Walking Your Dogs Can Save Their Lives

By Stephen Longo, CEO, The Fifth Paw

We all know some of the wonderful benefits getting out and walking your dog provides: exercise for both you and you dogs, fresh air, as well as time to bond. But I recently found out first-hand what the most important reason was for taking my dogs on regular walks around the neighborhood.

I routinely walk my dogs around several neighborhoods surrounding our home. This has afforded me the opportunity to meet some of my neighbors that I probably never would have met otherwise. So many of us get up, go to work, come home and vegetate in front of the TV or computer. We cocoon ourselves from the rest of our communities. Walking your dogs not only allows you to meet some really nice people, it may save your dog’s life.

Let me tell you how.

I live on a, sometimes, busy road. My yard is completely fenced in, but during a particularly windy storm, a large section of the wooden fence came down. I immediately had the fence company come right out and put up new fencing that day because of our dogs. One morning, I let the dogs out into our yard, checking on them from time to time. I never leave them outside completely unattended. After a little while I felt as though they should have come back inside given their normal behavior patterns, so I went into our yard looking for them and calling.

But they were gone. It was a mystery. The gate was shut, but they were gone. My stomach sank. This could not be happening.

I found out that one of the recently replaced wooden fence panels was improperly screwed into its post with screws that were too short and had come loose. Unless you looked at it from the correct angle, you couldn’t see that it was pushed out on one side and that was where my dogs had gotten out of the yard. This breach in the fence literally happened overnight.

Who knows how far they had gotten? I could barely think fast enough, let alone breathe. Something had to be done quickly. I waited 40 years of my life for my first dogs and didn’t want to think about them wandering lost. Both had ID tags and microchips, but that would not help with cars, weather, etc.

Just as I was grabbing my keys (all of this took place within a matter of minutes) an amazing neighbor named Jack, who I had met while walking my dogs, pulled up into my driveway and shouted that he had just seen my two Danes, Caesar and Chloe, about a half a mile away walking down the road side by side.

Thanks to my neighbor, both pups ended up back home safe and sound. And I got the fence properly re-repaired! I learned a very valuable lesson about how important it is to get out and meet your neighbors, let them meet your dogs and know where you live. Also, be sure to let them see what a responsible dog owner you are, and that you care about the neighborhood by properly picking up your dog’s poop while out for a walk.

Pet GPS, chips and tags are awesome, and I highly recommend them, but technology can sometimes fail. Having real people who care about your dogs is a priceless additional layer of protection. Time is of the essence when pups go exploring. What a gift it was to have a neighbor like Jack on that day. I am forever grateful.

Wishing You Many Happy Walks!

Author Stephen Longo is CEO of The Fifth Paw that makes a cool leash attachment that allows pet parents to be Hands Free! Doody Free!® when walking your dog so that you have a safer more enjoyable walk. No more juggling full bags of poop. Stays Clean & Tangle free! Made in the USA! The Fifth Paw