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?


Tina said...

I think your thought is appropriate. Once when my cocker spaniel(Brittany) was alive, I had her on the leash in a field neighboring my apt. community. One of my neighbors let his rott weiller loose saying oh, she just wants to play. She came bounding at me and Brittany from about 100 feet and I could tell she did NOT want to play. I nearly choked my own dog by her collar that day thrying to prevent the Rott froming tearing into her. As it was, my dog sufferred from a pretty good bite to the hiney as she swung from her collar like a dangling Christmas ornament! I will never forget it, and as you know I have a 5 lb. chicuacua now. Even she never runs free in public! I say leash leash leash!

Anonymous said...

I totally understand--I was PETRIFIED of dogs as a child! My brother was also once bitten by a "house dog--used to people! would never hurt at thing!" The problem is little kids are sometimes just as unpredictable as doggies (and usually not as fast or strong!).

I wonder if there is a dog park somewhere close? Maybe if you mentioned an alternative location, they would be appreciative...Still praying for little guy and labor and all that jazz!!! love,monica

Dawn Reiss said...

Amelia, I think what you thought of to say is just perfect.

The Herd said...

Your "snarky"isms are just too funny! You have my sympathy and my laughter!! I don't know what I would do, other than leave the park and say close to the owners hearing that we will come back when there are no dogs to scare anyone. I don't really know what I would really do, but I could see myself doing that:). Lots of wisdom to you on that one!

Sharon M said...

People let their dogs run free in the parks in Denver all the time; I still feel a little nervous about it, even though my 3 yr old is totally fearless when it comes to... well, just about anything and very gentle with animals :-) We've had to teach him to ALWAYS ask mommy and daddy before going to see someone's dog, but I agree with you, dogs (esp large ones) should not just run free around the park. I've heard too many horror stories about friendly dogs biting children.

Amanda said...

Amelia - I come to your blog every day looking for the big news. I know you won't post it right away, but I still look. :o) I am still praying!

amelia said...

I will post when I go into labor so you peeps who pray can pray away!

I am really thinking that ironically this baby will be late. Tomorrow is the next full moon so hopefully that will work in my favor!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so behind on blogging.

You should be able to play in the park without fear of someone's dog knocking your child down. I would say something to the person and how you phrased it was diplomatic. I would also check to see if your area has a dog park. Frisco now has an ordinance that people are not allowed to bring their dogs into the play areas within so many feet for just this reason. Kids can't play and run when people bring their animals not to mention the dogs' need to do their business where kids are playing is just disgusting. And I LOVE dogs!!!

Hope all is well with you.