The Year of Living Dangerously – What’s the Real Risk?

Overprotective Dad

Golden Retriever on a Cape May Beach

The beach is fun but there’s not much to eat.

March is poison prevention month. I’ve read some terrific posts this month sharing tips for how to keep your pets safe. You’ll find them here:

But I’m keeping my husband far away from them. He’s paranoid about poisoning Honey.

Whenever I give her some apple, he asks if it had a seed. After all, apple seeds contain cyanide. If I drop a little chopped onion on the floor, he shrieks and covers it with his foot in case Honey shows interest.

I don’t mean to make light of poison. People have tragically lost their pets due to poisoning. And that’s why awareness events are so important.

But is the greatest danger Honey faces due to poison?

Overprotective Mom

Yesterday, as I rode up in front of the house, I heard a woof from the backyard. I assumed Mike had gotten home before me and let Honey out. But as I pushed my bike through the gate, Mike was nowhere to be found. I shouted for him as I entered the house. Nothing.

Mike had come home for lunch and forgotten to close the back door before he left. This was the third time in about a week. (Oh, and if you’re a burglar or dognapper, I live at 273 Blaire Street in Nome, Alaska.)

Each time, I was so relieved that Honey was still in the yard. Anyone could have come by and taken her. And she would have been happy to go with them.

But is it really likely that someone will steal Honey right out of my backyard?

What’s the Risk

Some people let their dogs roam the neighborhood without supervision. Others drive with their puppies on their laps and the window wide open. And some people feed their dogs Ken-L-Ration.

Everyone has a different idea of acceptable risk.

Mike’s frightened of poisoning Honey. I’m frightened of losing her. But Honey knows the real risk lurks in a bicycle cart. 

What frightens you for your dogs?

Best City for Pet Travelers? 

Honey the Golden Retriever playing mini golf

How can I fetch the ball if you keep hitting it into that little cup?

Our friends over at Go Pet Friendly have dedicated themselves to seeking out the best places to travel with your pet. But traveling the country with test dogs Ty and Buster was not enough. They’re crowdsourcing the best city for pet travelers by asking for votes. 

My nominee, Cape May, New Jersey has made it through to round three in the brackets and is going head to head with St. Petersburg, Florida.

Trash talkin’ has gotten us this far so here’s why you need to go right now and vote for Cape May.

Trash talkin’ reason 1:

One of St. Petersburg’s biggest employers: the Home Shopping Network. What’s pet friendly about encouraging people to stay inside watching television for hours instead of going for a nice walk?

(not quite) Trash talkin’ reason 2:

According to Men’s Health magazine, St. Petersburg was America’s saddest city last year. Some things are too serious for even me to make fun. I find nothing funny about people suffering from depression and committing suicide. But having a fuzzy friend to care for can lift the blues. So I’ll gently suggest that St. Petersburg may need to become even more pet-friendly to provide the therapy its citizens need.

Trash talkin’ reason 3:

For years, St. Petersburg has been called “God’s Waiting Room.” Change it to “Dog’s Waiting Room” and we’ll talk.

Don’t delay. Vote for Cape May, New Jersey at the Best City for Pet Traveler’s brackets and explore all the other great places nominated by your fellow pet lovers.

And enjoy a taste of some pups enjoying Higbee Beach in Cape May.

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  1. I haven’t really given this much thought. i do worry about food – more things like big bone splinters and fish hooks since Georgia likes to scavenge. I worry that she might chase a cat one day and end up having to wear a muzzle or worse. I think I mostly worry about her growing old. I’ve lately started thinking about eventualities. Working out post-Georgia scenarios in my head is not healthy.

    Are we still on Cape May? :)

  2. Egads! What *don’t* I worry about?! Like you, I worry that Kol will be taken from our yard (a legit concern actually. In our city, there has been a rash of “dognappings” in recent years of all young, intact dogs, probably for mills. My difficult-to-find black puggle would be a real find.) I worry that someday, the fact the Koly isn’t neutered will come back to bite me in the @ss but I also worry that putting him through a risky & unnecessary surgery. I worry that Koly is going to be that dog, that eats poisoned meat at the park. I worry that Felix isn’t actually going to live forever, like I want him to and that if he had the choice, he’d go back to his old house, where they let him eat French Fries. Even though I know that statistically speaking, it’s more likely that my dogs will have a bad reaction to vaccine than to catch the disease the vaccination protects against, I still worry that I *should* be vaccinating them. I worry that the pet food companies are right and my high-quality, human-grade diet isn’t the best thing for them. I worry that I’m going to go grey by the time I’m thirty if I don’t quit worrying.

    And at the end of the day, I’m grateful for the fear. It was fear of the unknown that made me start researching dog foods. Fear of falling pray to marketing hype and propaganda that made me go back to school and fear that I was wasting my life that made me start blogging. Fear can be a powerful motivator and it keeps me from becoming complacent. (Of course, no one’s ever asked me to get in a doggy-ride. Maybe Honey’s fear is justified!)

  3. For years i lived in fear of someone leaving one of the two gates to the backyard open. Then someone suggested putting springs on the gates so they closed automatically. Duh. How come we can’t see the obvious solution when they should be so…well, obvious.

  4. Fear of dognapping isn’t necessarily invalid. Just last weekend a dog was taken from outside the public library where the dog’s owner had tied her up before going inside. The dog was a nine month old BC mix. One assumes she was stolen to be sold. It doesn’t get more awful than that.

    My fears usually lie around my dog getting some awful disease. I am super paranoid about ticks and tumors. Last week I found an odd-shaped bump on Shiva’s neck and just about lost my mind. It turns out, it was just a pimple. 😛

    Go Cape May and Halifax! Let’s hope they both make it to round four!

  5. My fear is that Rumpy will get out and roam the neighborhood, until somebody shoots him.

    These are fearful times. But I, for one, am tired of always being afraid.

  6. I fear the Greyhounds getting loose and running off. The way they can run, if they took off, I’d never keep up. Fortunately, neither of them really seems so inclined, but every Greyhound owner has the same fear, I think.

    Uh oh! Cape May and Halifax are both behind this morning! Maybe I won’t have to worry about you and Kristine going head to head after all!

  7. I’m so afraid of Bella running away – it’s my biggest fear. She’s managed to almost pull off 3 great escapes in our time together. She follows her nose and I’m pretty sure she’d keep following it until we couldn’t find her.

    So, to that in end – in my house, we’re super paranoid about the front door. We mostly enter and exit through the garage, where we can enter through the laundry room – we call it the airlock. No two doors open at the same time means no access to the outside. We had a double gate installed in our backyard, like a dog park. We have a sign on the inside of our door above the handle, telling guests to stop and make sure someone is holding Bella before they open it.

    No, I’m not overly paranoid… :)

  8. Well you made me laugh out loud with some people feed their dog Ken-L-Ration.

    I too worry about poisoning the dogs, but know for a fact that Delilah ate a couple of squares of Baker’s chocolate and still lived to tell the tale.

    Losing your dog or having someone take them is more of my idea of worry. I have heard of people’s dogs being taken right out of their yards. I’m very grateful that our current house sits far back from the road in a pretty rural area. It’s not a farm (darn it!) but the houses have decent distance between them.

    I did vote for your city Pamela, I hope you make it!!

  9. I can just see Mike shrieking and lunging in slow motion to cover a bit of onion as it tumbles to the floor! LOL!! With Ty, I worry that he’d run away if he ever got the chance … I’m convinced that’s he’s convinced there’s a better opportunity just around the corner. With Buster, that worry is non-existent. He won’t even let me go to the bathroom in the RV by myself – there’s no way he’d let me out of his sight and run away. With him I think more about his body’s over-reaction to medications and I wonder if he’ll someday suffer an auto-immune related disease.

    Perhaps you could help Mike remember to keep Honey inside by putting a note on the door that he uses to leave the house after his lunch break asking, “Did you close the back door?”

  10. When I look back now at the way Beau was raised vs. Bella, I am amazed he lived as long as he did or that I had him so long. Bella suffers from that realization as she is seldom out of my sight and certainly not while out in the yard.

    Our property is not permanently fenced. But my mother’s is and I still have trouble leaving Bella out alone in that yard more for fear of what she’d get up to on her own than fear of someone stealing her – ha, good luck with that, they’d have to catch her first. 😉

    Sometimes I think it’s just me over-reacting but then I remember that the world was a little different 18, 20, 30 years ago. I’m not one who believes everything was rosy ‘back in the day’ but the world *has* changed, and as we age, so do we: we know more and we have a right to fear a little more, mortality becomes tangible.

    I have been trying to gain some balance and perspective and, while I might not let Bella go for a walk with a stranger any time soon, I am trying to let her play in mom’s backyard without checking up on her every 10-15 seconds. It’s good for both of us.

  11. “Some people let their dogs roam the neighborhood without supervision. Others drive with their puppies on their laps and the window wide open.”

    Even if pet owners are willing to subject their own pets to these risks, they should have the slightest courtesy and not subejct innocent bystanders to them.


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  2. […] enough, Pamela at Something Wagging had a post The Year of Living Dangerously – What’s The Real Risk? where she mentioned her husband had left the back door open at lunch and her Golden Retriever, Honey […]