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Dear Lucy: Multi-Use Trails and Happy Tails!

Dear Lucy,

Sometimes my person takes me for a walk down the garden path (Burke Gilman Trail). It’s an overwhelming experience with all the people and animals and things to smell and explore. When my person gets distracted with her device and lets me wander, there can be horrible loud yelling from passing cyclists who nearly crash

because of the (hard to see) leash across the trail, especially in the winter when it’s dark all the time. How can I make sure my person sees the signs posted on the trail by the City of Seattle that encourage her to keep me on a short lead and within reach at all times? I don’t want to get tangled up with a bicycle or stroller or skateboarder, or make a runner trip because my leash is an invisible barrier. Can you remind us of the guidelines for safe use of multi-use trails, during daylight AND dark hours?

Wag wag,


Woof! Yip! Wilson!

Oh, I know what you mean it can be really scary sometimes when those bikes come wizzin’ by! The best thing is to make sure your human keeps you close when they are on a busy trail like the Burke Gilman or when walking around Greenlake. With multi-use trails such as these, dogs need to be kept closer to their human owners and not allowed to be on a long leash due to the dangers.

According to the Seattle Department of Transportation humans are encouraged to keep their pups close. The Vision Zero/Be Super Safe “Keep Fido Close” campaign has been educating Seattle-area residents of the dangers of long leashes on busy trails.

Your human might want to post a couple of these signs along areas that have high traffic so that everyone is aware of the dangers posed by having dogs on long, barely visible leads, this is especially true of retractable leashes which are normally very, very thin.

Your human can print out a copy the “Keep Fido Close” sign by clicking through Seattle Pup's website--click here. The Be Super Safe/Vision Zero Seattle /Department of Transportation Program is devoted to ending traffic deaths and serious injuries. This includes the serious injuries that can result from leash-related accidents. *Note: "Keep Fido Close" was part of an earlier project and is not available on the city's website at this time.

It is also a good idea to encourage your human to make sure your leash is reflective or has reflectors attached. There are several reflector-style leashes out there. Our neighbors over at Amazon have the Nite Brite Reflective Leash available and it is just one suggestion of many. I love to visit locally run pet stores and encourage you and your owner to purchase a reflective leash at one of the many local pet shops!

Also, don’t chew too much on that leash! Many of the cities around this area have leash laws that require human owners to keep their pups leashed when walking around the cities or visiting the many parks unless they are in an off-leash dog park. For a list of off-leash dog parks in the Northwest please click here.

Happy Tails!



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