To the editor:
Twice in the past week during walks in the park I have had to be abrupt to young kids (a toddler and a pre-schooler) who startled my dog and me by running up behind us with the intent to pet him. In both cases, the parents were too far from their children to intervene.
My dog is a 50-pound work dog, not a plaything. He grew up around frat guys and adults and is unaccustomed to children. Elderly with limited eyesight, he is sensitive to movement around him, especially from behind. The daily walks are part of his — and my — health regimen. As we exercise, I do my part to be respectful of city ordinances and the environment. He is always on a leash in the park, and we always attempt to keep a distance from others, especially gatherings with children. And, yes, I scoop his poop.
While I take care of my animal, I have to rely on parents to teach children how to co-exist with dogs in public spaces. At a minimum, kids need to be taught not to run toward a dog, especially not from behind; not to scream at a dog, taunt it or throw objects at it; and they need to know to ask permission (from a safe distance) to pet an animal. Parents, let’s please work together to make the parks safe places we all can enjoy.