Dear dog owners,
We need to have a talk. First, let me start out by telling you that I love dogs, and have always been around them my whole life. Dogs truly are man’s best friend, and everything I write after this is from a dog lover’s point of view.
As you may be aware, most areas have a leash law. In Rochester, this states that any dog outside of the owner’s premises is required to be restrained and controlled. I know that dogs love to run free, and it can be heart-breaking to refuse them the gift of freedom in an open park. However, those laws for exist for several reasons. They not only protect others from your dog, they protect your dog as well.
Let me tell you two stories.The first story is about a dog my family owned when I was in school. Her name was Rascal, and she was a border collie mix. She was extremely intelligent, incredibly loving, and was, in short, the best dog ever. However, she liked to chase cars, and was run over multiple times when she escaped and chased our neighbors down the road. That is not the point of this story though.
One day, when I still lived with my parents, I went for a run around the block. While I was running, my mother took Rascal for a walk with the other dogs. When I returned to our street, I came up behind them. As I passed them, I spooked Rascal, and she tried to bite me reflexively. As soon as I stopped and she realized who I was, she was remorseful and submissive, but she acted unconsciously because she was startled. If my own dog, who knew me and loved me, could bite me, then there is a chance your dog can do the same, no matter how friendly you think they are.
The other story goes back to when I was in high school again. I had my driver’s permit and was driving home from school with my mother and a friend. As I came up to one house, a car was waiting for me to pass so they could turn into the driveway. Realizing that the dog’s owners were coming home, somebody opened the front door and let the dog out. In a flash, the dog ran across the yard and into the road. I couldn’t react fast enough, and I wound up hitting and killing the dog. I don’t need to tell you how awful that was for everyone involved. The dog just wanted to greet his people, and instead it wound up dying because it wasn’t fenced in.
So please, if you love your dog, keep him controlled and on the leash while you’re out and about. I know that quiet park seems like a great opportunity to let him run free, but if I come around a corner and surprise him, or if he sees a squirrel run across a nearby road, you never know what can happen.