Montreal’s busy sidewalks, like any sidewalk in any city around the world, can be clustered and claustrophobic. Trodden by thousands of people moving at various speeds daily and with a mix of annoying bikes, cherry red mobility carts, strollers and more aiming for their space it can be a hazardous place to be. Not for you and for me, mind you, but for the poor dogs tied up outside the restaurants, shops, grocery stores and pharmacies that dot our quaint streets and avenues.

Walking along Mount-Royal Avenue (or any street in the city) it isn’t uncommon to see a series of dogs tied up and waiting for the humans to return. I can’t fathom how people think its ok to do this and then try and justify it with “I was only in their for a few minutes” or “oh they don’t mind”. That doesn’t cut it. I’ve never seen a dog that looks happy to be left outside alone while their loved ones eat, shop and chat inside for anything between several minutes to over an hour. They cower outside with their tails limp or tucked away as they sit patiently in the sweltering heat or the shivering cold for their master to return.

The dogs I’ve seen left outside are often scared or anxious, they whimper or bark as they stare into the space where they last saw their master disappear. I can’t help but wonder how any human thinks its ok to do this, even for a couple of minutes. It’s heartbreaking seeing them looking so forlorn. This isn’t just bad for them but for those of us who want to pet them, hug them or put them in our pockets and bring them home forever. For those dogs docile enough, they could be taken or hurt by a passerby while you’re in your shop, taking your time.

I would never touch a dog that left alone on the street out of fear that they might react badly (which I feel they would be justified in doing). In their state of distress they could bite a rogue hand that simply wanted to make them feel better. The foot of a person consumed by their cellphones or other distractions could also unintentionally land on their tail that’s stretched out across the sidewalk resulting in would have equally disastrous results.

Seeing dogs proudly walking next to their owners on the sidewalk brings a smile to my face every time but seeing them selfishly left outside breaks my heart. I haven’t yet adopted a dog for several reasons but when I do you can be sure that they will never be left outside alone on sidewalk.

I wish all dog owners felt the same.