How would you feel if you were walking along the sidewalk, minding your own business, and a total stranger ran at top speed right at you?
By Melanie Cane
How would you feel if you were walking along the sidewalk, minding your own business, and a total stranger ran at top speed right at you? Or, what if you were walking in the park holding your child’s hand and a stranger ran at your child? Most likely you’d be scared and confused and would probably run away from the stranger. Imagine being physically restrained during these scenarios; then you’d probably yell and flail your arms or kick at the stranger. In other words, you’d do anything possible to keep him from hurting you or your child.
Now, imagine you are a dog on a leash that sees other dogs as threats and a loose dog charges you. Add to that your instinct to protect yourself and your owner. Since you cannot take flight, your only two options are to submit (roll over or give the other dog a ‘calming sign’) or to warn (growl) the other dog to stay away. If the other dog does not heed your warning, your last option is to fight.
Since Rye Town Park Dog Beach opened, security has been lax in the park, and dogs are running free all over the Boardwalk and the park. Although these loose dogs may be the friendliest animals on the planet, they are preventing people who want to walk their dog-fearing dogs on leashes there from doing so. For those of us with dogs who are frightened of other dogs, the Boardwalk, park, and many other places in Rye are all potential booby traps. And this situation is not unique to Rye. In fact, there is a growing nationwide trend for owners to tie a yellow ribbon around a fearful dog’s leash to inform other dog owners to keep their dogs a distance away.
Many Rye and Rye Town residents would love it if we could take our dogs to the dog beach or the park and socialize with other dog owners while our dogs romped and played. Unfortunately, we cannot because we respect you and your dog’s right to enjoy yourself and be safe. So, please, next time you let your dog jump out of your car to run down the Boardwalk to the beach or allow him to run free all over the park, including the path, think twice.
Respect everyone’s right to enjoy walking where you walk without having to be hyper-vigilant and stressed wondering which dog and from what direction is going to charge. If for no other reason, put your dog on a leash because it’s the law.