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A reminder: Dogs have minds of their own

January 11, 2011
Trooper and family. Image from MSPCA.

Trooper reunited with his family.

Last week, a 7-year-old black lab named Trooper almost drowned in the Charles River in Watertown, Mass.  One can only imagine the panic the pup felt when he found himself unable to swim out from a the frigid waters. Or the panic that his owners felt watching their beloved pet struggle to stay alive. Luckily, firefighters and police were able to come to Trooper’s rescue, and while his body temperature was severely low, he survived and is expected to make a full recovery, according to the Angell Animal Medical Center.

Trooper got into this scary situation when his owner, Gina Kennedy, let him and her 2-year-old retriever, Harley, off leash to play. At one point, Trooper took off after a bunny and wasn’t returning to Kennedy’s calls. After about an hour of searching, Kennedy and her daughter spotted the fire and police crews and knew Trooper was in trouble.

Kennedy told People Pets that she never worried about her dogs coming back to her when she called them.

“This was unusual,” she said.

Little Greg and Peggy Sue playing.

Little Greg and Peggy Sue playing.

Regardless of how well-trained Trooper is — and whether or not he was ignoring his owner’s calls or if he was stuck in the water the entire hour — I think this story is a good reminder that no matter how much we love them, dogs will be dogs.  And they have a mind of their own.

I have nothing against letting your dog off leash when he or she is properly trained and you’re in a safe area — which is different for every owner and every dog. My one dog, Little Greg, runs right along side me while off leash, occasionally staying behind to sniff a stick or something dead. He can be off leash in safe areas (no cars, no bikes). But my other pup, Peggy Sue, isn’t ready. She takes off at the drop of a hat and she comes when called about 80 percent of the time (OK maybe more like 70 …).

While this scary tale isn’t going to stop me from letting Little Greg off leash, it’s a good reminder that our beloved pooches are living, breathing creatures that think and act … and chase bunnies. That is, after all, why we love them so.

So always be safe with your dogs – especially when they’re off leash.

— Bianca

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 1:51 pm

    So scary! I always worry about letting Toby off leash. I don’t care how well trained they are – it still worries me.

  2. Michelle Chandler permalink
    January 11, 2011 2:13 pm

    I hope the bunny also made it out alive!

    Great article; if you like animal rescue stories and hearing about the ways our loveable pets scare us to death check out the ARL rescue twitter page

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