Dear Other Dog Owners

My Dog is Practicing Social Distancing Too

Dear Other Dog Owners,

I know we don't have confirmation that coronavirus can be transmitted through our pets, but is it really that hard to fathom at this point? A tiger at Bronx Zoo has it. And that tiger is behind bars, with limited interaction with the real world. Your dog has been scruffily licking every dog hole and fire hydrant they find because they are a dog. And I’m sorry, but my dog is practicing social distancing too.

I don’t think you realize that when you try to have your dog play with my dog, your two-foot lead means you would be two feet from me. On a regular day, with no pandemic and no hysteria, this would not be ok with me. But now? I know your dog is whining and mine is too, but please maintain an appropriate distance. For me, this means stay across the street. There is a reason I crossed to the other side one hundred fifty-three steps in advance of you and your pup.

It’s not you. You seem fine. Actually, I’ve never even thought twice about you and I don’t know your name, which makes it even more puzzling that you are so incessant on having your dog play with my dog even though I just started a gentle jog to get away from you. Please react to my social cues. Running away = an unwillingness to interact.

I get that it seems like my dog wants to play with yours, but that’s because I have drastically reduced my dog’s screen time and he doesn’t really get what is happening. It’s for his own good. And mine. I have enough anxiety about what’s out there without having to placate his feelings all day long.

I wonder if my hood, headphones, and lack of acknowledgment that you were even there gave off the correct vibes. Because it seemed like you took that, and my dog’s tail wagging, as an invitation to interact closely in a time where none of us should be close.

I thought the act of me saying out loud, “I am just too worried about the virus to have our dogs play,” would have engendered understanding, but instead you countered with, “Don’t be like that.” Now, this is a conundrum. Especially since you were wearing a mask, acknowledging the severity of the situation we are all in.

I just don’t want to be the first person to find out that their dog gave them COVID-19 because you allowed your dog to have several interludes that violated the human social distancing protocol in place in our state.

I hope you understand. And please stop walking toward me. I am deliberately walking the other way for a reason. I know my dog keeps looking back and that part may appear sad, but as I said, he isn’t up-to-date on this whole thing. I am, however. And I am too scared to acquiesce to your dog’s longing.

Stay safe (you and your dog),


Father, poet, writer, real estate investor/team leader, certified life coach, sociable introvert. Curating a meaningful life. IG: trustgreene |

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