Story last updated at 11/14/2012 - 1:51 pm
Walking our dogs so they can relieve themselves is something new for us. We used to have a fenced back yard and a doggy door built in so the dogs could go in and out at-will, and walks were primarily for exercise and relieve boredom. Now we have no yard and obviously no doggy door. Two of our pooches don't require a leash as they are under voice command/control and can go out with us leash free (I know, I know, it's not legal). The other two would undoubtedly take off and not come back if they were not leashed. Needless to say, the frequent dog walks are causing both us and our dogs to get into better shape.
In the few weeks we have lived in our new neighborhood we have started to get to know the streets pretty well. The one thing we have not become used to is the habit of people opening their door and letting their dogs head out on their own for their bathroom breaks.
Several times we have walked our pack down the street when, out of nowhere, a dog, or dogs, come snarling, barking and charging out of their yard with no owner in sight. Our dogs, feeling like they have no other choice, wind up squaring off to protect themselves, and at about that time the charging dog's owner is bolting out of the front door in their underwear and house slippers screaming at their dogs.
We have already had a couple of mouth-on-fur encounters. Fortunately for the approaching pooches our dogs are very well behaved and we have no problem retreating to diffuse the situation.
So, my gripe is that I feel I really should be able to walk my dogs around the neighborhood without fear of my dogs being forced into a fight and possibly injured because my neighbor (while otherwise probably delightful) is too lazy to pay attention to their pet. Dogs will be dogs and do what dogs do. People on the other hand should be smart enough to know that.
Before you write me telling me that I'm a hypocrite for having two of my dog's off-leash, I may even agree with you somewhat... but that's my prerogative. However, I'm not complaining about others not leashing their dogs, I am simply suggesting that if your dog is going out to relieve himself, you should be at his side just in case it's necessary to intervene (and maybe to pick up the poop the dog leaves behind).
Seriously, if you are too lazy to go out with your pet, maybe you should reconsider the whole idea of pet ownership. Those of us who walk our dogs would like to do so without fear of being attacked by someone's pooch. Be a responsible pet owner and go outside with your dog. Don't let your dog's fate be decided because you wouldn't get off your porch.
Dale E. Smith is general manager of Capital City Weekly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.