We love Idyllwild’s special events, and we love our dogs, but sometimes the two don’t mix. I was witness to abuses at two recent venues I want to publicize, since some dog owners seem to be blind to their pet’s distress. Each event is a wonderful occasion and a must-see for me, yet both left me aching for the dogs affected by that ignorance or lack of empathy.

First, at the Lisa Haley concert, a couple of people carried their little dogs onto the dance floor to share the foot-stomping good times. The first reaction of many people was, “How cute is that?” However, when one considers the acute hearing sense of dogs, one realizes that it must be torture to be held captive in front of a loud band. People have the option of moving away if it gets overwhelming; these dogs did not. Many pets were present and may have been perfectly content at a distance from the stage, but my thought was, “If that little dog wasn’t deaf to begin with, it’s a sure thing after this — at least temporarily.”

Second, and even more shocking, was the incidence of abuses at the Fourth of July Parade. From the dragging of leashed pets into crowds they wanted no part of, to the futile efforts of dogs to hide from strident sirens, panting dogs alongside bicycle riders and (especially appalling) the tap-dancing steps of dogs trying to save their tender feet from burning pavement. Certainly, there were pets who seemed to tolerate the conditions without complaint, but all day I saw episodes of animals suffering the effects of extreme heat and noise because those owners wanted their company.

Is this any way to treat your “best friend?” Dogs may suffer in silence, but they do suffer, and our whims may cause great damage. I offered water and suggestions about shade and comfort to a number of dog owners; some responded well, others not so well. No “SuperDog Hero” swooped down to rescue the victims.

Please be realistic about the place you want to take your dog. Will it really be fun and safe for them, or are you just showing off a compliant pet in a cute costume? And if you see problems such as I’ve described, respectfully offer help if you can.

Lois Sheppard
Seal Beach and Idyllwild


  1. “Extreme heat”? “Burning pavement”? That’s a rather alarmist and exaggerated view of the 4th of July in Idyllwild. The temperature that morning at 10:00 am was in the low 70’s. Many folks come to this idyllic mountain town to save their dogs from the truly frightful experience of fireworks noise tormenting their pets elsewhere.

    If any sensitivity is needed regarding people’s dogs it’s from the dog owners who feel their little “precious” should be allowed in supermarkets and ignore public health laws, or who think their cute little pup should be allowed in shops where they shed on expensive clothes, frighten children or cause those afraid or allergic to avoid those shops. When did dogs gain the same status of children being pushed in strollers and afforded access everywhere? Why do people think it is OK to ignore the law regarding animals? Why do people let their dogs bark all day and all night disturbing their neighbors

    What’s next, people bringing their cats, reptiles, birds and horses everywhere and the entitled attitude that we all must accommodate them and their poop? One can only wonder what the mayor’s opinion is on the issue.