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.
Seal Beach and Idyllwild