How did BE A.W.A.R.E. Begin?
It all began in a community that did not allow leashed pets to access city parks with their owners.
Pet owners were unhappy because they wanted to include their furry family members in outings to the park, so they appealed to their community for change. Other community members did not support the potential change to begin allowing leashed pets in those green spaces. Discord ensued and it wasn't always kind commentary that was exchanged.
So I decided to take action because I believe both sides have legitmate feelings that need to be heard.
As a dog enthusiast I've enjoyed taking my dogs with me to a wide variety of places. I've vacationed with my dogs, played fetch on sandy beaches, strolled through downtown areas and had lunch at outdoor cafes that have allowed my dogs by my side. I've hiked in some amazing natural areas with my companion animals including some of our nation's most iconic parks. I consider my dogs a part of my family. Whenever possible, I would rather be with them than without.
But as a professional dog trainer, I've also seen the other side of having ill-behaved dogs in a public setting. I've encountered the occasional dog that is potentially dangerous. I can understand a non-dog enthusiast's reluctance to allow pets in sharing public areas. Witnessing a dog being destructive or disruptive while the owner does little to control the behavior is maddening and at times, even frightening.
It is disrespectful for dog lovers to assume everyone else in the community feels the same tolerance and affection for their beloved pet. But it is equally disheartening for owners of the well mannered pets to suffer the consequences of no access simply because a few bad apples spoiled it for everyone.
The Be Aware campaign empowers both pet owners and the non-pet owning public.
Our goal is to increase awareness of responsible, safe behavior practices for sharing public space with companion animals.
Together we can create better communities.