Posted on 2020-06-30 13:27:24
There are innumerable advantages in having a dog: boundless love and loyalty, companionship, someone who never tires of your company, someone to talk to, an uncritical and endlessly appreciative friend.
The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has confirmed that that ‘Lockdown’ will not prevent people from walking their dogs, although hours for all walking are stipulated. Dog-walking not only provides healthy exercise and gets you out of your abode, but allows you to escape those interminable cellphone messages (you are not obliged to read every sms until you get back home). On a beach where dogs are allowed, you can enjoy the sheer delight that dogs express when they are free to run at their top speed in a safe space.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to walk a dog, immerse yourself in the experience and forget the rigours of lockdown for a little while. Dogs are usually ecstatic if they can run on a beach without a lead. All their senses are involved. They have an endless capacity for being joyful. Owners should, however, take paper towels and a bag with them to pick up any faeces left by their pets. When I was in Australia recently, I noticed that some dedicated ‘dog’ beaches actually provided bags and receptacles for dog faeces, but most owners arrived with bags tied to their dogs’ leads.
We congratulate those complexes for retired people that are allowing people who have ground-floor apartments to have dogs. Having a pet makes a remarkable difference to the health of many people, and owners are finding that other dog lovers will often offer to help walk their pets. Dogs are gradually becoming welcomed in places where they were not allowed before. It is not unusual to see dogs on leads in the outdoor area of some coffee shops.
A noticeable feature of the ‘dog beaches’ I visited on Australia’s Gold Coast is that the dogs get along really well. On your first visit to a beach, keep your dog on the lead for a few minutes until he relaxes and wants to join the fun. The beach is no particular dog’s territory, so there is therefore no impulse to defend it. Groups will play together and run with glorious freedom. Many human (and doggy) friendships are formed when people regularly take their dogs to a dedicated dog beach.