Put your dog on a leash

Whenever I walk my dog, my wife has advanced panic attacks.

She worries, just in case we come across a dog off a leash. Almost every dog we meet is off a leash and badly untrained. In other words, the dog does not respond to its owner's desires to recall it.

Winston, our young pit bull, is a rescued dog. He is friendly and, in fact, his nickname at the kennel he goes to is The Party Animal. He loves playing with other dogs and is energetic. But I always walk him on a leash as I have done with all my dogs.

The problem is that if we are out with him and a dog comes running over, he does not know if it is aggressive and my wife is terrified that he may defend himself and become just another pit bull story.

I don't care when you shout over that “It's OK, my dog is friendly” because at this point, your dog is totally out of control and you are unable to get him or her back.

Now, I have to try to ensure that a fight does not break out because clearly you have no control of your dog while mine is on a leash. Many times, your dog is not as friendly as you thought and Winston would get the blame if something happened.

Aside from making my wife uncomfortable on every walk, it also ruins my dog's walk because I turn around when I see a loose dog to avoid what may turn out to be an out-of-control confrontation.

So stop saying your dog is friendly and start using a leash. Then, we can all relax.


Cool jazz on a hot night

It would almost be appropriate to take a break up north to cool down this year, but as luck would have it, we ended up in Morocco.

Sitting on a rooftop patio and listening to dulcet jazz tones wafting through the air sets the mood for our first night in Chefchaouen.

We managed to figure out the ferry schedules and find our way from Gibraltar to Tangier where we took a taxi for two hours to our hotel.

What is always impressive about Morocco is that, on the king’s orders, an immense amount of respect is paid to tourists.

If you look like you just arrived in town and could benefit from some advice, a friendly official or policeman will walk over and guide you to your destination.

Once we were settled in, navigating the narrow covered walkways of the medina became the first mission, along with identifying possible rug traders who could help us find the perfect match for our home project.

For now, I will simply sit calm, knowing that a busy week of travel is behind me and for the next three days, I can immerse myself in my wife's company, wonderful tagines, afternoon naps and endless sunsets.

Despite that, I still, look forward to coming home to Canada next week.

Return to Morocco

In a few days, after a family wedding, I return to Morocco for a short vacation with my wife.

The last time I was there was to train for the Dakar Rally. We rode motor bikes from Fez over the Atlas Mountains and south to Erg Chebbe in the sand dunes.

There, I promptly broke two ribs and a collar bone in a crash that ended my participation on the trip other then in a support vehicle.

This time, rather than creating more tales of derring do, my wife has made me promise to take a vacation.

Instead of nearly killing myself on some remote Saharan terrain, the day will likely consist of drinking copious amounts of Moroccan tea while negotiating the best price we can for a new rug for our house.

Our destination, after spending a few days with family in Gibraltar, is the Moroccan “blue town” of Chefchaouen. We have booked a little guest house in the centre of the medina, a bustling trading centre.

The biggest challenge will be finding our accommodation since every alley looks identical and then every “blue” house in the medina looks pretty much the same too.

Once settled in, the sounds of busy Moroccan life interspersed with the occasional call to prayers make for a wonderful North African experience. The evening routine will likely be a stroll through the medina followed by a typically traditional Moroccan tagine.

After several years without a break together, I am really looking forward to a few days of relaxation with my wife and then back to Canada after having cooled off in Saharan Africa.


Born to ride stupidly

Aside from responding to motor vehicle incidents involving motorbikes, I also ride one and witness lots of motorcycles on the road this time of year.

It is amazing how people care little about the severity of possible injuries from riding in the summer. In a car, we must buckle up when we are driving. If we don’t, we get a ticket. So why are motorcyclists allowed to ride bikes without the correct safety equipment?

The typical excuse is, “it is so hot, I could not possibly where all that gear." 

The cost to the emergency services and medical system because you decided not to wear that equipment adds up quickly. 

Besides, the excuse does not hold water. I have raced through Saharan Africa on a motorcycle in full gear, expending a lot more energy than anyone on the road riding their motorbike.

It is bad enough that we see very poor examples of personal riding safety gear including people riding sport bikes in bikinis and flip flops. What is definitely worse is to see an irresponsible person put a child on the back of their bike wearing nothing more than a helmet.

I have witnessed that twice in the past week. If there is an incident and that child is harmed and scarred, the mental scars will live with the rider for the rest of their lives. The trauma and embarrassment that a child suffer will also scar their lives. 

The bottom line is that riding is fun. But it is also very dangerous.

If we choose to ride without the correct protection, there should be penalties similar to not wearing a seatbelt.

Seatbelts save lives. Motorcycle protection saves lives too! 

Ride safely for the rest of the season, and if you feel it is too hot to ride in the right equipment, call a cab.

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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