I felt I had to weigh in on all of the dog complainers writing letters to the editor.
I have been living on Marine Drive for three years and my balcony overlooks the pier and the beach south of the pier. This position allows me to see what goes on along this strip of walkways and road.
Dogs don’t chase birds with the intent to maim, dogs generally get great delight in chasing birds, but I have not seen one injure any birds or catch one. On the other hand, I see parents encouraging the children to run after the birds and throw stones at them. Unbelievably, the parents throw the stones, too, while the birds are resting on the land or in the water. These individuals are actually trying to hit what they are aiming for. The difference is at least the birds see the dog running, but not the rock aimed for their head.
If you own a dog you are responsible to keep it safe by training and understanding the nature of your pet. I personally had always owned Doberman pinschers. Understanding the reaction people have when they see this breed it was up to me to ensure the dog and the public could relax when I was out with him. If we met nervous people I could see it and the dog could sense it. At my signal he would sit where I told him to until the person passed by. Off leash, I would snap my fingers and he would sit and wait for the OK-to-move command. I see too many dog owners who haven’t developed the skills to walk or control their dogs. Whether it is a small dog or large dog you must walk the dog and have complete control of the dog’s behaviour and be able to anticipate any potential problems.
I found it heartening to have a stranger relax and stop and inquire about the dog and in the end actually petting him. Training isn’t easy or cheap. It requires dedication and work but it is worth it to you, your dog and the general public. On the matter of the leashes, the stretch lead complained about by a previous writer has a brake on it. Once again, if your dog is always on the long length you have a problem. The long length is intended for an open space where you don’t have to worry about nervous people. The dog should always be relaxed and in the heel position when you are walking on a crowded walkway. If this is done properly the dog is happy and everyone else is, too.
On the subject of dog poop, from what I can see just about every dog owner picks up their dog waste when it occurs along our stretch of beach. If only we could train the geese to pick up their poop we would have nirvana.
It seems to me that the general public and their offspring could make a little more effort to educate their children about nature and instill a respect for all God’s creatures and learn to appreciate the beauty in diversity. Dog owners who consider their pet part of their family and companion should also keep in mind that there are people who do not like dogs, who do not want to share what they consider their space with dogs. With this thought in your head, do your part and make sure you and your dog are doing your best to keep everyone happy. The idea is for everyone to have fun and share leisure time in a harmonious manner.
If you are a dog lover, do your best for your dog with good training. If you are a dog hater, stop going out of your way to denigrate and criticize. Don’t be shy about speaking directly to the dog owner about what is bothering you right at the time it happens. A dialogue would be beneficial to both. This can be done with both sides listening, and the dog owner may be unaware of the consternation he or she is causing you to feel.
Lastly, I read letters to the editor on bonfires on the beach. To those of us who live along the beach this is part of our neighbourhood. When someone sets a fire on the beach where do you suppose the smoke goes? If you guessed right in to our home you would be right. If you live on a street an neighbourhood and someone lit bonfires in front of your house it would not be tolerated for long.
In closing, we have dogs, fires and, lastly, noise. Loud mufflers drown out our conversations, idling vehicles spewing exhaust in to our homes and lastly, the drunken louts at night with their off-colour language and loud music.
This is our neighbourhood and for all to enjoy. However, it seems to be forgotten that we live here year round and choose to do so because of the vibrant beauty of it. Enjoy it all and respect each other. There is always common ground.
Gail C Forman, White Rock