Monday, March 14, 2011

When to leave Fido home (Hint: Dogs are often happier at home)

This dog is tied in the street in the rain
In Portland, it's common for people to take their dogs with them everywhere they go. Normally, I applaud this behavior, as I think dogs appreciate the opportunity to keep the pack intact. However, there are some cases where it clearly isn't in the dog's benefit to come along with you as you go about your day.

Case in point.

While my husband and I were having lunch yesterday, a man tied this dog outside. As far as we could tell, they had just returned from the dog park, as the dog had some sort of Frisbee hanging off his leash. It was about 45 degrees, pouring down rain and quite windy. There is no cover over this dog, and he is able to stand in the street.

While I can understand that the man likely thought that he'd run his dog for a bit and then reward himself with a snack, it seems clear that this would have been a great opportunity to leave the dog at home. Standing in the pelting rain is not fun, even if you're covered in fur.

I didn't say anything to this particular dog owner, as many other people walked right by this dog tied in the rain. I started to feel a bit like the crazy dog lady who wants to intervene when it may not be truly needed.

However, a quick poll I did this morning demonstrates that I'm in the minority here (I even had respondents become irate that I did NOT say anything -- may have lost a few friends).

Anyway, if you're someone who thinks tying a dog out in the rain is acceptable, I would appeal to your higher nature and remind you that your dog depends on you to keep him safe and healthy. But you should also know that there is a subset of people in Portland who would be willing to confront you directly, and confront the owners of restaurants directly, if you engage in this behavior. If you dislike awkward conversations, again, best to leave your dog at home.