I walk quite a bit in Boston. I like the feeling. I like being outside, even in the rain, striding as if I had an intense purpose even when I don’t. I like feeling the wind against my skin and observing the little thing – a violet beneath a bush, a thrush on a street sign, the tiny bud of some flowering plant just opening – that I wouldn’t notice in a car or bus. I like feeling my heart pump even though I am moving relatively slowly to the rest of the world.
There are a variety of people who agree with me: joggers, hikers, runners, dog walkers. I would guess that all of them feel the same type of draw – the combination of joy in the outside world and reveling in the feeling of their own movement. It’s a powerful draw – there are some who would use almost any excuse to be outside. However there is an occasional unintended consequence, a misfortune resulting from such outdoor activity that could not have been predicted. One would be the death of your leashed dog by street sweeper.
Pedestrians get hit by cars all the time. Dogs get hit by cars even more often. I would guess that even street sweepers hit people and cars. But one of the purposes of a leash is to prevent such mishaps. A leash ostensibly gives an owner the power to prevent dogs from going where they shouldn’t – whether due to privacy issues and social norms of respect, or for the dog’s own safety. It’s possible that accidents occur when the owners of such dogs are being less than mindful. However, there is a question of whether a street sweeper should not even notice something as big as a dog getting tangled in its machinery. Sure, it was a small dog, and those machines are loud. But considering that the driver didn’t even notice for two and a half blocks that something was amiss with people chasing him and screaming, it makes me wonder if he would’ve noticed if he’d swept up something more precious. Like a child.
I won’t stop walking. I certainly won’t stop getting angry at cars that invade MY sidewalk space, or people who don’t bother to check the sidewalk before edging out into an intersection. But a little care please, on the part of drivers (especially street cleaners) would be appreciated.