How does one politely tell their neighbor not to let their dog run in the street for fear that the dog will get hit by a car?
A Concerned Neighbor
Dear Concerned Neighbor,
My first reaction was, like yours seems to be, deep concern for the dog, but it was tempered with a dollop of judgment. I have two dogs and I inwardly cringe at the thought of them frolicking in our busy street. I had to remind myself of two things:
Firstly, my dogs are often to be found in places they shouldn’t be, and, as little as I like to admit it, I often have only moderate control over their activities. They humor our 6 foot fences, but they’ve demonstrated on several occasions that they can both clear the fence with several inches to spare, and seem to stay confined in our yard merely out of respect for us.
My Olympic champion-like dogs aside, I had to remind myself to reign in the judgy feelings a little bit; I know next to nothing about your neighbors or their dog.
This is not to say that your concern is misplaced or invalid. I’m just suggesting that if/when you approach them, you don’t do it from a place of judgment, because they will pick up on it and your kindhearted worry will probably go un-dealt with.
Are the owners standing by supervising when their dog dashes into the street, or are they elsewhere, like inside?
Let’s assume they’re outside watching:
Head over to them, greet them, and then say something like, “Jeez, when I see Sparky running in the street I get so worried! Cars go so fast on this road, and I would hate for something to happen to him….” Hopefully, they will respond in agreement, or at least with an explanation for their allowance of his roaming. You could suggest some dog parks or fields for them to take him to stretch his legs. However, even if they are resistant, there isn’t much else you can do. It is, after all, their dog. Shrug, smile, and say to yourself (or out loud if you’re feeling sassy) “Well, at least I tried.”
If they’re inside or out of sight when he’s in the road, I would suggest heading over to their property and knocking on the door. Depending on your comfort level with the dog, you could take him with you back to his home, or leave him in the street for them to deal with. When they answer the door, give them your spiel.
If they aren’t home when the dog goes gallivanting, (and you’re comfortable with him,) you could scoop him up and deposit him into your own (fenced) back yard. But please, make sure to leave a note for them so that they know where he is.
As always, if you’re seriously concerned about the dog’s well being, you can call the Montgomery County Humane Society at (240)-773-5960.
Best of luck.