Dear Fellow Dog Owner,
If you love your dog, and he has a tendency to run up to strangers or other dogs in public areas, please keep him on a leash. Train him to obey your commands well enough for people to see he is listening to you if he is off-leash. You have no idea how people will react when a strange dog with hair raised on his back rushes toward them.
I would much rather have been at home where we have a dog door and a yard at 11pm on a Tuesday night. The only reason I was staying in a hotel and walking my dog outside was because my fiancé lost her father four days ago, and her family needs us to be close by.
Dave won't be with us this Christmas. He won't be with us to walk her down the aisle to marry me in a few weeks. He won't ever meet his grandkids. He won't be with us ever again because an irresponsible dog owner let his K9-trained service dogs get loose in the neighborhood. I cannot unsee the mortal injuries these dogs inflicted on the man who would have been my father-in-law when he defended his 87 year-old neighbor Betty from
attack in his driveway. And I can never see a large, off-leash dog I don't know rushing toward me the same way ever again.
You know your dog is friendly, but my dog and I do not. Your dog may never have acted aggressively toward a person, but the dogs that attacked Betty and Dave allegedly hadn't either.
I really am glad that your dog backed off when I yelled at him. You should be too. Thanks to Dave, I carry much more damaging defensive tools on my person than my voice, and I am ready to use them if necessary.
If your "service dog" really has had the two-and-a-half years of training you say, you might want to send him back to school. I know I have to work with my professionally-trained dog to refresh her memory every once in a while. Or you could just keep him on a leash outside of your yard and the dog park.
Responsible Dog Dad