Just Walking My Dog

By: Anne Corke

Apr 09 2022

Tags: ,

Category: dogs, Rants, Terriers

1 Comment

One of the things that I miss the most now that I’m disabled is those long walks with the dogs. We used to take our time to enjoy the weather and the scenery together. We’d often be gone for an hour or more. Now I hobble along with Danny who kindly adjusts his pace to mine. When Jeremy takes him out he trots right along but he knows I can’t manage that and I appreciate his patience. Walking our dogs is one of the joys of life. Of course we walk them for exercise but also to allow them catch up on neighbourhood news by checking out all the latest smells. And as we walk together, we can also get a glimpse into their perspective on life by living in the moment, noticing what catches their attention: a nervous bunny hiding in the bushes alongside the road, a duck landing in the pond, a recently disturbed patch of sand on the shoulder of the road where a snapping turtle has laid her eggs, a sudden gust of wind carrying faraway scents – so much to see and smell and hear. It’s a happy break from the stresses of our world.

It seems however that other people have a different take on dog walking. For example, this morning I watched as a neighbour with a miniature Dachshund puppy walked him past my house. Now this puppy is very small with extremely short legs. All of the people in his family seem to ignore this fact and walk briskly up the road while his little legs are frantically trying to keep up. They also use a long leash and never bother to take up the slack so he’s constantly tripping over it. No one looks back to see how he’s doing, no one talks to him or tries to encourage him, no one seems to care about whether he’s enjoying his walk. They take him for very long walks which, in my opinion, are too much for such a young, small puppy. It’s so obviously not about the dog, it’s about attention-getting for the people.

Other neighbours have a large mixed breed and walk him regularly – well it’s not so much a walk as an enforced march. They use a collar and a halti and march along the road never allowing him to stop and ‘smell the roses’. They seem to forget what a dog is all about. I had a similar problem with Gary who didn’t want to walk with the dogs (I can count on one hand the number of times he actually walked them on his own!) because they wanted to stop and investigate all the smells and he wanted to keep a steady pace. I’d tell him to go on ahead rather than spoil our walk with constant complaining!

And then there are all those folks who think walking the dog means taking them to the park, opening the car door and letting them loose without any thought to whether they might bother anyone else who might be in the park (such as this gimply old girl with her limited-sight old doggy). They either have the mistaken belief that their dogs have perfect recall when in fact very few do or, more likely, they just don’t give a damn. These are some of the laziest dog owners! Many of them think that flinging a ball a few times for their dog to retrieve is sufficient. Others don’t even bother to do that. Never mind the fact that they are seldom close enough to locate and pick up any doggie doodoo, oh well. As an extreme example, a few years ago I was walking my dogs at Bower’s Park. A car pulled into the lower parking lot, the driver opened the door and let out two big Dobermans. The dogs ran up onto the playing fields while the owner sat in his car reading his paper. From his car, he couldn’t even see where the dogs were or what they were doing. Meanwhile I’m trying to sneak back to my car without drawing their attention. Fortunately they were too busy playing together to notice me and my dogs.

Then there’s the dog park club, huddled together, drinking their Timmie’s beverages and shooting the breeze with one another, completely ignoring their dogs. They didn’t get the memo about dog park etiquette, about always keeping an eye on your dog, about only bringing properly socialized dogs to the park, and all the other things that a responsibile owner would know.

And let’s not forget those fitness freaks who think it’s a great idea to take your dog out in the summer heat for a jog or bike ride, oblivious to the hot asphalt and the stifling humidity and the serious danger of heatstroke. Too many people consider their dogs more of an accessory than a living, breathing creature who depends on us to provide for them and protect them. They miss out on so much because they don’t take the time to observe their dogs, to learn their body language and develop a really close relationship with their furry friends. Their dogs deserve better.

So, please, spend some quality time with your dog. Take them for a leisurely stroll. Relax and enjoy the moment. If they enjoy the car, take them for a drive. Danny loves the car but now that his sight is failing, he only sees large objects well so I try to take a route where we’ll see big trucks and buses. Yes, I know, he’s spoiled. But he’s a good old boy and he deserves it.

He still loves hanging out with me especially if we go through the drive-through at DQ or Timmies!

Copyright Anne Corke 2022

One comment on “Just Walking My Dog”

  1. So well said Anne! Caleb was an awesome walking companion! Our fun was had down at Quaker Park when we dropped “Other Mama” off at work and then again when we picked her up! He particularly loved when we’d walk through Crary Park to meet her! Thank you for reminding me ❤️

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