Well, this is a new one for me. I have seen people take their dogs out on a leash and walk with them. I have seen people take their dogs out on a run with them. I have seen people do both, with their dogs off leash. I have seen people ride their bikes with their dog or dogs both on and off leash. I have seen people take their dogs for a run while they drove beside them on a deserted country road. And just a few days ago I saw someone driving their ATV with the dog running alongside them. But, last night I saw something new and unexpected.

Taking their dogs, three of them, for a walk or hike or swim, whatever you want to call it, while boating.

We were out on the North Shore Rugged Trail yesterday evening when I saw a tin boat heading out along the trail. I could hear a dog on the boat start to whine as the boat went past Thunder Creek. Continuing along the trail, heading north past Thunder Creek and reaching Survey Monument along the trail, I saw what was up. Three large dogs, two German Shepherd type dogs and one Husky, had been let loose to run back along the trail, while their owner followed offshore in the tin boat.

Two of the dogs came running up at us barking and the dog owner started shouting at them. The third dog came along quietly a few seconds later. Fortunately, it all passed without incident.

What kind of inconsiderate idiot lets three dogs loose on a public trail? Oh, I guess the inconsiderate idiot type. Dogs in packs are unpredictable. And the owner is not there to offer some sort of supervision.

I have heard it all. “Oh, don’t worry they are friendly.” “They bark but don’t bite.” “Oh, it seems they don’t like you.”

I’m not dog-phobic. I grew up with German Shepherds, Bouviers, Rottweilers, and Giant Schnauzers before they became trendy. I have come to understand that unsupervised dogs are unpredictable, especially in groups.

The North Shore Rugged Trail is a public area that needs to be treated with respect and consideration. I have on several occasions been confronted by dogs, alone or in a ‘pack’, that have been let loose to run with their owners following far behind. It turns a pleasant walk into a confrontation with dogs and owners. The owners typically won’t back down and try to blame me for the behaviour of their dogs. At least I don’t have a dog on a lead. I would be more worried about my dog.

On the positive, a few minutes later we came across a couple hiking the trail with their dog on a lead.

Old man, get some exercise while pumping a little less carbon into the atmosphere; walk, don’t ‘boat’ your dogs, preferably on leads.

Shooting Me a Dirty Look from the Safety of His Boat