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Good Dog, Bad Owner 

This morning, my one desire was a simple thing; a quiet walk through a beautiful setting without the need to fend off an attack. So

This morning, my one desire was a simple thing; a quiet walk through a beautiful setting without the need to fend off an attack. So today I took my dog for a morning walk in the park. My dog was on leash and we delighted in the crisp air and newly fallen leaves. Suddenly two large dogs appear out of nowhere and rush towards us like freight trains. As the two unleashed dogs jump at and bare teeth at my dog I look around for an "owner" while trying to untangle a growing brawl. Off in the distance I hear, "Come on (dog's names)...". Her dogs do not readily respond. I ask her if she could put her dogs on a leash and she responds, "Oh, they're good dogs." She finally manages to disengage her (good) dogs and continues to allow them to rampage far from her side. Now although the ordinance is clearly posted, and widely known by all dog owners, (good or otherwise), I see this woman every day - I literally see her every day from my backyard - letting her dogs run as though she owns the entire park.

Psst! Your secret is out: just because you allow your dogs to run so far out of your sight that you don't see them leaving their stinky, does not mean you are not responsible to clean it up. Hmm, let's see; the library is a public place. Is it ok for me to leave a pile in the aisle and sneak away hoping no one notices?

Imagine if we all got to pick and choose which laws we'd like to adhere to. 'That law doesn't apply to me; that's only for bad dogs and although it affects everyone, I'm a good dog, so I'm exempt.' (I am pleased to know that in Bend we have both on- and off-leash options available by choice for both good and bad dog owners.) I wondered what the criteria were that defined 'good' dogs, beyond the interpretation of the owner's love for their pet. Of course one could then quickly digress to believing there are "right dogs" and "wrong dogs." Correlations abound.

I consider myself a "good person." However, does that judgment exempt me from laws of my own choosing? I believe there are laws that are "unfair" and/or unjust. I don't always feel like following all the laws all the time. But that doesn't give me carte blanche to pick how and when I will follow them. If you don't agree with the law you're breaking, work to change it, rather than allowing yourself special exemption, all the while claiming piety. Good dogs. Bad citizen.

It's not really about leashing or not leashing your dog. It's symbolic of how you choose to exemplify your citizenship in your own community and beyond.

Loraine Albertson

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