A Good Walk Spoiled

This isn’t about golf. It’s about dogs.

I used to use the extensive bike and running trails in my home county for speedwalking, but I had to quit because so many people take their dogs there and let them run alongside, off leash. We have fenced dog exercise parks in just about every neighborhood, maintained at taxpayer expense, but that isn’t enough for these people; around every bend in the trail you find mutt-face running free (sometimes they yell at me “he’s friendly!” or “he’s under VOICE CONTROL!” while the dog barks fit to kill and hurtles toward me with every apparent intention of doing exactly that). Dogs have already bitten me three times in my life; on those occasions I had done nothing to alarm the dog and in fact did not even know it was close to me, so goddamned if I’m going to take chances with dogs that are telegraphing their intentions. I took to carrying pepper spray and drawing down on the bastards but it wasn’t worth the aggravation; these days I stick to public roads instead. Better a slow death by car exhaust than fending off three assaults every day I went out.

This morning I knocked out five miles, digging gorgeous weather, good hills and a completely pain free stride (not always a blessing I can count on). On my return swing through a little ‘hood that contains, among other things, my old grade school, I spotted a driveway set up for a yard sale, right at the top of one of my favorite slopes. I usually spurn yard sales — I don’t want other people’s smelly old clothes, broken lamps or bedbugs — but there on a table were  a half-dozen red glass goblets that looked worth inspecting. The man arranging things on the other side of the drive greeted me, I said Good Morning and began to approach the glasses, and right then a hundred-pound dog, of indeterminate breed but with a mean mastiff head, launched itself from the porch in my direction, barking nonstop and planting its legs with that foursquare territorial stance that says One step closer and I go for your throat.

I was already holding my pepper spray, aiming two-handed and saying in a steady bullhorn voice GET AWAY FROM ME GET THAT DOG AWAY GET YOUR DOG GET IT AWAY FROM ME NOW. Dumb Owner didn’t meet my eyes as he hustled the dog back toward the house by its collar, nor did the wife who bounced out onto the porch to see what had upset Fido, and I said as I turned to double-time out of there, “If you want to have a sale, sir, you’re going to have to tie that dog up or keep it inside.”

Please explain to me why someone had to tell him that.

Here is what a pro-animal organization has to say about dog bites in the United States. Roughly five million a year, two or three dozen fatal, over half a million requiring medical treatment. If a dog goes for my hand or arm, I could lose my livelihood, and these bozos act oppressed if they have to keep the bastard on a leash.

I hate dogs. I hate dogs. I hate the stupid people who own them and refuse to even try to control them. I hate the people who perpetuate the myth that a vicious pack animal, with a mouth full of ugly yellow teeth and a brain the size of a cherry tomato, can ever truly be controlled. There is no place for them in human society outside of, perhaps, sheep pastures and police kennels. I wish every dog bigger than a large cat would blink out of existence tomorrow, and that the people I care about who, bafflingly, think they need to have a big dog would recover from their delusion. There is no reason for them.

I hate them.

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17 thoughts on “A Good Walk Spoiled

  1. Oh dear …. you’ve made me LOL, which is very rare BTW. We’ve had cats and dogs [and sheep,chickens,geese,goldfish ….. oh, and children]……

    I wonder which in this list has proved to be the worst ……. *sayin’ nuffink …… but it ain’t doggies*

    [I have been bitten by a dog, very painfully, but I still like ’em]

  2. See, this here dog lover’s reaction would have been to engage the animal, and he’d be lovin’ up on my hand in about two minutes. The difference between dog and non-dog folks is something instinctual, perhaps. I don’t know. There are stupid dogs and stupid dog owners out there and too many of them can be dangerous. But most of those sorts are the angry skinhead boys you see lurking about in run-down suburbs, my opinion. I’m all for banning them and their pit bulls. Little walking time bombs.

    • You need to take one turn around Arlington County. These people get big lolloping lout dogs, usually with some kind of status attached, don’t train them in the least, and then act clueless about the resulting anti-social behavior.

      I’m sorry, I just don’t understand the attraction of a smelly, loud animal who thinks everyone outside his “pack” is an enemy who needs to be intimidated or harmed, unless oodles of time and money are spent making him provisionally well behaved — meaning he’ll sit quietly as long as no one makes a sudden move or a loud noise. Why not just keep an armed bomb in your house and take it with you on excursions?

    • Pit bulls are a breed we can do without. I will not rent a house to anyone with a pit bull. I proscribe them in writing in the rental agreement.

  3. I’ve had dogs as working animals, but I just can’t get myself to look at them as pets. My three cats can be noisy and miserable, but they are unlikely to kill me unless I slip on an accident in the wee hours of the morning.

    I am currently working with a cat rescue organization. Some of the cats are crabby, one is truly vindictive, but the amount of damage they can do to me is rather minimal compared to a mastiff.

  4. Your hatred and aversion is shared by at least one reader.

    The expectation that everyone should be forced to share owners’ inane lust for these primitive, slavering, smelly brutes is a concealed wish for absolute power. Any attempt to foist guilt upon me for rejecting one of God’s creatures will be reported at the Pearly Gates and I intend to have it out with the Creator once my papers are accepted.

    I am sure Cheri’s Dinah is an exception, but she did try to have a go at me a little while back. Glenys also is a dog-lover, as were her parents. Every time I visited I had to endure the adulation and watch out for those hungry eyes directed at my children.

    One trick I learned, although it is not entirely foolproof, is to ignore them totally. It is, apparently, what the leaders of wolf packs do. They then approach you slowly, turn about and sit quietly beside you, protecting you against everybody else. Amaze people with your understanding of animals!

    I’m not a cat-lover either. The four cats I have to feed here arrived more by accident than design. I’d rather have birds in the garden and not have live field-mice running about the house. I tell you, all four of them sat around watching as Glenys chased after and caught one of these innocent little rodents.

    As for the children, well they ruin you mentally, physically and financially. They arrive when you are barely aware of the world, preoccupying every moment of existence. Anything between youth and old age is a blur. It’s what my mother told me, and she was right, bless her.

    • I put children in a category with dogs except that the do not, usually, bite, but they are noisier and people shove them in your face even more often. They do, sometimes, eventually become people you would want to talk to, but I have no wish to be anywhere nearby while this process goes on.

      I will accept that people don’t all like cats. No one, however, was ever fatally mauled by a cat running loose. You’re lucky if you can even get them to sit still for you (should you want to). (Mine are dab hands with the mice — like to mix them in, post mortem, with a pile of catnip toys as a prank.)

  5. I don’t hate dogs and, if I ever were to have a dog, it would probably be something big and friendly like a labrador or newfoundland … but only if I also had a huge garden. Though it’s hard to imagine me actually having either.

    Having said that, I am always wary of dogs approaching me, no matter what size they are. The main difference with cats (in my experience) is that a cat will not approach you if it’s in any way upset or threatened (unless backed into a corner), unlike dogs who will attack, often for no clear reason. The weirdest thing is how dogs will sometimes come right up to you and appear friendly and then… *SNAP!*

    When I used to cycle by the river I was less bothered by big dogs that were (stupidly and irresponsibly) left to run free, than by the yappy ankle biters that not only tried to do just that but also seemed to have a death wish, in particular wanting to die by stuffing themselves between my spokes. Grrr…

    Oh, and children left to roam free on/near cycle paths are also just as dangerous.

  6. Dog owners always have to reassure people that their growling animal is friendly. Cat owners will tell you up front that their cats are not friendly at all. It seems cat owners have a more solid grasp of reality as it is than what they wish it should be.

  7. I don’t hate ’em. But then, I’ve (so far) never been attacked by one. Or even barked at aggressively, as far as I can remember.

    I think some people just must smell ‘right’ to dogs, i.e. probably we smell like dogs. Nice. Anyway, my Dad is the same; dogs LURVE him. All animals actually. I think I must have inherited that gene from him.

    Which is lucky because Sydney is full of dogs and I run outside 2 or 3 times a week. By rights I should have been mauled to death several times over by now.

    But yes, what on earth was the guy having the yard sale thinking?? What if it had been a small child who’d ‘invaded’ the dogs’ space and set it off??! It could have been awful – don’t these people realise that just because they think their dog is under control and doesn’t attack the members of its own pack, that its not going to defend its territory and attack interlopers? After all, that’s half the reason people domesticated dogs in the first place: to guard us and our possessions.

  8. I had a good laugh at this one and I do see what you mean about people not restraining their dogs. Even if their dog is on a leash, I’ve noticed that a lot of people will still allow their dog to come up to my leg and brush up against me. I can only imagine the fear you must have at the park when people let their large dogs run free. I would want a weapon available for protection that would stop a dog in its tracks should it jump at my throat or lock its jaws around my calf. It would seriously bring out the worst in me, and I understand your sentiment. But that is the fault of the people, and too many people don’t know how to restrain their animals–instead they use them as machismo extensions, because they’re cowardly, insecure losers. So you did the right thing by switching places to run and staying out of the drama. It’s that or kill a dog. And that’s a lose-lose. But I get ya.
    :-/.

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