Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
One Bad Apple
By Julee Meltzer
The other day I called a gentleman who had a lot for rent in an RV park that I was interested in renting. By the time I was done with the 10 minute phone call, I was so irritated that I wouldn’t have rented from him ever—even if he had a site for rent in the Florida Keys with a cabana attached and a complimentary sailboat –all for $200 a month in the dead of winter. So, you must be wondering why I got so irritated. Well, it was his attitude about the fact that I had the nerve to have a dog.
Once he found out that I had a dog, he started in on a rail about the rules about picking up after your dog. How they were an exclusive park, supposedly the best in the state, and they were all neighbors. So, you have to clean up after your dog, no matter what. People will be watching you. If you don’t pick up just one time, you will be kicked out, etc.
Then, he started in on barking…
If your dog is a barker, you can’t leave him out. (Well, first of all, my dog is a girl!) If he barks too much while you leave him in your motorhome, people will complain. We don’t tolerate barking dogs. We are all good neighbors, blah, blah, blah……..
I tried to politely interrupt him to tell him that I have written a book on Camping and RVing with Dogs. That one of my goals in continuing to write about camping with dogs is to educate people in following the campground rules. But, it really didn’t matter to him that I was a spokesperson for responsible dog ownership. I was just lumped in with the rest of those “bad” people who don’t control their dogs. He continued with on his lecture as if I had told him that I never pick up after my dog, I leave her loose, and I let her bark all day. I was actually beyond irritated.
And, I am sure that all of you readers have been through the exact same dog lecture a myriad of times.
After I had a few days to settle down, I started thinking about why this guy went on and on, even after I told him that I was a champion of responsible dog ownership. So, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the lot owners, the campground owners, and the non-dog-owning RVers and Campers. That is when I realized that it only takes one person not picking up after their dog or one person leaving a frantic dog barking for an entire day to spoil everything for the rest of us.
Then, I realized that I am part of the problem.
"If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the
problem…" Sydney J. Harris
I can’t even count the number of times that I have seen people leave their dog’s dropping. And, all I have done is shake my head in disgust or make a loud comment to my husband, hoping that they will hear me. So, these bad dog owners just keep going to campground after campground, leaving dog “doo doo” everywhere. And, as you well know, even us dog owners absolutely hate to step in dog droppings, just as much as everyone else.
And the same goes for barking dogs. I get really annoyed by barking dogs, but I never say anything about it to anyone.
I must admit that I do speak up about loose dogs because they are a danger to everyone.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that you say anything directly to the offender. It can be very risky and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone getting into problems or dangers. But, I am saying that you should go directly to the office or the camp hosts and complain immediately. This will give the owners/hosts time to find and speak with the bad dog owner.
The campground owners can’t do anything about problem dog owners, unless they hear about them. So, your task is to start to make these bad dog owners accountable for their bad habits. One bad dog-owning apple makes life much harder for those of us who work diligently to keep our dogs check.
Maybe, just maybe, we can all start checking into campgrounds without having to listen to the standard lecture…well, I can dream can’t I?
"One bad apple spoils the whole bunch [was] first coined by Chaucer as 'the rotten apple injures its neighbors'," notes the U.S. Apple Association