Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Proper Park Etiquette?
We went to our favorite playground park today (aka "the supercool park"). It has two sections: a younger kids playground and an older kids playground. Both are fabulous and it even has that squishy foamy stuff underneath all the equipment so that if kids fall it is pretty soft. We always play at both parks during our little excursions but today we ran into a snafu. Here is where park etiquette comes in.
Is it proper to bring your dogs to the (playground) park and let them run loose?
I say no for the following reasons:
1. Some children are very afraid of dogs. Why would someone bring their large dogs to the park and let them run around the playground where a multitude of children they don't know are playing? The child came to the park to play not get a panic attack by an unleashed dog.
2. Even if the owner feels positive that their dog would NEVER attack anyone--I think it is wise to keep in mind that dogs are still animals and owners cannot guarantee that their beloved pet would not bite a child.
I am a little sensitive to the issue because Isaac is scared of dogs. He got bit by our neighbors dog, Chipper, back in Texas. Chipper (who by the way is not described as "chipper") stuck her mouth on our side of the fence after Isaac fell and bit his toe. Thankfully the wound was just a small scratch but since then it takes Isaac a long time to warm up to dogs. So, when I take my kids to the playground I want them to be able to run around freely on their turf and not worry about someone's dog freaking him out.
In the past year two of my good friends children were bitten in the face by dogs that were previously fine around children. Both had stitches in their face and one was pretty serious. It just seems to me that the playground dog owner was showing a lack of wisdom in letting her dogs run around the playground.
If she had kept her dogs on a leash I wouldn't have thought twice about it--it is just the fact she let them run around where 10 kids were playing that bothered me. I thought about saying something but I couldn't think of a good question or comment to ask her without sounding rude about it. I wasn't feeling particularly snarky about it and felt that it deserved mention but nothing came to mind.
Perhaps if we run into her at the park again I might think of something to say like, "Pardon me, my 2 year old is really afraid of dogs. Would you mind putting your dogs back on the leash? I don't want him to feel afraid on the playground." All said with a smile and lovely tone of course.
Any ideas of good questions or comments I could make in the future?