I live in a lovely small town on the North Yorkshire coast and in winter take my daily walk along the promenade that stretches around the sheltered bay. Old-style wrought iron railings top the stout sea walls, keeping small children and toddlers safe from tumbling into the sea. When the promenade runs out, it's down on to the soft sandy beach to walk for a few miles, watching the waves and dogs frolicking in the sea and then racing along the empty stretches of golden sands. Idyllic. Yes, so far so good. Bear in mind, miles of empty beach down there in the winter time for the local dogs to exercise on.
Then spring comes around and the visitors pile in. That's fine. I don't mind sharing my lovely town. Everyone needs a break to to feel the sun on their faces. But - do they have to bring two or three dogs apiece with them?
Now, don't get me wrong. I love dogs. I have always owned dogs, (or they owned me). I hope I have been a responsible dog owner and no, I'm not going into the smug-zone here, but I don't think I ever let my dogs carry on the way the promenade dog-walkers do.
It's not the dogs fault. As ever, it's the owners. What gets into people when they put their dogs on the end of a lead? Is that it? End of responsibility? Walking behind them or trying to walk past them, or even trying to avoid them as their dogs run towards you, jumping up and covering you in doggy-wet sand - it's not the best epxerience.
The scenario : the dog owners are ambling along the promenade, usually in family groups, pushing strollers, chatting, minding small children, licking ice creams, chomping on burgers, pizzas, kebabs, chips. You get the picture, all life is there. And lastly and I do mean lastly - there is a dog, or multiples of dogs strung out on a lead that is nominally attached to their hand and that's about it. What the dogs get up to seems to be entirely their own business. They can run around any strangers feet, can run at least two or three yards ahead and wrap themselves and their leads around someone's legs, (usually mine) and trip them up and guess what? 'Oh my, isn't that just funny now,' trill the owners, as they briefly nudge their dogs back into line. And in the next second? Correct. They turn back to their ice-cream/burger/pizza/kebab/chips/chit-chat, chit-chat and the dogs are free to roam all over again.
So, my top tip when sitting on a bench on the prom. Never, never leave your tea or coffee unattended or your picnic unguarded. That is so irresponsible of you. Why, you are just asking for those dear little/large/outsize dogs to bound up and sink their noses into your food and slap their tongues around your coffee. Yep, it's sure to be your fault for leaving your stuff around. After all, 'dogs will be dogs, you know.' Just watch out; the next doggie owner that says that to me with a fond dopey grin on their face. I may not be answerable for the consequences. Just sayin', that's all.......