I have a dog. I love dogs. Dogs are the best. Except for when you are out running and you see a dog not on a leash and it starts running with you and the owner is yelling at the dog to come back, so you stop to get the dog(s) to quit running and the dog owner says something like, “They just want to run with you!”
Yeah, this happened, but let me back up.
Usually, the only dogs I come across while running are in fenced yards or on leashes. Some dogs in yards will run with me along the fence line until they run out of room. Others will bark at me until I pass. I don’t mind, they are just doing what dogs do and I actually kind of like it when they run with me for a bit. It breaks up my run and, as I already mentioned, I love dogs.
Then, a few weeks ago, while running a new route, I met my first dog not on a leash or behind a fence. It was a Basset Hound named Joey. I love Basset Hounds. I am somewhat partial to them because my dog is supposed to be part Basset, but I also love them because of how they move. Whenever they walk or (even better) run, in my head I hear do-do-da-dum, do-do-da-dum. You know, like in old cartoons when a character was bumbling along. So cute.
Anyway, I know his name is Joey because the kids that were outside with Basset Hound Joey not on a leash were yelling at him to come back. Because I am a dog lover and would want help securing my dog if she got loose, I stopped running so Joey would lose interest in me and go home. It kind of worked. Joey eventually turned around, and I was out of my rhythm.
It’s fine. I wasn’t timing it or anything.
A few days ago, I came across my second dog off a leash. I was running along, minding my own business, thinking how great I’m doing, especially since this route is challenging at the beginning, when I see a gorgeous dog ahead of me not on a leash. I slow down because it is running right at me. When it is clearly not going to mind its owner and stop, I stop and greet it with an outstretched hand for it to sniff. It determined I was OK, so we walked together until I could see its owner better. This dog belonged to someone I know!
After exchanging pleasantries and running off (literally), I was thinking how great that mile would have been if I wasn’t interrupted. It was hard to get back into the running groove after the setback.
Around the next mile or so, I finally got my stride back. Running through neighborhoods I’ve run several other times before, I kept putting one foot in front of the other, when again I was stopped. This time, it wasn’t a single dog, but a herd of them. Maybe not a herd, but at least five little Yorkie Terriers running on all sides of me while their owners are yelling at them to come back.
I would love to allow my dog off leash. You can count me among the people who sometimes think it is unfair that they have to be tethered to a person or locked in a yard while outside instead of running free. My dog is very much like the dog in Up – “Squirrel!” Heck, I’m a little like that. So, it is just better for both of us to be tied to each other when outside.
Even though I want dogs to run free because they are animals and should be free, it is so much safer for them and humans if they are properly restrained, especially when they have a tendency to run with strangers and there are cars around. Plus, it is the law in most cities.
So, please keep your dogs on a leash. Please spay or neuter your pets. And, please adopt any new furry family members. Thank you!
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