<-----You are not an exception to this sign. I know that you may be under the assumption that your dog is your child, your baby even. You might wipe it's paws and spoon-feed it puppy chow, but regardless of how adorable, loveable, kind, or spoiled your little Fido, Trixie, Spot, or Fluffy might be, both of you are still obligated to obey basic park rules, you know, like not smoking or littering. Taking into consideration that most dogs can't read, this responsibility falls to you.
Since some of you are are clearly confused as to how to interpret and properly implement this sign and it's ONE SENTENCE instruction, I am generously offering my assistance. Consider me your interpreter through this complicated and technical process. If my 5 and 6 year olds weren't asleep at the writing of this post, I'm sure that either of them would be able guide you through this reading comprehension exercise as well.
1. Attach the clippy end of leash to your dog's collar.
2. Hold handle or loop end of leash in your hand.
3. Keep your dog under control, AT ALL TIMES.
Following these 3 simple steps will ensure that you, your precious pooch, and ALL THE REST OF US have a pleasant visit to the park.
For those of you who may be tempted to fudge one or more of the aforementioned instructions, let me shed yet a little more light on the subject. The rest of us out using the jogging/exercise trail, bike path, or playground do not consider you compliant with the above rule simply because you own a leash. Not even if you have it in your hand. In order to be in good standing with Step 2, you must first (and always, while in these type of public spaces) abide by and fulfill Step 1. Simply walking down the path with your leash in one hand and your bag of dog crap in the other (which will heretofore be referred to as a "crap-bag") while your dog charges down the trail unattached physically to a responsible human, does not in fact, ensure that you are in good standing with park regulations.
In conclusion, if after reading these clear and concise directions you still find yourself unable to comply, I lovingly, kindly, and strongly suggest, as one dog owner to another, that you stick to exercising your canine companion in your own back yard or perhaps it might be prudent to take your dog and your crap-bag to a location where such behavior is excepted and condoned like.... oh.... i don't know...... A DOG PARK maybe???
Note: If you are the dog owner who found it necessary to SCREAM repeatedly for me to STOP because the perceived aggressive motion of running toward you, on I might add, an exercise trail with specific instructions to RUN, upset your UNLEASHED dog, I hope this written annotation of the park rules is as helpful to other dog owners as my verbal explanation (given rapidly yet succinctly between my 800's) was to you.
Further Note: If you are the owner of the UNLEASHED doberman/boxer mix who, this very afternoon came charging at me and my 1 year old son in the baby-jogger, while you stood frozen on the adjacent trail and watched, I am in your debt, as the act of fleeing your excessively loud dog, enabled me to run my first ever sub 8 minute mile. I do apologize for anything I may or may not have yelled in your general direction.
Further Further Note: This public service announcement was not brought to you by a middle aged, dog-hating cat-lady, but by a fellow dog lover who spent many a good morning running with a beautiful (and LEASHED) Australian shepherd, and who now absolutely adores her very spoiled (but still leashed) little dog. But as you can tell from this picture of him with our youngest daughter Cole, he's not much of a running partner: