Tuesday, August 25, 2015

EverythingDogBlog: Beware the Jogger!

EverythingDogBlog: Beware the Jogger!

Columbia, Maryland, is a town well-known for its miles and miles of wide asphalt paths (wider than the very narrow concrete sidewalks) through the ‘woods’ dotted with playgrounds called Tot-Lots every so often as well as a few (very few) benches, and opening on to large fields on occasion – some with basketball courts.

These paths criss-cross into various housing areas from single family homes to townhouses to apartment complexes, sometimes along streams. It is not unusual to spy a deer or two at almost any time of the day. Paths are part of what we term, open space, and are accessible during daylight hours (not lighted at night).

People stroll these paths, as do joggers and kids on bikes and dogwalkers, but, dogwalkers, especially, must beware the jogger! (There are fewer bicycles, but this warning applies to them as well.)

Beware the Jogger!

Nowadays so many people wear earphones while driving (neither safe nor legal), walking, riding bikes and especially jogging, that doing so has become a nuisance (they don’t hear a “Hello!”) if not dangerous. Columbia’s paths are populated with joggers – enough that walkers, and actually everyone, need always be on the lookout - hard to do with earphones in, being mesmerized by music.

A Pair of Jogging Incidents

I heard of two incidents recently that I want to relate to you.

First Incident

A neighbor was walking his dog on an open-space path and stopped to pick up a ‘deposit’ his dog had left. He put his dog in a Sit-Stay (great idea!) and was bending down to bag up the poop from the grassy area aside the path when, all of a sudden, his dog jerked away when a jogger suddenly appeared without warning but within touching distance, scaring both dog and walker. It turns out neither the person nor the dog had been aware of the jogger until he was nearly upon them.  But the jogger had been aware of the person and dog and could have avoided the surprise and possible incident by merely announcing his presence from a distance.

The Right Thing to Do

Of course, a dog may bark and leap out of the way when startled! And some people startle more easily than others as well. The dog walker can lose hold of the leash and the dog can run away, frightened. Or the dog can lunge toward the faster bike rider or jogger when startled. . . so to protect yourself and prevent from startling others on paths and narrow sidewalks and, just to be polite, please announce that you are coming up from behind. We will get out of your way. It’s the right thing to do.

Tomorrow: Another, All Too Common Incident

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