Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Do Better Off Leash Too

In today’s Washington Post, Metro columnist John Kelly wrote a piece called “I'm Okay, You're Okay and Your Dog's Okay, Too”. It was written in response to another column he wrote about dogs and their owners last week called, “Depends on What the Definition of 'Friendly' Is” in which he dissected the familiar dog walkers greeting “Is your dog friendly?”

“How am I supposed to answer that? Yes, Charlie is friendly -- really, he's a very sweet dog -- but how can I know your interpretation of the word "friendly"? Some people might construe energetic humping as extremelyfriendly. Others might be horrified. Charlie is a dog who likes pushing his butt into your knees in the hopes that you'll scratch it. Is that unfriendly?”

John concludes that it is best to let the dogs figure this out for themselves. That’s part of what being a dog is all about he argues, “It's really his only hobby, you see. His nose is his instrument, the world is a symphony and your dog is a violin solo -- or, ideally, a duet.”

Of course not all dog owners ascribe to his open tail philosophy and that led to today’s column with feedback from his readers. Most urged caution when encountering other canines on a walk but one had a better suggestion.

“Marsha Stanley's yellow Lab, Marcy, has a life that I envy. She and her owners split their time among their home in Oakton, a high-rise apartment in New York and a lakeside home in the Adirondacks. Romping through the woods is fun, but one of Marcy's favorite things is the off-leash time in Central Park. "After 9 p.m. and before 9 a.m., Central Park is one huge off-leash dog park," Marsha wrote. "Marcy spends hours and hours there running from group to group of various breeds of all sizes, giving everyone the smell test. It is interesting that we have never encountered a single aggressive dog during these outings. I think part of the reason that hundreds of dogs can get along so well is that they are off leash. My vet confirms that there is some behavior switch that changes when dogs are off leash."

Both columns are pretty funny. It also made me think that we could probably use another off leash dog park in Howard County. The only existing one, Worthington Dog Park, is always busy.

I think I do better off leash too.


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