Before I had a puppy, I walked twice a day year-round, regardless of weather. Only when it was close to -30 C or when rain was pelting down did I make an exception. For all that time I pounded the pavement I was unaware of certain things that have become glaringly apparent now that I have a puppy.
These days I walk my puppy three times a day, and am out with him even more than that because after all, the outdoors is his "powder room!" Like all puppies, Theo is curious and likes to explore. We walk mostly on the sidewalks (obviously) but sometimes he wanders onto the edges of lawns, as his instinct is to do his business (as many dogs do) on greenery not on pavement.
Most of my neighbours tend to their lawns faithfully. But there are a few places where the properties are little more than a junkyard. Indistinguishable debris, rusty metal, cigarette butts, plastic bags and lids, weeds, discarded food, and much more are not only unappealing, they can be downright dangerous to pets. I try to keep my puppy away from these areas, but it’s not always possible, especially since he seems to be drawn to these unkempt areas. I understand that people may not be cognizant of the danger of junkyard lawns to dogs. So please view this post as an attempt to raise awareness so that perpetrators, should they be reading this, can be more aware. Plus it is nice to see that people care enough about the environment to tend faithfully to their lawns.
Also, please don’t pour your liquids onto the edge of your lawn when you empty them for recycling day. I saw one lady pour out I-don’t-know-kind-of liquids onto her lawn right down by the public sidewalk, and of course Theo was attracted to the spot for days after. I don’t want to take any chances with my dog’s life. Pouring out what may be safe for humans can be deadly to an animal.
In public areas such as communal sidewalks and park pathways, I see a ton of junk in the grass or pebbles as well as on the walkway. My puppy is ALWAYS drawn to plastic bags with who-knows-what-they-contained, cups, paper, and a whole host of un-natural materials. Please don’t toss these things onto the ground! Carry them with you until you can put them into a trashcan.
To dog owners: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, pick up your dog’s poop! It is not only disgusting it is potentially harmful to a curious dog. If you forgot a poop bag at home, bring your dog back home, get one, and go back and clean it up (I’ve done that myself when I ran out of poop bags). Now I carry extra bags in all of my coats as well as clip our poop bag holder right onto my puppy’s leash so we never forget to bring it along.
Also to dog owners: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, socialize your pup when he or she is young. About half of the dogs we come across are unfriendly and sometimes downright nasty/dangerous to friendly pups such as mine. After a few disastrous encounters, I now ask people before I let Theo approach any dog: “Is your dog friendly?” You would be surprised how many say “no.” We have learned to stay away of un-socialized dogs.
I am writing this today to raise awareness about how people can ensure a safe suburban environment for dogs. I want the best for my puppy, and I want the same for all the other puppies and dogs out there. After all, each one is a treasured, but vulnerable, member of our respective families.
Till next time....