It’s an increasing epidemic in my neighborhood. I don’t live in the middle of nowhere, some farm in the country where the nearest automobile is a tractor. I live in West Hollywood, a dense, urban area where people race SUVs down narrow streets and the pedestrians aren’t much better.
So when I see people walking their dogs without leashes, it makes me furious.
“I try to keep her from going up other people’s driveways,” I heard a woman say as I trailed behind her, her leashless dog, a man, and his leashless dog. “Lawns are fine, but not driveways.”
Both humans were carrying nylon leashes. Both dogs roamed free, one of them strolling blithely into an alley where drivers are known to speed. As a fellow dog owner, I’d just like to say something to all of the people who walk their dogs without tethers:
It’s wonderful, fine, and dandy that your dog is well-behaved and you’re comfortable letting him or her off the leash. Not every dog owner feels that secure, and you know what? It’s not your goddamned dog you have to worry about; it’s everything else.
I was particularly irritated when the aforementioned man left his dog outside the Coffee Bean – leash attached to the dog, but not to anything else. Why bother? And if I had brought my dog and tied him up outside, as I often do, what then? What if your unattached dog approached mine and something went wrong? Pilot is too much a chicken to be the instigator, but how am I supposed to know that your completely unsupervised canine couldn’t take one look at him and start a fight?
When I walked Pilot the other morning, a small dog started following him. Pilot didn’t care, but I thought of the still-in-training dogs I was going to walk at Westside German Shepherd Rescue. The number one rule with those dogs is to keep them from meeting other dogs – some of them are still leash aggressive. If I had been walking one of them instead of Pilot, there would have been nothing I could do to keep the small dog from following – his owner was oblivious. The shepherd might have gone after him, and catastrophe would ensue.
So I’d be the one at fault because you left your dog off the leash, and your dog would get attacked. Sounds like the only one who isn’t at risk in the scenario is you, you selfish asshole. No matter how fabulous you think your dog is, you never know. Dogs aren’t children. They react to sights, sounds, smells, and cues that we never recognize.
There are no guarantees even with a leash, but they give you some measure of control over whatever situation occurs. Be considerate of everyone else, and leash the fuck up.