I have just this week Unfollowed a Blog. This is not a particularly unusual thing for me to do because I Follow so many, with the resulting email traffic, that when one is clearly moving in a direction that holds little interest to me, then I simply Unfollow. Those that become “tourist blogs” and those that focus on fashion are the first ones to go!
The action this week was as a result of a Post which I felt was misleading and potentially hazardous to dogs. I commented accordingly (and explained the basis for my concerns). The reply from the Blog’s host was rather rude and totally overlooked my points because they were apparently sick to death of negativity about their Posts. It was also mentioned that I had made similar comments sometime earlier about a similar Post (I do try to be consistent!). The fact that my earlier comments clearly had no impact was not particularly impressive either. So what was all the trouble about?
It was nothing more than a video of a man on a mountain bike riding quite fast along a wooded trail… with his dog running behind him. The video was presented as a “this is such fun” concept which, to the man and his dog, could well have been. My issue is the potential interpretations of such videos.
For any of you that are not sure where I am going here. There are a number of TV ads relative to cars which announce “Skilled driver on a closed road – Do Not Attempt” (or similar wording). One would like to believe that common sense would render that information unnecessary, but it was clearly deemed important enough to include in the ad.
Showing a video of a dog chasing its owner who is on a bicycle has some potential issues. A dog can become so loyal and/or protective, and become so absorbed in “the game” that it can run itself into a dangerous state of exhaustion; A dog running at bicycle speed will (like us runners) lose some degree of muscle control after a while. We have trails here that run close to vertical drops of considerable depth, and dogs have fallen over and met an untimely end. We have read about dogs that appeared to suddenly find a more attractive scent than that of their owner and take off into the undergrowth. Were they ever seen again?
My point is not that videos of dogs having fun should not be shown, but that some explanatory comments are either included in the video, or at least stressed before the video is displayed. In my particular Blog “incident” the response included the comment that one would like to think dog owners have more sense than to try it without knowing the capabilities their dog. I agree completely in that one would like to think that… but one can’t. Just go to a local shelter and talk to the staff about the current “residents” and how/why they were there!
Perhaps I am just too protective of Ray and dogs in general, but I would rather err on the side of caution than feel responsible for a dog meeting an untimely end to its life.