A Plea for the Leash


To the Editor:

Ah, Springtime! Sun, a light breeze, the dog bounding through the woods… Hang on a second. Do you actually have voice control over your dog?

I ask, because true voice control is vanishingly rare. It’s not your dog returning to you every once in a while, when nothing particular is going on. It’s your dog returning to you, when there is something Terribly Interesting he’d dearly love to check out. I have seen it in very settled older dogs, and only rarely at that. Never seen it in a puppy.

My own dog is not particularly unfriendly. But it’s context dependent. He has never been a fan of strange dogs running up to him and getting in his face. Even with friendly intentions – and intentions are mostly friendly. He’s just not a fan. As a side note, he’s a poultry guy, so he cannot be off lead ever.

Walks on a leash are not such a bad thing, for the dog. It’s companionable, and there’s a whole world of scents to investigate, while we’re strolling through the woods, clueless and oblivious to them.

But when do they get to play, you ask?

Dog parks work – for some. Fenced-in backyards with dog friends are great! They can dash about, and throw each other to the ground, and execute whiplash hairpin turns without being in the least bit threatening or anxiety-inducing, because they already know each other. Slow introductions are always best.

So, this is my heartfelt plea to reconsider the leash. It keeps them safe, keeps them near you. Also, at least in the town of Tisbury, it’s, you know, the law.

Petra Lent McCarron

Vineyard Haven