Posted by: canthold | November 27, 2007

Dogged Manners

I had been in a major funk lately. Something about me felt off. I was tired, felt like a migraine was living under the surface (small hatchet buried in my head instead of the full-sized one) and vertigo was looming large. I still don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner, but I took a multivitamin, which my husband calls a Horse Pill because it’s so large, and it made me feel like a new woman. I’ve had more pep in my step and my morning dog walks these last two days have been much more pleasant.

Except for that little dog and the man with the bike.

My dog is super friendly to other dogs. He loves them like they’re catnip. If there is another dog to meet, he could care less about anything – especially my shoulder attached to the arm holding the leash. Given that he’s such a social animal, I’ve come to love dogs even more than I did when we got the big guy.

There are two dogs that we encounter randomly on our daily walks that I absolutely hate. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but I’m afraid it’s true. I blame the owners for not training their dogs properly, which causes me to pretty much despise the owners, too. Petty, sure, but given that I’ll never get close enough to them to have a conversation because their dogs are menaces, pretty much assures that they’ll never care what I think of them.

Both of these little demons are similar to Jack Russells, in fact, they could be Jack Russells. I don’t know their breeds, I can only guess. Both seem to suffer from Little-Dog-Complex, where their aggressive posturing is compensating for something, if you know what I mean. In the heat of their tantrums they look like they could give a Great White a run for his money.

I know where one of the dogs lives. I walk on that street regularly enough that I know the owner and I are on slightly different walking schedules. I also know to be on the look-out for the dog and I have enough warning to sit my dog calmly, looking away with a treat poised in my hand to command his full and complete attention while this little dog passes. It’s gotten to be an okay situation that I’m prepared for on most occasions. The owner is just as unfriendly as her dog and it only reinforces my belief that people and animals find each other based on personality.

The other demon-dog runs along side his owner while he rides his bike. Sometimes this terror is on a leash and sometimes it is not. Since the owner is riding his bike, these two seem to spring upon me in a surprise attack. One minute I’m alone with my dog and the next they’re right there. The dog’s teeth are bared and the aggressive barking and jumping go off like a lit string of firecrackers.

My dog responds in kind and since my dog is about 90-pounds, I have my hands full just keeping him from tearing off and getting into a rumble with the menace. I saw them today. We walked up the top of some stairs on our way to the neighborhood open-space and there they were. I wasn’t expecting to see them at all since we usually run into them on a different part of our walk, but as soon as we got to the top of the stairs, the two dogs start going off and it was all I could do to get away from them.

It makes me wonder what people are thinking when they bring animals into their lives. Do they not understand the responsibility they have to train them and care for them? My dog is a dog-friendly and he only acts this way with these two particular misbehaved dogs.

The day before we went on our trip Mooch and I were walking at the end of my street to a different set of stairs. A woman was walking down with her dog off-leash. She was still on the stairs and her dog was approaching mine. When her dog was within a few feet of Mooch she says that her dog isn’t good with other dogs. I respond with, “Shouldn’t he be on a leash then?” But before she could even descend the rest of the way down, her dog attacked Mooch. It pinned him down and before I could even help him (the advice given to me by countless people: kick the other dog as hard as you can until it gets off) I fell down. I bruised my hip, strained my back (which was fun during my first six-hour plane ride) and skinned both hands.

When the irresponsible pet owner finally pulled her dog off, put him on a leash and I stood up, Mooch and I turned around to go back home. I was shell-shocked and limping. The woman asked me where I was going. I told her that I was hurt and I was going home. I don’t even recall that she apologized. I hope to never see them again.

In a way I’m just like my dog, too. I only want to have positive social interactions and friendly encounters. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, is it? Mooch and I just want to be friends with others and we don’t want anyone barking at us.

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Responses

  1. Irresponsible pet owners drive me crazy. I was bitten by a loose dog one time and had to have a tetanus shot as a result. Animal control had to impound the dog for 14 days to make sure it didn’t have rabies because the owner didn’t have up to date records. Luckily for everyone involved, the dog was fine, but I still have a scar on my leg.

    I used to say that I had never met a dog I didn’t like – until that incident. Now I steer clear of all dogs not on leashes.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog bite experience. I think there are two kinds of pet owners – the kind who think of the animal as a member of the family and do what they need to for their companion, and the kind who think of animals as lower life forms that are basically property. It’s really a shame.

    Some sneaky person went into this post and put links to products inside. I had nothing to do with it, but I’m reminded to check in on the security of my site. You have to wonder about people sometimes.


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