You must keep your dog on a lead!

I went for a short couple of hours naked hike, with my dog Polly, through the expansive Ebersbergerforst, south and east of the city of Munich, in Germany, in the recent spring. The air was amiable at approx. 18 deg. centigrade, there was no wind on the long straight forest tracks through the trees, and Polly and I ambled along happily minding our own business. Me letting my thoughts wander, feeling the forest air flow over my skin, listening to the birds chitter-chatter overhead, and occassionally throwing a stick. Polly desperately circling me until the stick would fly and hit a tree trunk or disappear into a wild bush. We were both in our element.

After a while we crossed several tracks, and on one of these we encountered an older couple coming in the opposite direction towards us. They had a dog with them, so I rapidly tied Polly on to her lead too. One thing which is important to realize about our Polly, is that she came from a sheep farm in the north of England where she was effectively starved for the first 3 months of her life and had to fight for scraps with her siblings while they were all locked up in a dark tin trailer. When we first got her, she was extremely sensitive and would fly into a panic at the slightest sound, or sudden movement, or unexpected person. She could not stand bicycles, joggers, farmers, neighbours, postmen, children, trees moving in the wind, anything! Everything she reacted to, she turned on with her teeth, and even as a tiny puppy could be quite terrifying. Now, over the several years we have had Polly, she has calmed down considerably and it would hard to recognize the same dog, and really the only thing she freaks out about now are other dogs. So a lot of progress has been made, but we're not perfect yet, and here was another dog.

I only explain this to give some context to why, on the approach of the couple with their dog, I knelt down next to her and held her mouth closed with my hand. The couple had no idea as they were approaching this naked man as to why I was gripping my dog's mouth so firmly, but I smiled as they went past and we exchanged brief helloes to one another and how I must be very warm to be hiking naked at this time of year, the usual conversation. Then the woman looked at me firmly and said: "you know in the forest you MUST keep your dog on a lead at all times!"

Which was kind of funny, in the circumstances 🙂

4 thoughts on “You must keep your dog on a lead!”

  1. Thanks, Richard,

    Not so funny, last saturday in La Sablière: about 9 o'clock in the morning, people come down to the little market, my dog Drago (now 12 yo, my avatar) is out on recognition. From my wooden house I try to call him back, I can't see him. When I see him, he is just pointing another dog (an Irish Setter, male), which a lady holds filmly on the lead. Drago doesn't obey to my cries: he is crasy: "who ist the best between us?". I ran, but I couldn't avoid a little fight between the dogs. «Le chien toujours à la laisse! Tou-jours!»
    I look forward to see Drago and Polly again playing together: they go on like a house i fire 🙂


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