Everyone knows how much I love the Simpsonville Farmer’s Market (ICYMI: here’s a post that explains just how much and why). I also love downtown Simpsonville. The dogs and I like to go for walks down there. We’ll park at City Park and then walk past First Baptist and the old Simpsonville Elementary School. We’ll walk through downtown, past the clock tower and across main street, down to the old cotton mill. I call it the “historic dog walk” because we pass multiple historic markers on this route–as well as a few different pet waste stations (these should be everywhere, FYI!). City Park has them as does the Cotton Mill, which now houses some loft apartments–presumably for residents, but I figure they don’t mind if we, who bring our own bags, make a deposit in one of their conveniently located receptacles. And we do bring our own bags because we are responsible pets/owners. In fact, it’s because I’m a responsible pet owner that we prefer to go downtown over walking in our own neighborhood (time permitting). Because despite the fact that Simpsonville does its best to encourage responsible dog ownership, our neighborhood, like many, contains a number of very irresponsible dog owners. Heck, there are irresponsible dog owners everywhere.
Downtown, we don’t run into unleashed dogs like we do in our neighborhood. This is important because Penny does not play well with other dogs. Bonnie doesn’t really either at this point. So we don’t go to the dog park. We don’t even walk past the dog park. We stick to the sidewalks, where my dogs are perfectly fine with people–or even passing other dogs on leashes who are well controlled by their owners. I really do enjoy walking with my dogs, and I know they love nice long walks, too. But sometimes the potential for running into an unleashed dog takes all the fun out of it.
I thought about heading over to the local nature park today. We’ve been before, and it’s nice. But even then we ran into an unleashed dog–despite the fact that the park has clear rules about leashing your pets. Those rules are in place for the safety of everyone–your pet, other pets, wildlife, people. And yet people always think those rules do not apply to them or to their own pets. Guess what? Not true–the rules apply to everyone. And for good reason. Just this month, a dog at the nature park was bitten by a copperhead snake. Luckily he’s ok, and although sometimes snakes are on the trails, the likelihood of being bitten by a snake increases significantly if you’re off trail–as this unleashed pet was. On the Facebook page, others echoed my frustration with unleashed dogs in what should be a very nice dog-walking area (click to enlarge):
Like Christine above, I too am really over the “my dog is friendly!” thing (people with unleashed pets are always calling this out as their pet descends upon us). Newsflash: so is mine. Unless she thinks your dog is going to attack her or Bonnie or me. In that case, she’s Kujo. But you don’t know that. And I don’t have time to tell you as your dog is bounding over to us. Further, despite what you think, you can never be 100% sure what your dog is going to do off leash. Even well-trained dogs (although most we run into off leash are not in fact well-trained dogs) can go off script based on circumstances. And if you’re unleashed “friendly” dog doesn’t listen to commands, well…it doesn’t matter how “friendly” she is. You screaming, “Princess, come back here!” repeatedly is not going to keep her safe. You know what would? A leash–of the 3-foot nylon variety sold at most pets stores.
Luckily, I love downtown and I love history, so the historic dog walk route will keep me and the girls happy. I just hope irresponsible dog owners don’t ruin that for us. Because I’d hate to lose this kind of joy: