Debate: Should Dogs Be Walked to School?

robby and kiki Ok, so as you know, we just got a dog. She’s awesome. She’s very well-behaved. And she’s particularly good with children.

When we thought about getting a dog I always envisioned walking her to school with us when we took Sam to kindergarten and picked him up. So by the second week that’s what we started doing. Kiki walks right next to me on leash and stays with me the whole time. Often kids come up and ask if they can pet her. I have her sit and then they do so.

To me, this all seemed like a win-win for everyone. Kiki got two extra walks a day. Kids that like dogs can visit with one before or after school if they want to. Sam gets to have her with him longer and he seems proud to have his dog there, particularly when it is clear other kids love her.

Several other walkers bring their dogs to drop-off and pick-up. None of them are ill-behaved and all us dog owners just kind of keep them away from each other so no one gets riled up. To me, everything’s been good.

Then today, after we dropped Sam off, Robby, Kiki, and I were waiting at the traffic light to cross and head home. Coming from the other direction a woman and her daughter came up onto the sidewalk. When this mom came to my other side and saw that I had a dog sitting there (and yes, Kiki was sitting right next to me waiting for the light along with everyone else), the woman made a horrible, angry face and proceeded to pick up her daughter by the arm and swing her past us. The as they were walking away I heard her daughter asking her mom why she picked her up that way. I was not privy to the response, unfortunately.

Ok, so I’m not worried in particular about this weird woman who is swinging her kid around by the wrist. She was clearly running late and was flustered. Whatever.

But it did make me wonder if there are other parents out there who are frustrated by those of us who are bringing our dogs to school. I only have interaction with the kids and parents who actively come up to us. What I am not having, is interaction with the non-dog people, so to me, things have seemed great.

Like I said, Kiki is well-behaved, even more so than at home. She sits and lets kids pet her. Other than trying to eat Sam’s backpack when he comes out she is calm and obedient (but seriously, what is it with the backpack? Shes crazy for it.) When at school I try to keep us off the path so as not to get in anyone’s way or freak out kids who might be afraid of dogs. When waiting at the light I usually keep us a bit back instead of moving into the crowd. But is that enough?

For people who don’t like dogs or have kids who are apprehensive, am I making it more difficult for them just by being there with one? Please tell me, especially non-dog people. Is it annoying to you when other families bring their dogs to drop-off and pick-up? Is it disrespectful? Does it make your day harder? Dog owners, do you bring yours with you to places where there are kids (assuming dogs are allowed)?

And I’m not even saying I’d change what I’m doing necessarily, at least not as long as Kiki is doing nothing wrong and seems to be making lots of kids pretty happy. But the way this woman looked at me, it made me wonder who else is scowling around, potentially complaining about “that dog woman.”

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