Tim Curry, duh.) Dogs are seriously the best! And, because my dog is the best of the bestest, I have to say that I frequently feel guilty for keeping him on his leash all the time. He's smart and well-behaved, for the most part. (When he's not trash digging for snacks.) He's also very sweet natured. I trust him around children and other dogs. I mean, I trust him to be sweet around ANY non-squirrel being. (I'm positive that if he ever catches one, he'll tie on an apron that says, "Kiss the Chef," ram a stick up the squirrel's butt and eat him kebab-style, there on the sidewalk.) But, he's nice to everyone else. So, sometimes I think, man, what a bummer that he always has to be on this stupid leash when I walk him. But, do I ever think about taking him off leash?
NO. No, I do not. My little freak is always on a leash.
If I lived in a small town or out in the country, sure. He could be all foot-loose and fancy free. He could trot on out to where the deer and the antelope play and I wouldn't give a shit. But, this is Los Angeles. The leash is for his own good. In my neighborhood, you have to contend with: cars, buses, bikers, skateboarders, coyotes, pedestrians, helicopters, dudes in bowler hats on razor scooters, crazy yelling homeless people, drunk chicks trying to walk in heels and (last but not least) dogs that for some fucking reason are not on their leashes. If I let Hogie off leash, who knows what would happen? He could get scared, run out into traffic and get run over. He could get excited to see another dog, run out into traffic and get run over. He could see half a pizza on the other side of the street, run out into traffic and, you know, GET RUN OVER.
Never mind the fact that it's the law to keep your dog on a leash in Los Angeles. It's dangerous and rude not to! Several times Hogie and I have been chased down the street by a pack of adorable but super aggressive dogs whose owner is always a block away talking on the phone or smoking a joint. This dude is never paying any attention to the fact that his dogs are a)wreaking havoc up and down the street b)crossing intersections WITHOUT LOOKING BOTH WAYS and c)scaring the shit out of little dogs who are on leash just minding their own business peeing on palm trees and being adorable and whatnot. Not cool, man. I'm taking care of my dog. I don't need to take care of your three dogs as well.
One time I stopped an unleashed dog from running out in front of a Prius while the owner flirted with some shirtless guy scratching himself on his balcony. I have a friend whose little dog was attacked by a big unleashed dog who had apparently "never done anything like that before," which might have been true. But, dogs are animals and they live by different rules than we do. They don't understand about intersections and Priuses and not eating other dogs. They need us for that. The only way to make absolutely certain that your big dog won't make a snack out of a little dog is by keeping him on a leash.
The leash you're legally supposed to have on him at all times unless he's at a dog park or in your yard, bro.
I'll admit that Hogie and I have met unleashed dogs who were on their very best behavior. Of course we have. The owners seem great, the dogs are sweet and adorable. Everything's all hunky dory. But, I worry about the one time the dog gets spooked. Even the best behaved dog in the world could decide to run after a squirrel or to take a bite out of a yappy chihuahua. How will you stop him? What are you gonna do then?
Put your dog on a leash when you're in the city. Pay attention to what you're doing when you're walking him. Pick up your dog's poop. It's not that hard. And if you don't want to do all of that, move the hell away from L.A. I hear Montana's lovely this time of year.
*photo of Hogie pre-hike. On a stupid leash.