I am thrilled to share with you this guest blogger post by my dear friend Anndy. Anndy and I grew up riding horses together, and both have a love of all things furry and four-legged! We both have a tendency to rescue dogs, and love to consult each other about new products, training methods, or dog-owner etiquette. I'm sure many of you can relate to some of her pet peeves... I know I certainly can!!!
I grew up on a farm with a herd of dogs running wild and free through my parent’s acreage and the surrounding woods. Moving away from the farm was an eye opening experience for me since I now had to leash my dogs for walks and use a pooper scooper. However, I always always keep my dogs on leashes because I have had several run-ins with dogs that aren’t leashed. I have an Australian cattle dog, Barlee. Any of you that have ever owned a cattle dog know that they are a different kind of breed. I wouldn’t say Barlee is mean (but as her mother, I may be a little biased!) but she is super protective of me, of my husband and of our other dog, Crunch. She doesn’t like strange people and she really doesn’t like strange dogs. Several people in my neighborhood let their dogs roam free, and they, of course, like to run over to say hello to Barlee while I am out walking her. I have even had people yell to me, “It’s ok! He just wants to play.” Be that as it may, my dog does NOT want to play. My dog wants to bite your dog’s face off because it is getting too close to me. I literally have to stand in between Barlee and the strange dog to keep anything from actually happening, which is probably one of the most dangerous places to be when it comes to dogs…especially when I’m on the other end of the leash of a 45 pound overprotective, determined whirling dervish. But the fact is, if anything were to happen between the two dogs, it would be my dog’s fault because she is the aggressor. Even though she is properly leashed, I would get saddled with vet bill’s and maybe even a lawsuit. One time I had a mildly ferocious poodle come charging at us and the owner literally took 15 minutes to come outside and get her dog. I was screaming at her from the sidewalk, but she just didn’t think it was important.
Unfortunately, I have seen worse things happen when people leave their dogs unleashed in city areas. When I was still in college, I was walking my basset hound, Guernsey, who was the absolute sweetest dog. A guy saw me coming and yelled to his roommate or girlfriend that they had to come see this cute dog. He opened the door to his house to let his dog out to visit with my dog…and the dog ran straight into the path of an oncoming car. The owner was upset, of course, but I’m not sure what he thought would happen. If a dog sees another dog, the first thing they want to do is run to it and say hi. The dog seemed to be ok when I left the scene, but the situation was entirely the owner’s fault. He also screamed at the driver of the car, which was unnecessary considering there was nothing the driver could do.
I know many people trust their dogs not to run off if they are left loose. I am certainly one of them. I love to let my dogs off their leash in a big open area, far away from roads, people or other dogs. Even if my dogs do take off, they will be back in a few minutes. However, letting your dog loose in a city area is so dangerous. There are many unforeseen factors like neighborhood cats or wild rabbits that will catch your dog’s attention, and they can be in the street in front of a car in a matter of seconds. For the safety of your beloved pet, please always keep them leashed. And remember, not all dogs necessarily like to visit with others so always ask before letting your dog make new friends.