Lady, Your Dog Is Miserable

A great backyard way to keep the dogs cool.

Sadly, as the title implies, many dogs I observed while vacationing at Niagara Falls where not having fun. One dog, engaged in a game of Frisbee on a grassy shady park area, looked blissfully happy. This dog was fortunate enough to have an attentive human being. My own dogs were enjoying their respite away from myself, but I could not squelch observations of dogs on “vacation” with their humans. Being trained to observe, my vacation could easily have become a series of lectures to complete strangers on how stressed their companions were. Fortunately (for our relationship) I practiced some impulse control, and we had a fabulous time.

 One little terrier mix, though, left a lasting impression. It was hot, really really hot, and the cobblestone walkways were like ovens. In fact I remarked on this to Argil as we strode along, intent on reaching the Maid of the Mist departure. Trying to keep up and look at the falls simultaneously, I noticed the wee dog amongst the masses, panting, forlorn and ignored by its` humans, who were also sight seeing. The irony did not escape me: all that water and no sign of any available for the thirsty fellow. No backpack, no dish, no water bottle, no signs of preparedness for a thirsty dog. The sight they were not seeing was that of their miserable dog. As you might gather, this is an issue that really bothers me.

 My American Lab Bridget travels wonderfully, and has accompanied me on many a trip. In hot weather, we keep to shady grassy areas, and are often at places where Bridget is able to swim and be off leash, not amongst masses of humanity. To her, walking along in the baking heat, hearing and seeing water with no access, would have been a form of torture. Every time I saw a dog, I was happy she had remained at home for this trip. I am rarely anywhere without at least one of my dogs; this trip would not have been a good choice for any of them.

 How many dogs were out baking in the hot sun, on the hot cobblestones?  In my opinion, away too many. What does it take, I wonder, for people to have dog awareness, to realize that their dog is miserable? I wonder how dog owners can most effectively be taught that the comfort of their charges comes first and fore most? This is a frequently discussed topic amongst training colleagues. Was I remiss in not advocating? Perhaps it was a brief picture taking opportunity, with a return to the shade, and water for their pal. I hope so. My conscience is not at ease. In the meantime, perhaps someone will read this, and forward to a friend who was thinking of taking their dog on vacation? It is possible to leave them at home, happy and comfortable. My own dogs seemed to survive quite well without me.