Etiquetteer is probably going to anger a lot of dog owners with this column, but so be it. Earlier this year, taking a weekend constitutional through the Arnold Arboretum, Etiquetteer witnessed two unleashed dogs going after a dog on a leash with its owner. The owner of the former rushed up saying "I'm really sorry!" once or twice and making a show of commanding "Sit!" The extent of this dog owner's sorrow was visible ten minutes later, when the dogs were seen trotting along, unleashed and without visible owners, down another path.
All this left Etiquetteer to think "But not sorry enough to follow the rules, which are posted at every gate of the arboretum:"
You'll observe that the very first rule on the sign is "Dogs must be leashed; dog waste must be removed." It should not be necessary for Etiquetteer to point out that an arboretum, by definition, is for the study and display of plants, not a playground for dogs. Or humans, for that matter, but far fewer humans put the plantings at risk by pawing through them or committing Acts of Metabolic Waste. Or attacking each other, one hopes.
Now Etiquetteer can just imagine the Righteous Outrage of that dog owner saying that the arboretum is convenient and that dogs need a place to run. And, as Etiquetteer has said so often, Convenience means nothing in the face of Perfect Propriety. As to the latter issue, Etiquetteer couldn't agree more. Dogs do need a place to run about unfettered. And in so many communities there are parks especially for that purpose, called dog runs. Patronize those places, dog owners, and do your part to keep the peace. Because, just as no one cares about your Loud Child, no one cares about your Misbehaving Dog either.
Etiquetteer knows so many Perfectly Proper dog owners, ladies and gentlemen who genuinely care about the behavior of their pets and how they impact others, and applauds them for their consideration of others. Etiquetteer dearly hopes that their Good Example will inspire their Errant Fellows.