Freedom and joy and the ability to really run full-out. I wish I could run so quickly and surely through brush and over rocks, branches and across rough uneven ground. Freedom allowed because the dog is reliable and responsible. Liberty because we know how important it is.
To have all that ability and to never get to run seems like prison, seems like a bad place. Oh, I know there are risks. What if there was a car, what if he got lost, what if there were hunters/wolves/bears/porcupines. But there are always risks in life, there are risks to not taking risks. Being sedentary, overweight, under exercised, under physically challenged causes chronic illnesses, causes mental stress and our nation’s dogs are as fat as our nation’s people.
Safety seems to have grown in importance, smotheringly. Everything…be safe, take care and on and on. And it is true that I live in the up-north countryside and we have land. No, we do not just let the dogs run ad lib, but they do run playing flying disc games or just with monitoring them morning, noon and night. And we do take walks with dogs running in dashes ahead and to the side and in great blasts around in the forest and we’ve never had a dog lost, never met a wolf, yes a bear (but he ran off and the dogs came to call), a porcupine more than once (but needle nosed plyers work very well if used quickly) and the occassional strong smelling skunk. The more likely risks are a roll in something stinky or picking up ticks that harbor lyme disease or anaplasmosis, but these can be picked up on the roadside on a leash too.
There are good reasons for leashes in this vehicle populated world and a lot of people and their dogs have never learned how to deal calmly and successfully with unleashed canines. I am thinking that in the future fewer and fewer people will know how, and with dogs always leashed social patterns in dogs are often thwarted by their people. There is a movement towards using a yellow ribbon to show dogs who are not comfortable with other dogs. This is good considering how many people are clueless about doggy body language and it’s bad considering how it will be used to avoid actually resolving issues and acquiring knowledge.