Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Keeping your dog safe in an unpredictable world

Liam the pug in his bed
Liam would rather not think about all of this.
Earlier this month, Spot Magazine tweeted about suspected rat poison found inside Irving Park in Portland. I waited to write about it, as I thought perhaps a news organization would pick up on the story and supply nervous dog owners with a little more information. That's exactly what happened in 2003, after all, when some sicko left poisoned sausage in Laurelhurst Park. That attack killed eight dogs, but the coverage was so rampant, it's likely that dog owners took steps to keep their little ones protected when they knew the dangers were there.

Unfortunately, no media story seems to be forthcoming, and I'm not sure the danger has passed. After all, just a few months ago, someone left antifreeze in a dog park in Tigard. Here, experts suggest that the person was also trying to kill dogs, although no one has taken responsibility for that act.

Call me paranoid, but I think someone is up to no good in our area, and we should all be a little more careful as a result. I'll go ahead and sound the alarm right now, and outline what I'm doing as a result.

I keep Liam on a leash 90 percent of the time, and when he's off the leash, it's only in an area I can see and investigate on my own. Hiking trails, bike paths, mountainous dog parks, these places are all off-limits to off-leash work for Liam as I can't see what dangers might be around the corner. Flat, grassy spots, on the other hand, seem safer.

As an added precaution, I've been beefing up Liam's "leave it" command. I've asked him to drop potato chips, bread and even cookies when we've been on our walks, and I kick the debris I find into the gutter so it can be washed away in the rain. Normally, I would let him snack on little bits that sloppy snackers leave behind, but now that just doesn't seem like a good idea.

Finally, I'm monitoring Liam pretty closely when we are out and about, just so I can ensure that he's not doing anything he shouldn't. I've never been cavalier about what he does, of course, but I like him to stay close when we're moving around, just so I can make sure he stays safe.

I hate the fact that we all have to be so careful with our animals, and I really have no idea why someone would choose to poison or attack animals. In general, I hate the fact that recent events have made all Americans just a little more paranoid about spending time together and sharing large public spaces with one another. I'd rather we all discussed our problems, rather than attacking one another and engaging in random terrorism. But rather than singing Kumbaya while other people do as they please, I suppose I'll become one of the watchful, weary, worried masses, just hoping that things will change soon. At least my dog and I will be safe.

No comments: