Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Owe it to Your Dog to Use a Leash

I am not fond of little dogs. I used to love them until we moved into our neighborhood four years ago. The small dogs, mainly of the poodle and maltese variety, are extremely undersocialized and have had no training. As if that doesn't put them, and anyone else out walking, at enough of a disadvantage, they are also frequently taken out without leashes. Here's two scenarios that came up on our walk this morning:

1) A poodle saw Lily and I across the street. The owner was standing in her doorway on the phone, watching her dog go potty on the lawn. That came to an abrupt halt at the sight of my dog. This poodle raced into traffic, causing cars to slam on breaks, to reach us. We got to witness a minor car accident as an SUV rear ended the compact car that came to a screeching stop to avoid killing this dog. When it reached my dog, it snapped and lunged and growled. Lily, thankfully, is terrified of little dogs (and you would be too if you had been charged, bit and barked at by them to the extent this poor pit bull has been for the last four years). She tucked her tail, ran behind me and shivered while I tried to fend off this poodle version of Cujo. I will admit that I thought more than once about kicking it. I feel awful that it even entered my head, but I wanted to protect my dog. My favorite part of this whole scenario (and this happens EVERY time) is the owner racing across the street (almost getting hit herself) yelling COME! FIFI COME! COME! Followed by "Don't let your dog hurt her." If my dog wanted to hurt her, she'd be dead. I always open with "You know, there is a leash law for a reason." To which she replied, "She's NEVER done this before." I know this to be a lie because I've witnessed it numerous times and told her as much. As she walked into the street with her dog in hand, she yelled at me, "I don't know how you can own a dog like that!" A well trained dog that walks on leash and doesn't dart across traffic to corner another dog? I can own a dog like just fine, thank you. This little poodle has been lucky more times than I can count. Obviously, the owner isn't getting that not following the law is putting her dog at risk. One day, the luck is going to run out. She may not make it across that street.

2) We rounded a corner and had a Maltese run the entire block up to Lily and I. Lily's tail tucked and she tried to run this time. Meanwhile, the owner is screaming, "Don't let your dog hurt her" over and over. Really? Don't let my dog that is trying to run hurt your dog that has charged us and is now tormenting her? Lily got smart and jumped up on a brick wall. The other dog couldn't reach her. Again, I mentioned the leash law. I also pointed out that there is a dog aggressive yellow lab that is walked every night down our street. If her dog had decided to pull this on him, it would not have ended well for her little Maltese. To which she replied, "They shouldn't be allowed to walk that dog." Really? Or maybe you should just LEASH your dog like the law says you have to and then no one has to worry about it.

These poor dogs may end up losing their lives because their owners aren't using leashes. I just don't understand why people don't leash them up even to take them into the front yard to go to the bathroom. Even if your dog is well trained, it's still a dog. Something might catch his attention across the street and off he goes to chase it! Without a solid recall, he's at the mercy of cars. At some point, the luck runs out.

Leash up those pets!!

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