Foster Fest

Yes, dog lovers love their dogs. But please remember, not everyone loves dogs. Crowded summer events are not the best choice for an outing with man's best friend. Please love your dog enough to leave it at home.

Summer in Rochester offers plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with a lot of people.

The Downtown Farmers Market, Thursdays Downtown (formerly Thursdays on First) and the Down by the Riverside concert series bring thousands of people into relatively small areas that can be both congested and noisy.

That kind of hustle and bustle can be fun and even exhilarating for people, but it can be downright traumatic for our four-legged friends.

So please, leave the dog at home.

Yes, we realize that dogs are an important part of many families. Multiple members of the Post Bulletin's editorial board have dogs, and we enjoy spending time out and about with our canine companions.

But not everyone likes dogs. Some people, in fact, are very afraid of them, while others simply don't care to be sniffed or pawed — and are repulsed by the sight and smell of an overheated dog that has no choice but to relieve itself nearby. And no amount of apologizing will placate the parent of a child who gets knocked down by an excited, overly friendly dog.

People don't go to the farmers market to meet your poodle. They don't go to concerts so they can see you tossing a frisbee to your Australian shepherd. (Only service dogs are allowed in Mayo Park on concert nights). And people don't go to Thursdays Downtown to watch your Labrador retriever pant.

The reality is that while dogs love to be with their people, congested environments like these can be both stressful and dangerous for them. There's always the risk that they'll find some tasty, discarded morsel that isn't good for them, but the bigger risk at this time of year is the heat. A sidewalk or parking lot in mid-July can quickly burn a dog's feet, and the heat coming off that sidewalk can quickly put a dog at risk of heat stroke.

On a sunny, 77-degree day with no breeze, a sidewalk or asphalt street can reach temperatures of 125 degrees, so imagine the risk when it's 85 or 90 degrees. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't hold your hand on the pavement for seven seconds without it hurting, then it's too hot for your dog.

So why risk it?

Take your dog to the dog park instead. Walk them in your neighborhood, on a leash, so that neighbors who aren't "dog people" don't get an unwelcome greeting.

And of course, it's crucial to plan ahead before taking your dog along on any errands that might not be dog-friendly. If your five-minute stop at the grocery store becomes a 30-minute chat with a friend you haven't seen for a while, the dog you left in your car could be in a world of hurt. 

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