I don't deny that I'm a fairly opinionated person and when it comes to dogs in what I perceive to be situations of distress I don't shy away from expressing my opinions (sometimes loudly and often without completely thinking it through.) One thing that bothers me a great deal is dogs tied outside stores.
For one thing, urban streets are a parade of ever changing sights and sounds. Can you really be sure that your dog will remain calm when approached by bicyclists, baby carriages, shopping carts, pedestrians of all shapes and sizes and a assaulted by a barrage of honking horns, shouting people, and squeaking tires? What about the many people who are afraid of dogs? It seems very disrespectful to force them to walk past your unattended dog in order to enter a public store. Then there are the dog walkers who may be walking their own potentially leash aggressive dogs, which is my situation. I often have to alter my walking route to avoid unattended dogs since I know my dogs may bark at them and I am unsure how the unattended dogs will react. Worst of all there is the risk of your dog being stolen or harmed in someway while you are not their to protect them.
All of these problems where the reason I was really surprised and upset by this article on the XO Jane site, admittedly a fairly tabloidy website. The article is written by a women who lives in Albuquerque New Mexico with Lola her German Short Haired pointer mix. Apparently while leaving her dog tied outside a supermarket she was accosted by a woman wearing pajama pants (the pajama pants seem to really bother the author) who yelled at her for leaving her dog unattended without water or shelter.
Now, I instantly totally identified with pajama pant lady (as the author of the article calls her), for one thing I often walk my dogs in pajama pants, although I've never grocery shopped in them, and I don't quite see the egregious social offense inherant in this article of clothing. I tend to only have two modes of dress, dressed up vintage and sloppy casual, and I don't see pajama pants as being all that different from the sweats and yoga pants that many people wear for any and all occasions. What really troubles me though is that the author of the article makes it clear that her dog Lola does not have excellent behavior. She details how Lola often barks and jumps on walks attracting comments from passers by and declares that the behavior makes her look "super crazy." Despite these problems she makes no mention of any training methods she has tried to correct or manage this behavior. Now my own dogs are far from perfect, I sometimes wonder if they are not the worst behaved dogs in blogville, but I always endeavor to train and or manage their behavior and I never leave then alone in a situation where they could get in trouble.
The author also states that Lola is under exercised. I know how hard it can be to exercise an active breed, my husband and I used to take Norbert
to the dog park for an hour twice a day when he was younger plus a 90 minute walk. Thankfully as he has gotten older his exercise needs are much less. The fact that this type of intense exercise really does not fit into our life style is one reason I may choose to not get another active breed dog. If I did choose to get a very active dog, or wound up with one, I'd do what ever was necessary to provide the exercise it needed, no excuses. That is the commitment you make when you get a dog. This whole exercise issue is why people need to do breed research BEFORE getting a dog. Plenty of dogs, like my own beloved pugs and bulldog, have relatively low exercise requirements and are an excellent choice for people who are not super active by nature. Plus there are thousands of low activity senior dogs in needs of home. Still all dogs need exercise and according to the author of the article the exercise she provided Lola, her energetic and "crazy" dog, with before tying her outside the grocery store was a walk around the block, a distance that would not exhaust even my senior pugs.
As I sympathize with pajama pant lady, yelling at people in public is really not the best way to deal with any issue, but I wish the author of this article had listened to what was being said and had considered that perhaps her behavior was irresponsible and rude. If you have errands to run consider that it may be better to take two trips and leave your dog at home. While it is tempting to take an eager canine everywhere with you it really is not always the best option.
I do wonder though what other dog bloggers think, it seems most commenters on the articles website thought that the author was in the right and I wonder if feelings will be the same, or different, among dog bloggers, so I am eager to read your comments.
On another note, we would appreciate some good vibes from all our blogger friends. Eleven year old Norbert is having his senior blood work and wellness exam tomorrow and even though he seems to be very healthy that always makes me a little nervous. We have our paws crossed for good news.