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Abbotsford Animal Hospital

Is the Coffee Really Worth the Risk?

Dog and woman looking at each other smiling

So, I’m sitting in the Tim Hortons drive through as I watch the following scene unfold.

A parent, the family dog, and 2 children, one in a stroller, are coming to Tim’s for a morning snack. Before going into the restaurant, the parent ties the family dog to a tree on the edge of the parking lot directly behind a parked car.

The problem is very simple. I cannot be the only person who sees the inherent dangers the dog has been left in.

They have now left their dog unattended tied to a tree in a parking lot on the only pedestrian pathway out of the parking lot. No one can get out of the parking lot without coming into direct contact with the dog. People don’t know if the dog is friendly, nor should they have to make that decision. Even more problematic, some of the people may not be friendly where the poor dog is concerned.

To make matters worse, the dog has been left directly behind a white car. What if the person driving that car comes back? First, they have to get by the dog. Second the dog has to stay out of the way of the car backing up. What if they back up over the dog? Is it the dog’s fault? The driver’s fault? Or the irresponsible owner’s fault who has left the dog in danger?

As a veterinarian I love animals. Most of the people who own pets love animals. However, not everyone feels the same way nor should they be forced to come into contact with our pets if they don’t want to. Leaving our dog’s tied up in a parking lot, or tied to a chair by the front door of Starbucks is irresponsible and selfish. They are risking the safety of a family member who trusts and relies on them for everything, for a coffee. What happens when a child startles the dog and gets hurt? Who is to blame? The person who left the dog in a vulnerable position is the one at fault.

If you have to leave your pet unattended, be mindful of your surroundings. Are you close to doorways where people need to come and go? Are there other dog’s around that could pose a danger? What is your proximity to traffic? Most importantly, why are you leaving them alone and is it really worth it?

That’s my pawspective for today.

Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.

Dr. Jory Bocknek

Dr. Bocknek joined Abbotsford in 1994 and became a partner in 1996. Special interests include ophthalmology, ultrasound, behaviour, and physical rehabilitation.