulder in the direction the other dog came from. Eventually he is calm and relaxed again. It seems like a lot to worry about, to have to be constantly watchful so that my dog can feel safe. To be so unpopular with the 'friendly' dog crowd. Maybe it would be so much easier to have a dog without 'issues'. Maybe. But this is only one side of the story.

Another day may look something like this:

Me: I don't feel like going. I don't think I can handle it today.

Murph: Yeah! We're getting ready to go somewhere!. It doesn't matter where, car trips are awesome! Hurry hurry, get ready lets go!

Me: Okay buddy, if you say so. I can do this. Right? I can do this...

We get in the car. Murphy is impeccably well-mannered as always. He looks out the window but doesn't stick his head out. He never makes a sound no matter what we pass. He calmly observes the landscape as it slides by. We arrive at our destination, and Murphy stands up.

Me: I don't know if I can do this today.

Murph: Oh goody! A visit to the doctor! I get treats in there sometimes. Lets go!

Me: Okay...

Murphy waits calmly while I put on his leash, then unceremoniously jumps from the car. He looks at me with soft eyes and wags his stub with enthusiasm.

Me: I don't know if I can do this. I don't know. I don't know if I can handle this today.

Murph: Hang on to me. I've got this...

And he always does. 

Murphy is exceptionally good at his job. Maybe it would be easier for him to have a person without "issues", but he doesn't seem to mind. This is the other side of the story. He loves and gives without resentment or complaint. He speaks with his eyes and with the honesty of his tireless enthusiasm. I have no right and no room to complain. We humans could learn a lot from conversations with dogs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Crazy Train

Common FB forward
   My sister and I like to assign individual ring-tones on our phones to our family members. "My" personal ring-tone on her phone was Ozzie Osbourn's "Crazy Train". No, I wasn't offended, and of course she knew that.  I love to laugh at myself, at the occasional absurdity of life and especially at the sometimes literal craziness that I live with. Making everything serious sucks all the fun out. Allowing things to be too serious can also serve to let them take over, be all-encompassing and an unwanted, primary focus. Laughing at 'the crazy' takes away a lot of its power, freeing me up to live my life focused on other things; things that actually deserve my attention. Even so, I have come to accept that, yes, sometimes I'm going to bring up the 'disability' topic. Based on the numbers, you all don't mind reading about it anyway. It's part of my life. Not the most important part, but a relevant part. I think I mentioned that I had a tough winter.

   Every once in awhile I read something that makes me go "Huh?" It is usually my habit to just be dismissive, but when I see the same annoying thing over and over again and it's supposed to be something that represents me in some way, I can't stop myself from saying something about it. The sentiment expressed in the photo on the right gets passed around Facebook a lot. While I get that it's supposed to be supportive and promote awareness, I have an exceptionally hard time with the idea that mental illness is the result of "having tried to remain strong for too long". I can't speak for everyone of course, only myself, but...huh? I understand fully that it's certainly not a sign of weakness, but I guess I don't get where illness is the result of 'trying to be strong'? I prefer to look at physiological (No, that's not a typo. I meant to say  physiological) problems from a more scientific position: Brain chemistry is a heritable, physical thing. Because it's a 'brain thing', it manifests in emotional/behavioral ways. Like any physical illness, if someone with a predisposition for a specific illness is exposed to the 'right' (or wrong) set of circumstances, the illness manifests. Think: Someone with a hereditary predisposition for diabetes who eats a steady diet of sugar and carbs.

   Because I can only speak for myself, I can easily say that I inherited a predisposition for certain issues. I can see aspects of different issues in most of my family members to varying degrees, and have heard about some pretty severe manifestations of issues similar to mine in some of my close relatives.  I know from my experience with animals that temperament definitely has some heritable characteristics. It's really not at all surprising. But here's the deal: Take two people with the same predisposition. First, you take one person with a predisposition, let's say for debilitating anxiety, and you set them up in an unhealthy environment during a crucial developmental stage, then put them in a position of daily, constant stress. From there take away the few things that provide security for that person, make them struggle to meet their basic need for years, add more responsibility than that person is really able to cope with, leave them alone to manage by themselves, add a healthy pinch of judgement and stir. That person is going to fully express heritable anxious tendencies because the environment that this person exists within supports that. It's not a matter of 'being strong for too long', it's a matter of putting an anxious person in a situation that would make an average person anxious. It's feeding sugar to a diabetic.

   You take another person with the same temperamental makeup and put them in a supportive, nurturing environment, allow that person the safety of knowing that needs are going to be met and though the anxiety isn't going to disappear, it certainly isn't going to manifest as forcefully. Given enough time, this person may even be able to manage their anxiety to a degree that it ceases to be debilitating. Just like changing the diet/exercise patterns of someone who is borderline diabetic, it becomes much easier to manage the illness, or even reverse it. Unfortunately for our hypothetical people, the longer they remain in unhealthy circumstances the more difficult it can become to get healthy again. The more time that goes by, the sicker that both the anxious person and the diabetic are likely to get if nothing changes. That's life, unfortunately.

  Somebody told me the other day that mental illness is a choice. People can choose to be anxious or not. People can self-talk their way out of panic attacks if they try. Sure, in the same way that a person can talk their way out of kidney disease or cancer. Unfortunately, that ignorant point of view is as pervasive as it is inaccurate, in spite of all the information to the contrary that exists now. Who would choose to be mentally ill? Seriously?

   Many people go through harrowing life experiences without ever developing mental illnesses, in the same way that some people go their whole lives eating crappy food and never develop diabetes. But we are all individuals. If a person can self-talk their way out of panic or sadness, they aren't experiencing mental illness, just normal human emotions. And they are not the same thing.

   A predisposition to ANY illness is not a character flaw, a weakness or a sign of laziness. It is not an excuse to judge someone or assume they are somehow 'less' in any appreciable way. Mental illness is an illness; the malfunctioning of a specific organ or system within the body. It is not the result of being strong for too long. And it is most certainly not a choice.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kidz n' Dawgz

Image Credit: Everett Collection
   This may come across as a bit 'rant-y' because it's about a subject that really gets to me. I don't mean 'gets to me' in a warm, fuzzy way either. I haven't recently had any irritating experiences involving kids and dogs, but the subject has definitely been brought to mind by this blog entry with imbedded video: Smart Dog: Dog body language

    Like the author of that blog, I too find myself having a hard time watching 'feel good' stories involving animals and for similar reasons, and I find myself cringing extra hard when kids are involved.  In fact, I often find the portrayal of animals in the media to be quite distressing. 'Cute' movies with dogs that speak in human voices and convey human emotions seem like harmless forays into fantasy for the most part, but sometimes they have unintentional long-term effects. People tend to ascribe human behavior and emotional characteristics to dogs to an alarming degree, and it's much to the detriment of the dogs' life experience. Treating your dog 'like a person' doesn't do him/her any favors. In fact, to do so is to disrespect what a dog really is; a super-cool animal that's evolved specifically to be our best friend and companion. Not less than a person, but not the same as a person either. Dogs have unique dietary and emotional requirements that we don't share, and visa-versa. Doesn't it behoove us to learn something about dogs before inviting one into our home?

   Unfortunately, many people learn everything they know about dogs from movies and television, and neither is a great (or even good) source of information. Many pet owners know so little about dogs that they don't even realize that there is more to know. Often these folks are parents too, and that's when the 'fun' begins. I strongly suspect that the folks in the above video are entirely clueless about what is happening to their daughter's poor service dog. It would appear that they have a pet dog too, but handling a pet is a whole world of different from handling a service dog. Even so, pet dogs are the vast majority and deserve to be treated with respect. It is a parent's responsibility to learn what that means and to teach that lesson to their children. Children who don't grow up learning respect are the most likely to be bitten. When I was a kid, if a dog bit me the question was "What did you do to it?" Now though, in our litigious society, it's like a federal offense no matter who's fault it is. Sometimes a bite is the result of a negligent dog owner. Often though, the bite is a direct result of a dog being mishandled by a child in an unsupervised (or even supervised) situation. I am familiar with a recent, local situation where a dog bit a child in the face. The parent was called "a saint" because she didn't press charges. The dog was put under quarantine for ten days, and had to wear a muzzle any time she was outside. The part that very few heard about though, was that this child is wildly out of control, had almost unlimited access to the dog and was pulling on her face and refusing to let go when the bite occurred. The dog was a little sweetheart of a thing but had nobody defending her from this onslaught. It took her months to finally snap. Unfortunately this kind of story plays out again and again while people stand around scratching their heads and wonder "What happened?"

   The troubling things I see the most often are severe boundary-busters; things like kids laying on top of the dog, kids grabbing the dog's face, trying to ride the dog, etc. As I type that, I can almost hear a chorus of "Yeah, well my kids do/did that and nothing bad aver happened. My dogs are/were great." To that I say, so what? That makes it okay? You are lucky that your dog is/was kind enough or respectful enough of you to put up with that. Just because a dog is tolerant doesn't mean they should have to be subjected to that kind of treatment. By allowing that, you not only allow your child to harass your dog, but you fail to teach them how to respect animals. So...when is any of that okay? In my opinion, NEVER. And most dogs are not going to put up with that, and that's normal, not bad. For the ones that do put up with it,  if you were to look at the scene objectively and not as a parent, you can see that the dog isn't happy but merely resigned. I hate seeing that and it isn't fair. And yes, I am a parent. I am a parent who took her young daughter to work with her in two kennels. While my daughter was always supervised (as all kids should always be around all dogs), I knew that she grew up respecting our dogs, and that it would translate to a respect for dogs in general. To say "it's okay to disrespect our dogs but not others" makes no sense at all, and kids do what they know far more often than they do what they're told. It has to begin at home. My daughter never crawled on a dog or pulled on a dog's face, she learned how to respect a dog's space, but she loved them anyway.

   There are a lot of great things that kids and dogs can do together. Done right, the kid/dog combo is pretty awesome. Kids can learn (supervised) care of the dog, take a turn at feeding and brushing. There are games like fetch and hide and seek that are a natural source of amusement for both kids and dogs. While I think there are very few children under ten that should be walking a dog or handling a leash, they can certainly take part in (supervised) positive obedience training and trick training. Some kids are naturals:-) There are so many wonderful ways for kids and dogs to bond that form a positive association for both, that it really makes no sense at all to allow children to invade a dog's space. For the child, growing up having a respectful and fulfilling relationship with a dog is a positive lesson they will take with them into adulthood. For the dog, having positive experiences with children at home means the dog is less likely to develop problems with children in general, and ensures a better quality of life for a beloved family member. Isn't that a better way to go?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Canine Eugenics

   Okay, I only kinda sorta wanted to write this, but I was asked for my opinion and I can't resist an opportunity to hop on my soap box. There HAS to be a venue for my soap box, right? The question was: "Considering your preference for purebreds, what do you think of the whole 'situation' around the conformation ring and the breeding of purebred dogs that are potentially unhealthy?"

How's that for a loaded question! And as always, I DO have an opinion on the subject:-)

   As to the first part of the question: YES, I do prefer purebreds. I prefer them because in spite of individual character, there are consistent breed traits, so I know to a reasonable degree what I am dealing with. I also know what to look for in terms of health. If I buy a purebred puppy (from a reputable, ethical breeder) I can do so armed with the facts about that breed's health risks, and I can see verification of the appropriate health tests done on the parents. If that information isn't available, then that's not a place I would ever spend my money, regardless of how many titles a dog's parents have. If I am adopting from a breed-specific rescue, they often will do the appropriate tests as well. This is an even better option for many because the dog's adult temperament is already in evidence and it's much easier to find the right new friend for you. Either way, while there is never a guarantee where a living being is concerned, I know that if I do my homework, I can at least stack the deck in my favor.

   There is this notion that mixed-breed dogs tend to be healthier. I didn't do any research on this personally so I can't say it's true or it's not. Many folks say it is, and I do believe it. For one, mixed breeds are generally not the result of in-breeding or line-breeding. Despite what some breeders say, I will probably never think that in-breeding is okay. While it may be the quickest way to 'fix' a desirable characteristic, it is also the fastest way to emphasize health problems. Check out what happened to the Hapsburg Dynasty. I mean really; common sense should prevail here, but it doesn't. Even so, two of the unhealthiest dogs I've ever met were mixed breeds. The first has had two knee surgeries due to congenital deformities, and has severe hip displaysia that is likely to result in at least one more surgery. The knee surgeries occurred before she was four years old. The second was just sick for the better part of a year after adoption. He had a persistent parasite load, chronic kennel cough and gastrointestinal problems that just kept randomly occurring. He is the shiny picture of health now, but it takes a lot of management and took a long time and a lot of money to get him there. I don't have the resources for those kinds of surprises; I don't have the house to mortgage to pay for multiple surgeries. It colors the way I think about acquiring a new canine friend.

   It could be argued that those things could occur with a purebred. Absolutely true. Especially if all you are looking for is papers or titled parents. This is where I would like to stress my main point which is: REGISTRATION PAPERS DON'T MEAN "QUALITY". All they mean is that both parents are purebreds. All those puppies coming from puppy mills are registered purebreds. It means nothing. The other point is: TITLED PARENTS DO NOT MEAN THE PUPPIES ARE HEALTHY. There are no health requirements at all to show in the conformation ring. It sounds like they've started a health initiative in the UK for conformation dogs, but here in the U.S., the AKC has promised the breed clubs that they would never do health checks. Nice, huh?

   Having said that, it's easy to see why I much prefer the 'working' version of a breed to a 'show' dog. Having the "right" look is completely irrelevant to me, I want vigorous, healthy and able. I also get really annoyed when I watch dog shows on TV and I hear the commentator say over and over "now that dog really looks like it can do the job it was bred to perform". I'm sorry, but that doesn't mean anything if the dog can't ACTUALLY do it. There are some really terrific breeders out there with physically beautiful dogs that are health-tested and actually DO the jobs they were bred to do. In my opinion, those folks are GOLD. Unfortunately, they are also few and far between. And the exaggeration of characteristics continues to get more and more extreme to the detriment of the dogs. For more about that (and it's a really big and horrifying deal) check out this blog: Pedigree Dogs Exposed. There is also a documentary film of the same name that's a real eye-opener. Because I'm a fan of working breeds, I am particularly concerned about what's been done to the German Shepherd Dog. Their backs and hindquarters have been entirely crippled on purpose in order for them to be seen standing in a particular way.

   I know many people are pro-rescue and anti-breeder. Some think that all dogs would be better off if they were all mixed breeds. I don't think that's necessary. And in fact, ALL mixed breeds are the result of an irresponsible human being, to one degree or another. These are not the folks I want put in charge of the future of the canine species. I am pro-rescue AND pro-ETHICAL breeder, but also pro-common-sense. If we put the dogs first when we made choices for them, puppy mills would be illegal. People who bred their dogs for asinine, selfish reasons ("so the kids can see the miracle of birth" or "she's really nice I want one like her" or "my friends want puppies") would stop doing so. Show breeders would make the health of their dogs the primary concern and eliminate the extremes and the unhealthy characteristics from their breeding programs. Even better, dogs bred for a purpose would be required to attain a performance title and pass health tests before they would be allowed to set foot in a conformation ring. That would be COOL. In an ideal world, "pretty" wouldn't be good enough, and "extreme" would be unacceptable. There would be no more dogs with such poorly constructed facial characteristics that they have to gasp for breath while taking their victory laps around a conformation ring. Having a dog that can't breathe properly win for 'conformation' is absurdity in its truest form, in my opinion . I'm not alone in that assessment, either. AKC registrations are declining at an alarming rate.

   I guess in the end, money talks. Fortunately, more money than not is going toward the adoption of rescue dogs, both mixed and pure-bred. For now at least, that is the best choice when looking for a new best friend. For those with specific requirements, there are breed-rescues and ethical breeders. If we keep talking with our money, maybe the rest will eventually go extinct. It would be great to live in a world where we put the needs of the animals we bring into the world ahead of our own shallow interests.

Okay...let the onslaught begin!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Back in the Game...sort of...

    Whew! I don't do 'sick' well at all. Most women get sick and go about their day like nothing happened. I'm ashamed to say that I am not one of them. I think I was once, when my daughter was little and that's just how it had to be, but now I take a more 'manly' approach (sorry guys, but you know it's true;-) by whining and complaining. My poor daughter fled the scene for a couple of days, but unfortunately for the dog, he was my captive audience. The great thing about dogs though, is that they never seem to mind the whining as long as they can be with you. So my dog, my neti-pot and I weathered the storm together in a useless, self-indulgent heap on the couch.

   I guess I don't feel especially apologetic about being a little self-indulgent. I still took care of what I needed to, and as the parent of a now-adult child, I've earned a little 'me' time. Truth be told, I've earned more than a little me time. Unfortunately for me, it's not you that I have to convince. I found this amazing quote that spoke to me through the fog of my (not) serious illness. Maybe because I was so (not) close to death, this quote struck me as being especially meaningful:

Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.  

-Mark Twain

   Isn't that just awesome? I have to wonder though, what a person is supposed to do if they themselves are the small person belittling their own ambitions? It's like being your own worst enemy. Despite a tendency to have what some would consider a tenuous hold on reality sometimes (in a good way;-), I do have the occasional crisis of confidence. Sometimes it's because I'm over tired, and sometimes when I'm sick everything I write just sounds like crap to me. That's when I need to get realistic with myself. I don't mean the self-berating diatribe that I'm oh-so-good at, but something a little more akin to Mark Twain's sentiment in the above quote. It's not my nature to be a small person, to think small, to emote small to keep my head down and not make waves. NONE of that is me. It IS me to believe in ALL possibilities. Amazing things happen to people all the time, but rarely to people who don't believe in amazing possibilities. That's who I am; someone who thinks I can actually do something worthwhile in spite of 'realistic' evidence to the contrary. And not just me, all of us are capable of big things. I think it just takes a little 'crazy' sometimes to free ourselves from the constraints of 'being realistic'. Works for me:-)

  Okay, so I'm not 100% 'whine free' yet, but I'm definitely on the mend. I can feel the mental gears starting to turn again in an encouraging way (parallel to the non-encouraging gears, but I'll take it). My car has been repaired and is legal again for another year, my dog is licensed and I think my new SD harness is paid for. I noticed that both the new inspection sticker on the car and the dog-license tag are yellow...does that mean 2012 is a golden year? It can if I want it to I suppose. In any case, things seem to be looking up:-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Getting Around

   It's all about getting around these days. I can't help but wonder if there is some Universal lesson in this. If so, I can't imagine what it might be. Maybe I should think a little harder (Like Winnie the Pooh: think, think, think). As you know, my car has been feeling a little, well...challenged. Unfortunately so have I and the two things running concurrently has been a rather inconvenient development. As I sit here, neither situation has exactly been resolved but at least things seem to be heading in the right direction.

   Thanks to Tommy (of Coggio Upholstery; the best upholstery shop around) who has often found himself #1 on my "Awesome List" it looks as though my car may be getting fixed for a reasonable cost and getting inspected.  My car is with him now and has been since last night. I haven't heard anything so I'm sitting here with my fingers crossed thinking that no news is good news. Optimistic? Perhaps. But I'm going with it anyway. "Getting fixed" means different things to different people (and something else altogether if you're a dog) and for Goldie the car, it means another year or two. It's sad to think about the end of Goldie's career (and a little anxiety-inducing) but it has to happen eventually. Being the impulsive person I am though, I will be quite content with 'safe enough' and 'legal' for the time being. Also quite relieved.

  And as for my own lack of personal 'stability', I took a step in that direction too (albeit a wobbly, kinda dizzy one). I called Katrina at Service Dog Designs and talked about exactly what I needed. I can't tell you what a relief it was just thinking about having exactly what I needed, exactly where I needed it. Katrina has also earned a place on the "Awesome List" for being amazing at customer service and for straight-up know-how. Her harnesses are the best and I can certainly understand why: Katrina cares and she knows what she's doing. But they aren't cheap. Reasonable? Absolutely; but not cheap.  Now I am armed with an invoice and several potential funding sources, I just need to be persistent.  I also have a model horse that I painted (photo above) that I am trying to auction off here at The Model Exchange. It's not going well. It doesn't help that my pictures suck (an unfortunate side-effect of having a camera that sucks) but I'm hoping my rating and reputation will carry me a little, even if I have been 'out of the loop' for awhile. As I'm watching the auction, I'm noticing that none of the resin sculptures have a single bid. Not so encouraging but not the only iron in the fire, either. I will persevere.

    Maybe the lesson here is this: Sometimes a person needs help. I so HATE the idea of needing anything, and it's really tough for me to ask for things. I'm in a place where I either ask or stay stuck at square one. As bad as it is to ask for help, nothing is worse to me than feeling dependent and stuck. I will admit to also feeling a bit stuck in limbo while I wait and hope too, but at least it's a wait with possibilities;-)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Editorial Rant

  Oh, how I hate to feel 'ranty'. I MUCH prefer to turn up the volume on the ridiculous side of life, and just jam out to that station, but sometimes a good rant is good for the soul. And of course, it's more of the same: Some idiot had their untrained dog running loose at the park yesterday, and of course, aforementioned canine had to make a beeline straight into Murphy's face. This is where I thank God once again for the inherent kindness and stability present in the heart of The Big Pinscher. It was ultimately a non-event (unless you were Murphy) but it PISSED ME OFF. I apologize for being so blunt, but the owner's response did nothing to appease me, either.  So, I wrote to the local paper. I don't know if what I wrote will ever see print, but at least I did something.

Here is what I wrote:

I am a South Burlington resident and have been for about four years. I have been a Vermont resident for most of my life. I love the dog-friendly environment of my home state, but am quite dismayed at the number of people who fail to comply with the leash laws in our local parks. I am a disabled person who works with a service dog and I have had a very difficult time finding a safe place to exercise my dog where he isn't interfered with in some way by off-leash pets. I don't have a yard, so I depend on public spaces. My dog was viciously attacked by an off-leash pet (while the owner shouted "he's friendly" from about twenty feet away) a couple of years ago on a Burlington bike path and it really impacted both his life and mine for about two years (and continues to do so to a lesser degree). Since then, every time somebody's loose dog runs up to him and gets in his face, it traumatizes him yet again (I liken it to someone suffering an assault, and then being approached in the same manner repeatedly and without warning). I do my part by avoiding dog parks and public parks that don't employ a leash ordinance, but even then I can't avoid the onslaught and I'm beyond tired of it. And it isn't just me who's tired of it. There are lots of us, and in fact I believe we are the majority of the dog-owning public.
I was at a local park just yesterday and had somebody's off-leash pet get in my dog's face. Again. When I pointed out that there was a leash law, the owner replied "Yeah, I know but nobody pays attention to it". How is that okay? What about folks with dogs who are fearful or aggressive? ALL dogs need to be walked, not just friendly ones. Where are they supposed to go? What about people who might otherwise enjoy the park, but are afraid of dogs? What about people like me who respect the laws and need others to do what they are supposed to do so that we ALL can enjoy public spaces? How is this fair? Unfortunately, it seems that people subscribe to the misconception that if their dog is friendly (or more accurately, if they think their dog is friendly), it's perfectly okay to let them run around loose. It's not. It's not safe for the dog, it's not fair to other people and the idea that "it's okay to break the law because everybody else does it" is not okay. Those of us who respect the laws are tired of paying the consequences for those of you who can't be bothered. For more information about how irresponsible dog ownership effects others, please go to:
K. Smart
What do YOU think?