Dear Fellow Dog Owners & Dog Lovers,
First of all, I’d like to point out, I’m not a perfect dog owner. I don’t get things right all the time. My dogs don’t always behave and I certainly don’t know it all (!) but despite all of this, something happened yesterday which frustrated me so much, I had to write this.
One of the greatest experiences we have as dog owners, is the ability to enjoy adventures with our dogs during dog walks. There are so many opportunities in the UK to take our dogs with us wherever we go. This trend looks set to continue and we are so lucky! Experiencing the great outdoors and the wonders of nature is not only good for our dogs and their well-being, but our own as well.
During one of our favourite walks, we stumbled upon a new area we’d never seen before. It was a nature reserve. So picturesque. So quiet. Beautiful. When we approached, I actually assumed dogs wouldn’t be allowed, so I was thrilled to see a sign showing dogs were allowed (but on a lead).
The moment we entered, I could see why leads were needed; multiple rabbit warrens with young bunnies hopping in and out, along with a large variety of wild birds. It was magical. As we continued walking, I spotted a large pond and as we edged closer, I saw something breathtaking! The pond was literally brimming with tadpoles!! There must have been thousands, if not more! I truly have never experienced something so incredible during a dog walk.
My happiness soon turned to complete horror though, as barrelling towards me were two dogs (not on leads) and where were they heading?! Straight for the water! Yes, dogs often want to use their instincts, chase rabbits and jump in open water, but this was certainly not the time, nor the place. We were in a nature reserve! We were in their area. This was their haven and we were privileged to be experiencing it.
Despite warning three times about the tadpoles, the owner completely disregarded us, allowing the dogs to plough through the water and straight over all the tadpoles. I was absolutely incensed. The attitude from the dog owner? “Well, they’re only tadpoles…”
In this moment, I have never been so disappointed in a fellow dog owner (and I can truly see why so many non-dog owners detest us). There was no regard for the pond or area we were in. The arrogance was staggering. Whether you’re a lover of nature or not, if you’re taking your dogs to a nature reserve (the clue is in the title) or anywhere else with rules, you should adhere to them. If you don’t like the rules, there are plenty of other places without. It is our responsibility as dog owners to respect the areas we’re walking in.
The actions of some dog owners lead to consequences for us all. If we keep abusing privileges during dog walks (and I believe access to a nature reserve with your dog is a privilege) these opportunities won’t exist. The restrictions now in place for dogs across many beaches during the summer is a clear example of how the actions of a few, lead to implications for us all. Let’s not abuse the opportunities given to us. Let’s appreciate the nature around us and respect the areas we walk in during our dog walks. The UK has never been so dog friendly, let’s not give people a reason to question it…
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…
Sarah, Ted & Millie xxx