I took a walk this past weekend on the Dundery Brook Trail in Little Compton. It was a perfect autumn day. As I entered the trail, though, and passed the sign that says “No Dogs,” leashed or not, I asked myself: “How many dogs will I see today?” I was not disappointed. Halfway down the trail, I encountered a dog straining on its leash as I approached. The owner passed me, eyes looking at her feet — she had been caught.
As I continued my walk, I wondered why so many dog owners ignore the posted sign. Are they aware that this beautiful trail was built for all people to use and enjoy? It was built for young people, people in wheelchairs, those using canes and walkers, the sight impaired – as well as the able bodied.
A dog, even a leashed dog, can frighten or startle a person walking the narrow, elevated boardwalk path, which extends for nearly a half mile through woods and wetlands. Safety is the principal reason the “No Dogs” sign is posted — not because the generous sponsors and builders of the trail don’t like dogs.
Sure enough, as I returned along the boardwalk, I passed two individuals with walkers enjoying the secure footing of the Dundery Brook Trail.
In my own community health work I always try to understand and promote the importance of community — a community that all can enjoy. There are many other pleasant places in town to walk dogs safely. So please, dog owners, let us all enjoy the Dundery Brook Trail and leave your dogs behind.