Straight Talk: Dog owners unite

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
We have officially entered the holiday season! It's the time of year when we have four day work weeks and three day weekends, "Freeze the Gain" workouts with office mates and holiday parties galore to keep us occupied.

I was honored to spend part of last weekend in Lexington to recognize Veterans. Next weekend I am taking my family to the Minuteman Commons for the Thanksgiving Day Buffet.

This season also introduces different stressors for all of us, but it is also a season to remind us to be thankful for what we have and who we are. I am thankful to be a part of the Hanscom family. Thanks for all that you do!

The straight talk subject of the week is dogs -- loose dogs, barking dogs and dog feces. I have found myself defending dogs and dog owners to several people recently after some poor judgment calls by a few of these dog owners.

We had three loose dogs on base last weekend, some causing more mischief than others, but all raising enough concern of the nearby neighbors to call security forces. You are all familiar with the traditional base commander logic that would address the health and safety problems this creates. But as a dog owner, I would like to introduce yet another reason to curb this behavior. You put your dog at risk when you allow him or her to run off leash. A child squealing, a motorcycle revving, a squirrel darting --these are all easy distractions for even the best behaved dog. Once he is off on his adventure, your pup can dart in front of a car or knock down a small child and neither bodes well for your pup.

Also, I would like to offer a small reminder to pick up after your dog during walks. Most dog owners understand the need to pick up their dog's mess in common areas or in someone else's yard, but given the volume I am picking up on my walks about the base, we must have some dog owners who are unaware.

I am afraid all of the wonderful dog owners on base are getting a bad rap for the behavior of just a few. Please help get us back on track. Our Eagle Scout-constructed dog park located near the housing office gives your dog a place to run off leash which reduces boredom, reduces barking and keeps everyone safe. Housing has done a superb job of installing pet stations with trash cans and bags, so you always have something close at hand.

Please help make Hanscom the most dog friendly base in the Air Force!