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Dear PoP – Don’t Leave Your Pets Tied Up Outside

“Dear PoP,

I’m writing this to hopefully educate some young or inexperienced dog owners. On Saturday, I was having breakfast at The Diner in Adams Morgan. When my partner and I arrived, a beautiful lab mix was tied up outside the restaurant looking very anxiously at the door and barking at everyone coming and going. We were seated at a window table, so we had the pleasure of watching this dog suffer great anxiety during the entire 45 minutes we were seated. In addition, numerous families with small children were letting the kids touch, hug, grab, etc., the dog in a variety of manners. The dog was sweet (luckily) but all the attention was making it more anxious. I finally left the restaurant and went outside to sit with the dog to calm it down while my partner settled the check. I noticed there was a phone number on the dog’s tags, so I called the number to let the owner know that the dog was having a hard time. Needless to say, the woman who answered the phone was clearly irritated by my call and the subsequent lecture I laid on her about leaving her dog unattended when she came outside. Although she wouldn’t look me in the eye, I could tell that she was very upset. She had her young baby with her, and I thought to myself – I bet she wouldn’t leave the baby unattended outside. To her credit, that dog looked to be incredibly well cared for and loved, so she is definitely not a generally negligent dog person. But the attached picture taken while I was still sitting inside shows that the dog was very upset.

My point is this: Dogs cannot fend for themselves, and do not understand when a person disappears inside a building for long periods of time. They worry. They get scared and nervous. And they are vulnerable to the behavior of random people passing by, including the possibility of being stolen. Please don’t leave your dog tied up outside unattended. Doing so is just asking for trouble and, in most cases, doing so causes anxiety for the dog. Take the dog for a nice long walk, take her home, and THEN go out to your favorite place for a beer or lunch. You’ll do your dog and the people who care about dogs a great favor.

One more thing – my appologies to the woman who I lectured about this. I know it was uncomfortable and probably embarrassing, and I wish I had handled the situation a little more diplomatically.”

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