These truly are the dog days of summer for me. Not only is the weather wonderfully warm, but I am the proud parent of a new puppy! Life suddenly revolves around crate training and house breaking... and I am just thrilled. My new puppy has reminded me of how much I enjoy being a dog owner. My childhood dog was a rescue mixed-breed named Mike. Mike was large and furry. He was most likely some sort of boarder collie mix and he certainly had a mind of his own. I will never forget one spring day when Mike was dragging me down the street and a passer-by quipped "Are you taking him for a walk or is he taking you?" Walking a dog is not always as simple as it seems, but it did get me thinking about common courtesies when walking, jogging, and biking in this sunny summer weather.
Make Way ~ When walking with friends, and as others approach, you may need to fall back to single file in order to allow people to safely pass. Momentarily pause your conversation and allow enough walking space so that no one has to step off the sidewalk or trail to avoid a collision.
Present Your Presence ~ When approaching others from behind, always announce your presence. A firm -- yet polite -- "hello," "bike right," or "excuse me" will help ensure you are not startling the person as you continue on your way.
Always Aware ~ When exercising, music is a great motivator. Manners matter, but safety first. Be sure your volume is set low enough so that you can still hear cars, animals or other people approaching.
Perfect Passing ~ Even when on foot, the rules of the road apply. Always stay right. The left "lane" is for oncoming traffic and passing.
Know Where You Go ~ On the streets, those on foot (walkers, joggers, etc.) should be moving facing traffic. Those on apparatus (bikes, scooters, etc.) should be moving with traffic.
Who Are You ~ When out and about, do be sure you have some sort of identification on your person in case of emergency.
Does a Bear ~ Pet owners, as you run, jog or briskly move along, if your pet poos, please pick it up. Just because you turn your head or pretend not to see it does not make it go away. This is doubly true when the evidence is left in the middle of the sidewalk or trail where others are in danger of stepping in or sliding through your mess. And this is triply true when the evidence is left on your neighbor's lawn.
A little bit of kindness, consideration and thought goes a long way to ensure everyone is having fun walking in the sunshine. Now if you will excuse me, I do believe it is time for Dory's afternoon walk.