A few Saturdays ago I spent the day in my usual place, on the shelf at Petco watching the wild world of pet adoption. Lots of wonderful people came to look at pets and some even came with pets of their own. I am always glad to see people with their dogs because it helps to make them social and happy.
Then a young man arrived with a large white, long haired Great Pyrenees. They stood back from the pen but I immediately got worried. I looked at the beautiful dog and realized immediately that she was sick and might even be contagious. What was this guy thinking?
One of the NAFA volunteers stepped up, just as a little girl ran up to pet the dog. My heart sank. What were the parents thinking? The situation could take a very harsh turn any minute.
The NAFA volunteer quickly educated the young man on the dog he had brought inside the store – while the dog was very nice, it was suffering from sarcoptic mange, which many of you will know is very contagious to both animals and humans.
The young man took the dog from the store and an NAFA volunteer tracked down the parents of the little girl and they used hand sanitizer to clean their hands. The family recently brought home two bulldog puppies, so not taking home sarcoptic mange was important to them.
All this got me to thinking about people taking their dogs into public. I’ve come up with a couple of easy rules that people should remember.
1. Make sure your dog is healthy and in good condition before you bring it out in public.
2. Make sure you can handle your dog and keep it from inappropriate behavior, like peeing on every corner or lunging and barking at strangers
3. Make sure to bring doggie bags and paper towels to clean up any mess that your dog might make.
4. If your dog needs socializing help, contact one of the trainers at Petco and they can set you up with a free evaluation session with a certified trainer/behaviorist.
5. Keep your dog away from other dogs so you avoid any confrontations. Just because your dog is friendly with other animals does not mean the other ones where you are will be that way.
6. Watch for children and when they approach, ask your dog to sit and stay before you let the children pet your animal. It is good for your dog and for the children.
7. Make your visit a pleasant one and next time your dog will be even happier.
I also have a very important message for parents who bring their children in public where animals might be present.
Be sure that your children know that they MUST ask the owner of the dog first, before they try to pet or touch it. Not all dogs are as friendly and loving as me. Some are frightened and some, I hate to say it, but some are just not nice. It is the parents’ responsibility to make sure that children know this rule.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post,