This is part of our Saturday Editorial Section. Normally, we let the dogs do all of the talking.
I thought that this week was pretty much great with our dogs. We went on hikes, we walked on the beach.
We visited a dog park, and we visited a fan of ours recovering from an accident.
All in all, the sun was out all week, we ate great food, and the dogs had long naps.
“That isn’t fun for any dog. Let them run!”
“It’s not a good day at the beach unless they can be free.”
And then there were the every week comments that we always see.
“Why can’t you let them run free and be dogs?”
“Why do those dogs always have harnesses on?”
Ugh. And then I thought. Maybe it wasn’t such a good week after all. Maybe my dogs weren’t as happy as they could be. Maybe what I was doing wasn’t enough. Maybe I should ignore the signs that dogs have to be on leash at the beach. Maybe it wasn’t important. Maybe I wouldn’t get caught.
Truth be told, it isn’t like I haven’t thought about breaking rules before. I hate leashes. They are cumbersome. They are irritating. I trip over them half the time. Besides putting the fact aside that I have one dog that will not come back when called, and another dog whose mood can only be described as temperamental, I wish that I did not have to have them on a leash. It would be easier for me. And that is more truth.
When I see others not obeying the leash laws in an area, or ignoring campground rules to keep their dogs on a leash, I get envious. What makes them different than me? Should I even worry about following the rules? Because I sure hate them. But the circumstances that we have encountered on the road for the past two years have reinforced to me that there are reasons behind these laws. Also, I will just be blunt. What makes us think that we are so important that we cannot be respectful to those who own the property we are camping on, or hiking on, or visiting? What if someone came onto your property and ignored all that you said? It just isn’t nice.
Despite respect, I obey leash laws for other reasons.
- Not all dogs want to be approached. Needless fights and altercations occur in places with alot of people and dogs. Leashes mean control. Well, at least a little more control.
- Wildlife. How many of our dogs want to chase wildlife? How is this ok in a public place? We are in their home. Many times, these species are endangered. Again. Are you more important?
- Safety. Here at the beach, the tides and currents change in an instant. I for one do not want my dog swept away. Will a leash prevent this? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But we have a better chance.
- Keeping an area dog friendly for others. I will never believe that everyone picks up after their dog 100% of the time. This alone is ridiculous, but now add free running dogs to areas where maybe not all people want to be approached.
- You can go to a dog park. I don’t understand how someone doesn’t like dogs, but I don’t want to give anyone reason to not let my dog with me in my favorite hiking places. Dogs need to run, and not all of us have a huge yard. So. Take them to a dog park. I know my dogs need to run. I recognize this desire and factor to their happiness. So I have to not be lazy and go there. I have to talk to others when I normally don’t feel like it. And I have to let them be dogs. It is my responsibility to fulfill this need. In the correct place.
So for those that tell us all of the time to not obey the laws, I am sorry. But I will continue to. I want the many places that we visit to remain open for your dog too. And when we all decide that our supposed sense of entitlement is not worth infringing on others, that is when maybe we won’t even need leash laws. Until then, obey the law. Or you know what Sheriff Brickle will say. You. Are. Arrested.
-Rachael Johnson, Owner, 2 Traveling Dogs