Walking Safely Isn’t A No-Brainer

After a dramatic incident involving an escaped dog today, a re-post of this entry about walking safety seems timely.

I walked into the building where most of my clients reside a little over an hour ago and was met with a shocked look on the face of Carmen, the lovely daytime concierge. She told me a dog had just run into the building with NO HUMAN IN TOW and entered an elevator, presumably in an attempt to ride up to his apartment. The building’s management team scrambled to figure out who the dog belonged to after securing him in an office and sending an intranet alert, and the owner came forward quickly. Then the poor dog walker wobbled into the lobby, sobbing and hysterical. She was unconsolable, because despite the fact that the dog was ok, she will surely lose her job.

This situation is precisely the reason I verge on having OCD about equipment safety. It’s the reason I pester my clients about having harnesses that I approve for security and quality. Because A) every dog walks differently with a stranger than with his or her owner (this also makes a case for hiring a consistent dog walker rather than a service that will send different people…a bond is invaluable in times of emergency and can decide whether your dog bolts or stays put and waits to have a leash re-attached), and B) it’s better to make your dog tolerate the feeling of a strap against its skin than to see it escape and…nightmare of nightmares…get struck by a car. It’s moments like these that prove my control freakishness is justified (ok, about this, but maybe not so much about my husband’s loafers being in the middle of the floor, I could probably relax a bit there).


I marvel at the many dog walkers I see wearing headphones or talking on the phone, dogs attached to belt loops, while crossing even the busiest intersections. I’m safety obsessed, probably due to my vast, and sometimes unfortunate, experience in all facets of animal care. I’ve rushed badly injured dogs into vet clinics, sobbing owners in tow, and assisted the vets as they fruitlessly attempted to save fading lives. Seeing the results of auto injuries and dog fights day after day as a veterinary technician was more than I could bear, because an animal in pain is sheer torture for me. You can explain injuries to at least adult humans, but animals have only to fear the worst.

(This walker is sort-of famous all over Chelsea/The Flatiron/The Village because he always has 10 to 15 dogs with him, and they miraculously stay exactly where he places them in the pack…

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3 thoughts on “Walking Safely Isn’t A No-Brainer

  1. Marcela says:

    I am totally with you. Great post. Yes, it is better to have the same dog walker so your dog would be more apt to following his/her cues in case of an emergency. I am dog trainer, and when dogs stay with me vacationing, one of the things I double check, perhaps a bit paranoid, happens to be their leashes, collars, hardness, etc. Also, I never ever wear headphones nor answer my phone while out walking. Whatever it is could wait. My mind and full attention is to the dogs I am walking. Thankfully, I’ve never had a bad incident, although a few dogs have charged at my dogs.

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