Featured

Dog Free Zones

I wondered how I was going to write this blog as it is something that is extremely personal to me and I’ll explain why as we go, but I didn’t want it to come across as controversial. In the end I decided to write from the heart and be open and honest. For the record this is just my opinion.

Why did I want to write about Dog Free Zones?
My daughter, who is now 10, for the last eight years has had a phobia of dogs. I don’t know how it happened but it did and has since got progressively worse, it has also been passed onto other animals over the years. I understand phobias are not pleasant for anyone but when you have a learning difficulty, as in Down Syndrome, calm rationality is not even an option.

Over the years I have seen Ellie have a melt down on more than one occasion. I have seen her shake from head to foot, scream the place down and cry in hysteria. It has not been pleasant to watch and has caused the family great concern. We live in a lovely area that has many fields, parks and pubs that are dog friendly so knew it was important to get a handle on this.

As time has gone on, depending on Ellie’s emotional needs some days she can actually stand still, stay calm and let a dog walk past her, some days she can run past dogs cheering herself on for being so brave, but there are still days that involve emotions which result from having a phobia.

So why am I writing this? 
I am writing this quite simply because Ellie is not the only child to have a phobia of dogs. Ellie does not have a phobia of dogs because she has Down Syndrome, many other children have this phobia too and I wanted to let all the dog owners out there understand what can be happening when you walk past with your dog and see a child screaming.

Actions and Considerations
First, please consider that a child is literally petrified of your dog, therefore saying “She won’t hurt, just pat it” and bringing your nice dog nearer to said child, doesn’t actually help. Please ensure your dog is on a lead if in a public place, I personally was told by the police that in all public spaces, all dogs must be kept on a lead and it is a criminal offence not do so. A good friend shared this link with me, which clearly states that in public spaces that have PSPO’s, a dog must be on a lead.

https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/public-spaces-protection-orders

Other actions to consider if you have a dog with you, is that if you are asked to put your dog on a lead because a child is frightened (just for a few minutes), please don’t ignore it. If a restaurant or park has a sign saying ‘No Dogs’ please don’t take your dog in there. My daughter has seen her brother get jumped by a dog, her brother be chased by a dog and a dog ran that ran that close to her one day, off a lead, that she pushed it away.

I understand this is a work in progress for our family and I know there is wider support out there such as The Dogs Trust but for now, please be considerate as we will too.

Information relating to The Dogs Trust

If you are in the same situation as my family, here are some places that are dog free that you can attend and enjoy

  • Most beaches on the Isle of Wight (during the summer) are dog free
  • Most beaches in West Wales have summertime dog bans (eg Saundersfoot, Tenby)
  • RSPB Old Moor in Wath upon Dearne
  • Cleethorpes Beach is dog free between Good Friday and 30th September
  • Butlins
  • Haven Burnham on Sea
  • Fairthorne Manner in Botley Hampshire
  • Brockholes
  • Lytham St Anne’s beach in the summer
  • Lytham St Anne’s beach in the summer

I hope as always you have found this useful and I would love to hear from you if you have any coping mechanisms or know of any Dog Free Zones that I can add to my list.
Thank you as always for reading and if you would like to connect with me through any social media platforms please click on the button

Until Next Time
Sharon x