Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Things That Stick In My Craw: Running and Dogs

We live near the beach. Every morning, unless it's pouring rain or sleet or blinding snow, I run to the beach with my Siberian Husky, Phoebe. She has a six foot leash, all her tags and I bring a "poop" bag, just in case.

So what sticks in my craw about this?

How about the people who take up the whole sidewalk when there is only one of them? Instead of moving to the left or right so that we can pass safely by them and not in the street, they firmly stick to the middle.

A few times I've encountered a group of schoolkids with their teachers. Phoebe and I politely cross the street and the teachers have actually yelled at me for being near the kids. Um, hello? It's a public street. I'm busy running. I don't care about your students. I care about my dog getting her ears or tail pulled by *your* students.

Sometimes I happen to run at the same time there is a marathon or road race in town. Don't tell us to move out of the way just because we're not in the race. Again, it's a public street. The race doesn't own it. I pay my taxes. As long as I'm not in the way, leave us alone, please.

People who let their dogs poop on the sidewalk and don't clean up after them, or do clean up and leave the little plastic bag. Are you serious?

Going to the beach at low tide, keeping Phoebe firmly on her leash, yet everyone else lets their dogs run wild. Of course those dogs come running over to "play" with Phoebe. She's a rescue dog. She's still skittish. Instead of controlling your dog and asking if it's all right for her to meet your dog, your dog is humping her, biting at her neck or scaring the daylights out of her. When Phoebe is backed up against my legs and almost in my arms, it's time to get your dog away from us. It's funny how the local law is that the leash has to be in hand at all times. Some dog owners think that means in their hands and not on the dog. One of these days I'm going to snap at these people to control their dog.

We usually run the length of the beach, then turn around and walk back the length to the street. If you see me running with my dog, don't ask if you can pet her while we're running. We're usually on a roll and in rhythm with each other. Phoebe loves to run. Let us do our thing and we'll stop by and let you pet her on our walk back.

I do like the people who ask if they can pet Phoebe. I don't like the ones who just reach out, especially people who have kids and the kids begin petting her all over. Please ask first. No, she doesn't bite or bark, but she may be skittish. I've worked hard to get her to where she is today, no longer afraid, and you could set her back.

I don't like people who tell me I should let Phoebe off leash and let her run free. For one thing, it's against the law (it's called a dog at large). For another, she's a Husky and she will run until she's worn out and may not come home. That's why she's on a leash at all times. That's why we have a big fenced-in yard.

And if you come to our house, please remember this is also Phoebe's house, which means you need to be aware to not leave a door open to the outside so that she can run away. I love my dog. She's beautiful and honestly, someone would just take her home if they saw her loose. I don't want to lose her.