I will say it from the start: I know how unfair this is to you. I know it’s unfair to you because you’re different.
You’re not like everyone else, and neither is your dog “Rex.”
Your dog is better than my dog, that’s all there is to it.
Rules shouldn’t apply to you, but I am going to have to tell you, well, they do.
Those signs about every 100 yards that say, “Dogs must be on a leash,” they apply to your dog too.
I know, I know. You’re special, and something like this cramps your style.
But here’s a narrative: There’s a man in my neighborhood who walks his unleashed dog everywhere, and the dog goes wherever it wants. It doesn’t stay by its owner’s side.
It goes into yards, up on porches, over, under, sideways, down.
The owner looks like he is humming a Belafonte song. Everything is a groove.
We have rabbits in the neighborhood: lots and lots of rabbits.
One runs from a bush, and the unleashed dog sees it. There is a pursuit into the street.
We have something else in this neighborhood. It’s near a high school. That means we experience a lot of drivers who have had their licenses for about two weeks, and the speed limit? Well, it’s just a suggestion.
The dog, the rabbit, and Andy Hardy all convene.
That’s one narrative. Here’s another. Harry and I leave for a walk at exactly the same time that Rex is sniffing at our door.
Rex and Harry meet and greet. Rex is about six times larger than Harry is.
Rex would not be safe. Rex would not be safe from me. I will do whatever I have to do to protect my dog.
There’s another narrative, and it’s the most important one.
Leashing dogs around here is the law.
Laws are broken all the time. Littering? By the ton? No turn signals? Who really needs to know which way you are going to go next?
I see parents with their small children and dogs walking our block. Mom or dad is mindful of the child, while Snoopy has a field day.
If it’s a financial consideration, and I know times are tough for some of us, you can make a leash out of a piece of rope.
I just checked, and if you have Amazon Prime, they can have a leash on your doorstep, by tomorrow, for around $5.
They come in colors. They come in different lengths. Some are retractable.
Need one? I’ll be happy to get one for you. I really don’t want to take a broom to your dog’s head.
But I will.
There are these hindrances in a life of ease, aren’t there? Most of the signs have something else kind of annoying on them.
They say you’re supposed to pick up after your dog.
That means poop. But, for goodness sake, it’s icky, and not only that: It’s biodegradable.
We have some characters here who pick up after their dogs, and leave the baggies on the greenbelt.
It’s been said before, it no longer seems like many of us know or care if our behavior has an impact on others.
It’s called limitless self-absorption.
(The broom is right by the door.)
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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