Life with Sampson and Delilah….The 411


The park at the top of the street isn’t an off-leash dog park.  Heck it isn’t even a dog park if you want to be technical.  It’s a soccer field surrounded by trails.

Most people who walk on the trails either have a dog, or have had a dog in the past.  Most of these people walk(ed) their dogs at the park off-leash.

There are a lot of people who use this park, but most of them don’t care to walk their dogs with me.  When I mentioned that in a post a couple of days ago, a few of you asked why.

This is the way I see it.

I’m a conscientious dog owner.  I want to make sure that my dogs are well-behaved and respectful.  I do not want to be the reason that animal control says you can’t walk your dogs up here anymore.

Okay, I do admit I fall into that…..what did Kristine call it?

Oh yes…..MDIF (my dog is friendly) category but for the most part I’m very consciousness when I walk my dogs.

I keep my dogs close by and do not like them to be out of my sight for a number of reasons.


I always pick up after my dogs when they poop.

Okay you got me… if Sampson goes off the trail and poops, no I do not go in after that, and yes  I might sometimes push some poop off the trail if Delilah decides to squat where she’s walking.

But I never, ever leave my dog’s poop anywhere that someone could step in it.  When they poop in the field, I pick it up.

Besides, I need to make sure their having normal poops. 🙂


Most of the people walk with dogs, but there are some who walk alone.

Let’s face it, not all people are dog people and those people do not want to come across an unaccompanied dog that they have no idea whether the dog is friendly or not.

This person could call animal control or worse, scare or hurt your dog.

Or your dog could hurt someone else.

“S’s” dog Brady is a jumper.  Not too long ago he jumped on a mentally disabled person causing them to lose their balance.  The person went down a number of stairs, somehow (amazingly) managing to remain on his feet.  Imagine the trouble ‘S’ and Brady would have been in if he hadn’t.


Delilah loves to run off the trail and scope out other people’s property.  She will scrounge around looking for food.  Maybe this doesn’t bother some people, but what if she damaged something?  Remember the time she got caught on the air conditioning unit?  It’s a good thing (for me) that she didn’t do any damage, I would have been responsible for that.

Other dogs

The few people who do walk their dogs on leash do so for a reason.  Perhaps their dogs are fearful, maybe they are runners like Delilah.  They do not want unleashed dogs rushing up to their dog.

One would hope that no-one would let an unpredictable dog off-leash but we all know that not every dog owner is responsible.  I like to supervise any meetings my dogs have.


We are walking on hiking trails.  This means there are rocks, cliffs and fallen trees.  How can I help my dog if (s)he becomes injured if I do not know where they are?

Not to mention animals.  There are wild animals that could really hurt my dogs up there.  Granted they should not be out during the day, but I’m pretty sure if they’re rabid they don’t worry about what time of day it is.


I have big dogs, I worry about bloat.  I’m very cautious about making sure we wait two hours after eating.

Sometimes I walk before breakfast, but I still make sure to wait an hour before I feed them their meal.

But there are kids who like to go into the park at night and have bonfires.  They sit around the fire drinking alcohol and baking potatoes.  Not that a potato should hurt my dogs, but you never know what else those kids are doing.

And it’s not just food items that can be dangerous, there are bugs, small animals and plants that can be dangerous to your dogs.  If you don’t know where your dog is you cannot monitor what your dog is eating.  And if you don’t know what your dog ate, you can’t tell the vet and get the proper treatment.

You get the point, right?

Most people who walk their dogs where I walk don’t think like this.  Walking with me doesn’t jive with their way of thinking.

I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who walks up there that even has a clue about what could happen with/to their dog.

Are you like me, surrounded by people who don’t train the same way you do?

Comments on: "Clueless" (16)

  1. When we lived in town my girlz were always on a leash and like you I try to be a responsible pet owner and do the right thing (like all the above that you mentioned) Even now living on our farm there are times when I still leash the girlz (ie. skunk season and when I have to walk them in the dark before work when the time changes.)
    I am grateful that for the most part my girlz can run and be dogs without the worries of bothering someone else or better yet having someone bother US.

  2. Don’t know what happened to my first post, so trying again.
    Like you I try to be a responsible pet owner by doing the things you listed. When we lived in town my girlz were always on a leash so that others were not afraid of my big girlz and I had control when those pesky little dogs came running at us.(HATED THAT!!)
    Now that we live on the farm I don’t have to worry so much about that, however I do leash the girlz when it’s skunk season and when I have to walk them in the dark before work when the time changes.
    I am so grateful to be able to let the girlz run here on the farm. They are so HAPPY, and the funny part is that most of the time when they are out with me they are only a few feet from me. 80 acres and they are under my feet!!! 🙂

  3. I can remember a time, yes, I’m that old, when dogs were allowed in campgrounds, beaches and parks. But it just took a few idiots and their undisciplined dogs to ruin it for everyone. No dogs signs started going up in so many places.

    Sadly I don’t think there is a cure for irresponsibility. I see people in the grocery store with their kids running wild. I’m sorry for the dogs. I’m sorry for the kids.

  4. Frankie Furter and Ernie said:

    I think that it is IMPAWTANT fur us to be SAFE when we are off our own pawperty.. and fur other pet and even Peeps to be safe too… soooooo when we walk mom and dad we ALWAYS keep them on their Walkin Strings. No tellin what might happen if we didn’t. Better to be SAFE than VERY MUCH SORRY.

  5. I think we need to have a meet-up at your house and all go for a walk!

    I’m lucky that I have friends who walk their dogs on lead with me when we go. And I think your concerns are normal, I have many of the same. I think it comes from working in a vet clinic. When you’ve taken care of hit-by car dogs or ones bitten by a rattle snake, you become more aware of what could happen.

  6. Yep. Those are all the reasons that Silas 1) stays on his leash and 2) only uses the parks where the other dogs are on-leash. He doesn’t stay with me, and I’m an anxious mess when he isn’t right there. Especially since his idea of solving the world’s problems involves a lot of barking. He sounds very scary, and if someone were to (understandably) freak out about a weird dog barking at them there’s no telling what would happen.

  7. We have a different situation. We walk on a beach. There are strict rules (and fines) about not picking up which are followed for the most part.

    If you walk on the beach, you have to be OK with dogs off leash. The whole reason for the beach walk is to let your dog fetch in the water and get good non-impact exercise. There are times when we have seen 2 dozen dogs at one time swimming in and out of the bay. The good news is, they are so involved and excited about the fetch, they rarely take time to even sniff each other let alone get in an altercation. They are more likely to race each other out to the ball no matter who threw it.

    If someone has a dog that is not friendly with other dogs , they usually keep them leashed unless there are few people around. In one instance, a big puppy that was several yards away saw Queenie and ran toward us to greet her. She did not even put on the brakes and ran straight into my legs. I crumpled to my knees but was unhurt and the dog was unhurt also. Those folks should probably have kept their dog leased until it was better trained. Except for that, we’ve had good experiences so far, but there is always a chance for a problem.

    You are one of the best dog owners I know and have no reason to feel bad about how you handle Sampson and Delilah. Hope someday if you come this way we can take the 3 of them on a beach walk together.

  8. That’s a lot of good reasons for the way you walk Sampson and Delilah! Our “dog parks” here are just regular parks with off leash and shared zones so it’s a little different from your situation. Council gets complaints from a few vocal non-dog people about this but that has always been the character of our little peninsula. It has historically been a very dog friendly place.

    Georgia and her friends running off to find food is a massive problem and the source of many of her tummy upsets including the one a few days ago. Impossible to stop the dogs and very scary considering there are all kinds of food left on the ground, including cooked bones and pieces of squid and prawn with fishing hooks still stuck in them. I think that’s the human equivalent of not picking up your dogs’ poop. Wouldn’t it be great if we all were a little more responsible and not just about our dogs!

  9. You and I would have no trouble walking together. All of the things you consider are valid. Though the few times I have been out with hubby and he has been hunting the dogs I got a little panicked when they went out of sight. I think I worried too much in that case…lol.

  10. Another well written post with great points!! When we lived in a subdivision, we really tried to be conscientious about our dogs, who they came in contact with, etc. We also let them play off lead on a ball field. It was the only fenced place to take them and I always, always cleaned up after them, but it only took a few who didn’t to get us banned, and it only took one person to turn us in to animal control to make me want to move–In that one respect, they did us a favor! 🙂

  11. LOVE this post! I agree with every reason you listed. People think I am a worry wart, but YES, it’s being a responsible (and GREAT) dog owner.

  12. I often leave Doggy off leash but I’m really lucky he doesn’t like to wander too far away from me, he keeps looking back and if I hide (i often do lol) he stops and retrace his steps. But I always make sure I know where he’s walking and like to keep him close, when I see dogs just popping where I am and the owner no where to be seen I always look if it has a tag/collar, cuz I can’t imagine Doggy running free like that.

  13. All excellent points – we could so easily be walking buddies 🙂
    Gwynn does get out of sight in the trees sometimes, but I’m pretty recall obsessed, so the ‘game’ usually goes, “gwynn’s out of sight… whistle… watch dog doing a mad-dash towards me (ideal version of his return..)… treat, release, repeat”. As for people without dogs, or with dog on-leash, I assume they’re all dog-unfriendly until proven otherwise, so Gwynn only gets to meet them on-leash. Especially on hiking trails (not dog-offleash officially), I’m careful to leash him, or pull him in close, when we cross paths with other people.

  14. Well put, Jodi. I agree with all your points. I wish more dog walkers were good canine ambassadors like you are.

    I’d add one more. I walk with Honey because I like spending time with her. Yes, she needs exercise and stimulation. But I like keeping her close because we’re out walking together.

    It’s fun to see what she discovers on the trail. And it’s fun to intersperse our walks with games of tug and wading in the creek. If I felt like walking alone, I could skip the dog entirely and save a whole lot of money on dog food. 🙂

  15. […] Clueless – Author’s Note: […]

  16. Great post Jodi. Glad I got a chance to read it while playing catch up! There’s not many safe places in my immediate area to walk a dog off leash, (we are very close to the Long Island Expressway), but even if I did, I would keep my dogs leashed for many of the reasons you listed above.

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