To the editor:
Canines receive quite a bit of news coverage in this area, whether regarding Plum Island beaches, excrement pickup or dogs gone wild without leashes in parks. It is evident that dog owners are very passionate about their best friends, love them very much and want them to be happy animals.
My experience with dogs and their owners is extensive (as with most people), as many people own dogs and must take them out into public to exercise and take care of certain "business." Many dog owners love their dog nearly as much (more, in some cases) as they would a human child.
There is one problem, though, that is pervasive among dog owners: They do not, apparently, comprehend that not everyone loves — or even likes — dogs. As incomprehensible as it may seem, there are humans who do not find dogs lovable, cute and friendly.
To clarify: not everyone likes dogs.
I can give various reasons for disliking dogs, not one that wouldn't meet with resistance and argument from most dog owners. And that's fine. We don't have to agree on the value of dogs. It's personal preference, and that leaves an "agree to disagree" reality.
What needs to be respected is an individual's right to keep dogs at a distance. This one point seems to confound dog owners everywhere. There is a disconnect in the brains of dog owners preventing them from comprehending that their love for dogs does not automatically translate to everyone else.
And I'm not referring to those who ruin it for everyone else. I'm talking about dog owners, in general, based upon personal experiences.
I live in a relatively high dog-per-capita area and regularly walk the Riverwalk in Amesbury. It's a great trail: peaceful, beautiful, with friendly people.
Until an unleashed dog runs up to me and rubs its nose on my leg. This happened to me just the other day, with two large dogs. I asked the owner very politely, but curtly, to "put those things on a leash in the future." I received an irritated grimace as I proceeded down the trail.
Imagine if a human being was walking past you on a trail and then veered over into your personal space, either inches from your body or actually touching you. Would you be OK with that?
I wouldn't, and I don't appreciate having an animal, leashed or unleashed, touching me without my permission. That is why I don't appreciate dog owners who intentionally let it happen.
And yes, I have been bitten by a dog. That literally and figuratively has scarred me, when it comes to dogs entering my personal space.
I don't begrudge a human being owning and caring for a dog. Enjoy its personality, affection and devotion.
But respect my right not to be forced into interacting with your dog. Make the connection that no matter how much you may think dogs are universally wonderful, there are people who do not feel the same and would appreciate it if you kept your dog at a distance.
Brett A. Manoloff