Begee and Erin Biggs: Respect for dogs and their owners needed in public areas |

Begee and Erin Biggs: Respect for dogs and their owners needed in public areas

Hello from one-dog owning couple to all other Steamboat dog owners. With a nickname like "Dog Town, USA," it's obvious that most Steamboaters love dogs.

It's great that the city is allowing more off-leash areas, and we hope they will be well utilized, but what that means is most other areas still require our dogs to be on a leash. We know that many of you say your dogs are friendly or are just a puppy or are under voice control, except when they come running off leash full speed ahead to our dog while on our walks.

We believe you have good intentions and care about your dog, but while you are screaming your dog's name and chasing after him or her as he or she ignores you and gets in our dog's face, this situation puts both your dog and our dogs at risk.

You see, just because we have a dog doesn't mean we want your dog in our dog's face. Just because he is a dog and you think your dog is friendly doesn't mean he wants your dog in his face either.

Our dog is a rescue who was dumped on the street in Oklahoma at a year old. He gets nervous easily, and he sounds tough when he barks, but he is also the best cuddler and goofiest, sweetest creature we've ever met. He is not aggressive. He trusts us to keep him safe.

Recently on a walk, another dog owner came around the corner with their unleashed dog and told us not to worry because their dog was friendly. Meanwhile, our dog was cowering in the middle of the street in a submissive position because he was so anxious. The other dog forced itself upon him (in what it and its owner probably assumed was a friendly manner), and our dog barked in order to tell us he was scared.

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Our trainer has told us that when a stranger dog gets in another dog's face, it's equivalent to a human stranger coming up to give another human a bear hug. We don't know about you, but we wouldn't like that either if we didn't know the person.

We are often concerned when taking our dog for walks because of unleashed dogs running around, though we are sure their owners love them and don't realize how their leaving their dogs off leash puts them and others in harm's way.

We know people love to let their dogs be free, and we're not trying to tell you how to take care of your pups on your own property or in your fenced yard. We are asking that everyone work together to be respectful of all other dogs and dog owners in public areas.

Let's try to realize the potential consequences of our actions before anyone gets hurt. We also want to thank the responsible dog owners in our neighborhood who are respectful of others and who make our walks safer each day.

Thank you,

Begee and Erin Biggs

Steamboat Springs

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