A Dog and the Idiot Holding the Leash

Yesterday I shared that I’m in a funk. That funk has carried over into today. Funny how that works.

This morning, as I was leaving for work and heading toward my first client of the day, I had an encounter that was really not an encounter at all. That doesn’t make any sense. Let me explain.

When I got home from work yesterday, I parked on the curb around the corner, as I sometimes do. So in getting into my car and pulling away, I turned the next corner so I could work my way over to the traffic light and get on with my drive toward my first client of the day.

Before I even got a block away from where I’d been parked, I was forced to slam on my brakes. Why?

Because of a dog.

Here’s something you should know about me: I don’t like running over animals. It happens from time to time. Squirrels that dart out and then change their minds at the last minute and try to go back across the road. Rabbits that have horrible timing. Even the odd bird that flies too low and slams into my headlight. Yeah, that did happen once.

So… no, I don’t like running over animals. Even when I’m in a funk. Because I’m not some sociopath who feels no remorse upon taking the life of a helpless creature.

The dog in question, darted out from between to cars parked on the side of the road. Of course, upon seeing the dog, I hit the brake and came to a stop. For a split second, I thought this was just a dog that was randomly wandering the downtown streets. Then I noticed the leash and that it had to be leading to a human being that was holding on to the other end.

Sure enough, from between those same parked cars came a woman just strolling into the street and following the dog. She had her back to me. Didn’t bother to do so much as turn her head to see if a car was coming up the road. Didn’t seem to care that a car very nearly took the life of her precious little pet. Just walking out into the middle of the street without a care in the world, following a dog that was clearly in charge of this walk.

This woman was very nearly across the entire road before finally acknowledging my presence. She never quite made eye contact with me. And as she turned her attention back to the direction in which her dog was leading her, she raised her hand in a wave. I assume that wave was thanking me for not running over her and her dog.

People of the world who are walking your dogs in a downtown area at the start of a typical work day… I realize that, as pedestrians, you have the right-of-way. This is something I like to believe about myself in those rare moments when I am a pedestrian. But just because you have the ability to assume the right-of-way in most, if not all, pedestrian situations, this does not mean you should leave your brain at home and not utilize common sense when crossing the street. Even if you think the street is not a busy one, you should still look both ways before crossing.

Also, keeping in mind that you are walking your dog, make sure that dog does not dart out into the street before you are prepared to actually follow. And by “prepared” I mean you’ve thoroughly checked the status of the road to make sure that someone isn’t driving in your direction or, if someone is heading your way in a car, they have acknowledged you and your right as a pedestrian to cross the street safely.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Feature Photo by Martin Dalsgaard on Unsplash


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