Letters to the Editor
Dear Seattle Pup,
I am a runner. I have covered many miles in many places over the last twenty-five years. As I creep up in age and my body gets older, I have switched to primarily trail running. The dirt trails are much softer on my body, and my running partner agrees. My loyal rescue dog, Dodger, is a greyhound mix that is built for running. Long, lean, and muscular, he is excited for every run. Together we have traveled many happy miles, however, there have still been some upsetting moments . . .
Dodger and I both enjoy nature and all of its offerings, except for one thing—the dreaded off-leash, out-of-control, doesn’t-listen-to-their-owner, but super-nice dog. Dodger gets nervous when he sees another dog running at us. When this happens, I get nervous, and then the dog is upon us. And while I know it’s not a good idea, I try to hold Dodger back, or get between the two dogs. (I’m trying to prevent a situation here!) Just about then is when the owner shows up, exasperated that there is a problem because their dog is so nice.
Sometimes I just keep running and let the owner scream after their dog. Not my problem. Other times, when I am forced to stop because they are blocking my way while trying to wrangle their dog, I usually use the moment remind them that there is a leash law, and their dog is not under voice command, i.e. Your dog doesn't listen to you. Inevitably I am a kill joy. They are shocked that someone would ask that their cute dog to be leashed. This can happen up to four times per run!
The off-leash dog is upsetting for many reasons. People are afraid of dogs. Dogs are afraid of dogs. Children aren't familiar with how to approach dogs, etc. What happens when my dog, who is leashed next to me while running, is approached by an off-leash dog? Who's in the middle? Me. Or what if I have my young sons with me? This has the potential to be a very dangerous situation. Or maybe it is something as simple as I just don't want your dog’s dirty paws on me—no matter how nice or cute said dog may be.
I am running, I do not want to chat or play, so please collect your dog and let me pass.
Whatever the case may be, please keep your dog on a leash and under control at all times—
even in wooded areas.
A runner who just wants to run