I have been a Mashpee resident since 1998. I have been a single mom, to my one daughter, since 2002. I have not been very vocal in our community, although I love our community but, as I was walking my dog Luna in my neighborhood today I had some thoughts that I wanted to share.

I have walked my dogs, off-leash, in the woods and on the beaches (where it is allowed), for over a decade. Yet, I always bring a leash with me. I don’t bring it because I am afraid my dogs will run off, or hurt anyone. I am well-assured they are under my voice control, and well mannered. Truly, for my world, there is no need for a leash.

Why bring a leash, then?

Well, when I see another person headed towards me, with their dog on a leash, I always either leash mine, or ask if they want me to leash mine. I do this because I realize there could be many reasons this person leashes their dog. Perhaps the dog is old, or sick, and too fragile to play. Perhaps this person is protecting my dog because theirs is not friendly. Perhaps this person is afraid of what may happen. Perhaps so many other reasons.

I do not consider it an infringement on my rights to leash my dog, even though I have no fear of consequences to me or my dog. I consider it respectful of the other person’s right to have a walk on the beach without fear/anxiety for any reason. I do not need to know the reason.

It’s not just about my walk; it is about all walks.

It occurred to me today that I am now on the other side. I am the nervous one. I have the backstory of the seriously immunocompromised loved ones as I venture out on walks or to the store. I am the one grateful to the people that know nothing about me or the loved ones in my life, yet respect me enough as a fellow human being to mask up when they see me walking near them.

I truly believe that we don’t need to know everyone’s story to care about everyone’s heart.

Claire Z. Poole

Scenic Drive

Mashpee

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