The Yellow Dog Project: Designing a message...

As a dog owner - especially since my dog is an energetic pit bull - I try to be responsible when my dog is approached by other animals or children. But it can be difficult, when even the humans don't always ask before interacting with her - and when they do, the question often carries a distinct connotation: "Is she friendly?"  I don't want to answer "no" because she is friendly, but she also needs her space, so the answer to that question is longer and more awkward than the asker expected. The Yellow Dog Project is trying to make that answer both easier and preemptive, suggesting a yellow ribbon or bow on the leash of any dog who needs this kind of consideration. It's a good attempt so far: the yellow-ribbon signal is flexible enough to be easy but specific enough to be recognizable. The trick is getting word of it to catch on, because its effectiveness will depend on reaching a critical mass. An awareness campaign by the ASPCA would be a good ol' 20th-century method, but the Yellow Dog Project currently has over 23,000 likes on Facebook. That's a start - now if only other dogs could be taught what that yellow ribbon means, too...

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