Pet Please #62: People Who Don’t Talk on Their Cell Phones While Walking Their Dogs

Amanda Seyfried, you're fantastic.

In all honesty, this post is about women who don’t talk on their cell phones while walking their dogs, but I wanted to make it open to people of all genders and sexual orientations.

Two things contribute to this pet please:

  1. I look at women WAY too much when I’m driving. I’ve recently realized that it doesn’t make sense for me to do this. I mean, I will crane my neck in a full 180 for the slightest glimpse of what might be yoga pants on a jogger. This goes against everything evolution has worked towards. I’m literally putting myself in danger in the off chance that I might glimpse sexiness on legs.
  2. I once dated a girl who treated her dog–whom she claimed to love–like a huge nuisance. To everything the dog did, my girlfriend would groan, “Peeka….” (Names have been chanced to protect the innocence of this adorable dog.) Has to go to the bathroom? “Peeka….” Scratching herself? “Peeka….” Jumping on the bed and wiggling excitedly? “Peeka….” I couldn’t understand why she had this dog if the dog endlessly annoyed her. (And serious, this wasn’t an annoying dog at all.) She’s not the only one–I’ve met tons of pet owners who seem to consider their pets a hassle, not a precious, wonderful gift of life. In fact, I hear that a lot from parents of human children too.

This might be my favorite photo ever. Who walks their dogs in formal evening wear, you might ask? Hayden Panettiere, that's who.

My point is that I often notice women walking their dogs, and the dog often seems like an afterthought. These women (like I said, men do this too, but I don’t notice them) seem to be saying, “I’m wasting my time with this animal unless I’m connecting with someone else.”

Why? Why do people do this? You have this incredible, curious, lovable, furry animal exploring the world every day as if it’s the first time. You have the honor of experiencing that firsthand. Can’t you be present to your animal–the creature you chose to bring into your life–for a few minutes every day?

As a pet owner, I try every day to not take for granted the gifts that are my two little cats, Biddy and Walter. And sure, they do weird, crazy things sometimes, but as I once told a girlfriend (not Peeka’s owner…there are a lot of ex-girlfriends), “We have animals living in our home.” How cool is that?!

So for some reason it warms my heart whenever I see someone walking their dog and actually paying attention to their dog. I hope those women know that there’s a special guy out there who will probably get in a car accident because he’s staring at you.

14 Responses to “Pet Please #62: People Who Don’t Talk on Their Cell Phones While Walking Their Dogs”

  1. Brad says:

    Two thoughts, both of which, well they’re about dogs. Maybe they aren’t exactly about this post, but they’re about my relationship with dogs.

    1. My dog growing up was named Kim. I had her for 15 years. She was awesome. A couple years ago, a girl named Kim showed romantic interest in me. (It happens, Katie. Hold your fingers.) I couldn’t do it. It was too weird.

    2. I was initially hesitant to embrace Kim (the dog). My parents got me a dog a couple months before Kim, and it died in a week. Add that to the shocking deaths of Artie and Becky and my childhood was covered with dead animals. I didn’t want to get hurt again.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Did you talk on your cell phone when you took Kim for walks?

    • Katie says:

      I’ll remember that if I’m ever hit on by a Willie or a Lola. 🙂

      One of my pet pleases is driving behind a car when a dog is sticking his head out of one of the windows. As long as he seems safe, it always makes me smile to see the pure joy on his face as his ears flap in the wind and he smells all of the smells rushing by. Makes my day every time!

      And I 100% agree with you on this post, Jamey. I love watching dogs explore outside! Never once have I talked on my cell phone. Ridiculous.

      • Jamey Stegmaier says:

        Katie–That’s awesome to hear. I applaud your focus on your pet. If I could take Biddy and Walter for walks, I’m sure I’d be fascinated by them the entire time.

        That’s a great pet please to add too. That’s one of the reasons why I like looking at dogs taking walks too. They always seem so happy and curious. I want to hug all of them.

      • Brad says:

        I think you should waive this if the Willie in question is McGee.

  2. Anne Riley says:

    This irks me too, Jamey! I always think, “Why don’t you take this time to interact with your pet?” ESPECIALLY if it is a dog. Cats, well, sometimes you come home after a long day just to have your cat stretch and wander off into another room, but dogs? They want your attention!

    And don’t even get me started on people who consider their children a nuisance. When I was pregnant, some douche at my doctor’s office looked at my belly, then looked me in the eye and said, “Enjoy the time you have left. Your life is about to be over.”


    I wanted to punch him in the nuts. Lucky for him, I was 38 weeks pregnant and wouldn’t even have been able to reach his nuts.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Anne–I seem to be having the comments issues that you had on your blog, because I just saw this comment come through (and by chance–no e-mail notification). Very odd.

      Regardless, thank you! YES! Pets and kids are choices–they are blessings, not curses! Maybe that guy was just trying to be funny, but I must admit that I’m not a fan of ball-and-chain humor. I think it shows an inherent lack of respect for the institution of marriage and for that guy’s wife and kids.

      My cats want lots of attention when I come home, but they’re unusual. I agree that dogs truly long for that attention. Hence my appreciation for pet owners that give them that attention out of love without being annoyed.

  3. Gabby says:

    As a non pet owner/dog disliker/cat tolerator, I see no problem with this behavior. It is just multitasking. The dog still gets the benefit of fresh air, exercise, and seeing squirrels, and the walker gets to discuss the endless quandary of The Voice or American Idol.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Gabby–I may have come across as a little harsh in the blog entry–although I think it’s a little dumb if someone can’t detach from their phone for 5 minutes while they walk their dog, that’s their choice. However, I find it particularly attractive when I see a woman make the choice not to multitask while walking her dog. It’s one of those special bonuses, like when a woman holds the door open for an old lady or uses canvas grocery bags.

  4. Katy says:

    I wonder how some people can accomplish this phone call/dog walking multi-tasking.
    When I take out my dog Jasper, I spend the entire walk worrying about what he will try to get into, or if he is going to slip out of his collar and go exploring on his own. I wouldn’t even attempt to be on the phone, as it’s too much of a distraction and no conversation is really so important that it can’t wait until after the walk.
    Sometimes it is necessary to ignore him or make him go play with his toys/the cats at my house, as he’d be ok with sitting on your lap and getting petted non-stop if you let him.

  5. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Katy–I hadn’t thought about that. I’m sure other dog owners can relate to how actively you have to keep track of Jasper when you walk him.

    And definitely, pets can’t possible demand our constant attention–otherwise we’d get nothing done. 🙂

  6. Jodie says:

    I agree mostly.
    I love living the excitement and adventure through a dog’s eyes. Most dogs LOVE being outside, so I was always that crazy girl talking to her dog at an attempt to increase the excitement even more.
    However,… now that I live downtown, I use my phone as a security mechanism. I like to think strangers and homeless people will not ask me for money, or food, or a place to stay if I look distracted. I have only dog-sat a few times while living downtown, but I would often pretend to be on my phone if being way into my dog didn’t appear to be enough of a distraction to the random scary people.

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