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Zen and the art of dog walking

A couple random, but related, things.

Today I went for a mountain bike ride. For the third time in the last few weeks, I had a negative encounter with an off leash dog – lunged and barked at me even though I stopped riding and put a foot down. Now, before you get upset/defensive, I love dogs. I have one. But, if you can’t control your dog, and/or it has ANY chance of acting aggressively towards other trail users, PUT IT ON A LEASH. I feel very strongly about this because I think it is unfair to the dog… if it can’t behave, and acts aggressive towards the wrong person (or other dog), it could get badly injured or killed (shot, kicked, pepper sprayed, bitten, Etc). This isn’t a threat – personally I’d have to be 100% out of options (retreat, climbing a tree, etc) before I’d hurt a dog, but not everyone shares my worldview. I understand that your dog may enjoy walking off leash and exploring, and I have no problem with it if it behaves, but “he’s never done that before” won’t help anything after an incident. Do your dog a favor and follow the rules.

After said incident today, I realized I need to work on letting go of the things I can’t control. Unfortunately that encounter happened early in the ride and I spent way too much of the rest of the ride ruminating about the encounter, how irresponsible the owner is, Etc.. I didn’t ride well because I was distracted/upset, and it turned what is usually the best part of my day into, well, less than it could be. I don’t know if there are mental exercises for this, but no one wants to hear me sing “Let It Go” so I need some other option…

Stay safe out there.