June 12, 2007

Dogs & Leashes - Comments from Squeaky Connors

I received an email from Squeeky Connors following the recent post “Dogs Need Leashes”.  She has asked me to share her comments with neighbors.  She’s made some constructive proposals worth considering.  Thanks for your comments, Squeaky.  Your viewpoint is appreciated.  

Please read her message that follows:

“The laws in Hugo concerning dogs state that a dog should be under the control of it's owner . They do not say dogs must be leashed at all times.  Now that I've got your attention . . . 

Our German Shepherd Troy, looks like a wolf.  I know that can be intimidating, therefore I leash him when others are around.  I now go to the park earlier in the morning to play ball with him, trying to arrive before others.  We generally use the vacant lot for other ball times.  At almost one year old, Troy has completed classes in Basic Obedience and Puppy Agility and is now in Intermediate Obedience.  We are working hard to train him to be a good citizen in the environment where we live.  

If someone is afraid of our dog, I would encourage that person to meet him. Know that when people approach us I will always leash my dog (except in cases where I already know the people are comfortable around him off-leash).  I respect that some people will still have fears and not want to meet any dog.  I encourage parents to tell children who are unsure about this particular dog, that German Shepherds help the police keep our communities safe.  They work on farms, help people with disabilities and find people (especially children) when they are lost.  Just this year a dog named Gandolf ,who looks very much like Troy, found a lost boy in North Carolina.  I encourage parents to teach their children how to meet a dog by asking the owner if they can pet the dog.  Troy is a good one to practice with.    If a child is frightened, I encourage parent and child to approach us and ask questions.  This is an exceptional dog.  He was hand picked by an expert to be a companion for our daughter who has Cerebral Palsy.  He is meeting this hope with flying colors as he is a very sweet and intelligent dog.  His greatest joy is chasing a ball.

There sure are a lot of dog owners in our neighborhood.  Certainly a majority.  Perhaps we should consider enclosing a small portion of each park for a doggie play area.  Our dogs love meeting up with the other dogs for romping and socializing.  Dogs that play well with others are much better neighbors than dogs who don't.  Here are a couple of other ideas I have.  Feature a dog (or other pet) each week on our website.  Include a picture and short bio about the pet.  Pet "meet and greets", "pet parades" or "read with a dog" times in the park.  Scheduled doggie playtimes instead of random spontaneous events.  Maybe dog owners would hold a fund-raising event to raise money for fencing (the non dog-owners can be our biggest contributors).  I would love to work with anyone who wants to enhance the lives of everyone in the neighborhood by finding ways that dog-lovers and others can live more happily together.  I would like to invite anyone who is interested in talking about this to my home on Friday June 22nd at 7:00 in the evening. Both "dog" people and "non dog- people" are invited but if you come, you must bring a positive and helpful attitude.  This meeting is not for anyone who wants to confront the situation with conflict.  This meeting is intended for those people who want to make things better - not worse.  This neighborhood is full of friendly, helpful, good people.  I'm sure we can turn this around to make our neighborhood a safer happier place for all the residents - including those with tails.  Squeaky Connors  14356 Cosettte Way N (Blue and White house on the corner with the wheelchair ramp in back).  651- 207-6138  If you can make it on the 22nd please call or email me so I can have enough treats for everyone.     skveeky@comcast.net  “