An Open Letter To Maine Dog Owners
I do not want to run over your best friend.
Hey, I love dogs. I've loved the dogs that I've had over the years, and if I'm ever fortunate enough to meet your dog, I'll love he or she as well. There is nothing better than showing some love and affection to a smiling, waggy-tailed muttley, who is all curled up around your ankles and just living for the moment.
A dog in public will also make me smile. Whether I'm driving by and witnessing a Terrier chasing a Frisbee in Broadway Park in Bangor, or if I'm sitting next to a mongrel at a stoplight, chances are I'm going to talk "doggie talk" to them on the way by, and crack a smile even on a bad day.
But one thing that I just cannot take now in my old age is following a vehicle in front of me with a dog hanging halfway out of the window. Or, the very worst scenario of them all, a dog moving freely in the back of a pickup truck.
I can't take the anxiety it creates, or the vivid and gory instances that my imagination comes up with.
There have been times when I've been on say, Wilson Street in Brewer, and a dog that seems to be hanging on by it's hind toes through an open window is in front of me, and I just pray foot by foot that the SUV turns off into Walmart, so that I can continue on worry free.
Or, the times that I've actually pulled over, just so a truck with a dog in the open back can get miles ahead of me and completely out of sight.
Maine law does say that a person driving an open vehicle may not transport a dog in the open portion of that vehicle on a public way unless the dog is protected in a manner that prevents the dog from falling or jumping or being thrown from the vehicle. I hope people know that. I hope the cops know that.
I know that you're proud of your best friend and you want to display him in a very cool way by riding down the open road with his head proudly leading the way. I know that you want to say yes when it's puppy-dog eyes asks for the window to be open, and I know that there are those that don't care as much, and put their companions in the back of an open pickup truck, sometimes tied securely in, and then sometimes not.
But please, secure your animal, and keep in mind that there's probably a dog lover behind you who is envisioning the worst case scenario, and doesn't want to run over your best friend.
As that would ruin many days to come.