Cautionary tail

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:15 PM

For the 14-month-old white husky/pit bull mix, the ribbon is a sign that he needs a little extra space when meeting others.

Grand Haven Township resident Lynda Nietering found the idea from the Yellow Ribbon Project, which aims at visually informing the public that a dog needs more space.

“Everywhere you go, people are walking dogs,” she said.

Since rescuing Misha in September 2012, Lynda and her husband, Bob, said they've found their new companion is beautiful and sweet, but still needs to work on his social issues. Lynda said Misha might bark and appear vicious to passersby.

The Nieterings are looking into formal training for Misha. Meanwhile, they work on his social issues by walking him, but Lynda said people don’t seem to pay attention to the ribbon and approach them.

Although Lynda said she doesn’t think her dog would harm anyone, she wishes people would take note of any dogs wearing a yellow ribbon.

“We don’t want anyone to just walk up to him,” she said.

Whether it’s social issues, personality quirks or medical reasons, Yellow Dog Project founder Tara Palardy said the project has spread from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. and other countries.

Palardy said there are many reasons for a dog to wear the yellow ribbon, but it boils down to helping people understand that the dog needs space instead of the owner having to explain it every time.

“It’s about letting people know it’s not OK to invade a dog’s space,” she said.

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