A Shaggy Litmus Test

A notion presented itself when walking on the narrow bends of the West River Trail. I’m writing it and putting it out there to help me see if it’s valid. Since the path funnels everyone onto its slender and shared byway, I was wondering about people’s concept of consideration for others.

The gist of it is, society can be divided into four types of people:

1)People without dogs
2)Those who have dogs but let them go unleashed
3)Those who walk their dogs leashed, but with so much slack in the line they may as well be a mime holding an imaginary rope
4)Those who respectfully use the leash to keep their dog in control and within a proximity to themselves.

This measure does not factor whether or not anyone is a “dog person”, or what the virtues of a particular dog are.

The first group is self-explanatory, although studying subtypes may be a fertile field of future inquiry. The second group, people with dogs who “walk” them unleashed suggest a libertarian bent, boldly or blithely asserting — let nature be natural. Although they may have a leash in their pocket, they are adding a touch of uncertainty to everyone’s excursion.

The third group attaches a leash, which implies compliance, but give their dog ample leeway to charge, sniff, or even mount, which may suggest a mixed message. Perhaps they’ve overestimated their dog’s cuteness or benign aspect, or haven’t considered those afraid or indifferent to barking, snouted, occasionally drooling quadrupeds.

The last group gives hope for a cohesive social fabric. They “get it”, co-existing unselfishly, downplaying the variable snuggle-ability of their beloved pooch when encountering strangers. Free Agents…. Anarchists…. Wildcards…. Altruists…. Of course I’ve oversimplified, and these qualities inhere in each of us. Nothing is fixed, overlaps exist, and responses may vary depending on circumstances.

This may not be as foolproof a gauge of compatibility or character as the test from years ago, “Which is your favorite Beatle?” But it seems at least as telling as Red/Blue…Liberal/Conservative..Religious/Agnostic

Comments | 1

  • Yes

    I’ve been owned by several dogs but they knew limits, never had the liberties dogs get now. Dog owners who barely pay attention shouldn’t have them, IMHO.
    And another thing. 🙂 People who show up at your house with their dog. WTF?

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