I Love Dogs, But…
I was a dog owner all of my life until a few years ago. Part of my childhood was spent in Alaska where we raised sled dogs and I was devoted to them. I’ve also had an assortment of other animals including cats, ferrets, goats, cows, rats, and a variety of birds including cockatiels, chickens, ducks, and geese, so I understand the pros and cons of animal ownership. Now that we’re retired, we wanted to be less encumbered so we didn’t replace our animals as they passed on like we typically would have. I miss them sometimes, but between our chickens and bees, that’s enough responsibility.
We went to one of the ranch and farm supply stores in town today to buy more chicken food and a dog on a leash inside the store decided to jump on me. I let his owner know I wasn’t happy about it and her response was the standard, oh she won’t hurt you. Not the point, I said. This was not okay, I said. I told the woman who checked us out that I didn’t appreciate what happened and I hoped it wouldn’t happen again. She just looked at me. Apparently, this place allows dogs to accompany their owners. Or, they just don’t say anything about it when they do. But as much as I love dogs, I don’t appreciate it when a strange dog jumps on me. You just never know and I’m uncomfortable taking any chances where big teeth are concerned.
A trend seems to be happening with dogs accompanying their owners into businesses. What might have been a cute thing has now turned into owners who don’t control their animals putting staff and customers alike at risk of injury. We took our dogs to work with us in our last business but we kept them behind the counter or they were on a leash to use the bathroom. I didn’t mind customers bringing in their dogs as long as they behaved themselves. But if they became aggressive in the slightest, they had to go. But with what I’ve been seeing lately, if I were a business owner today, it’s doubtful I would allow animals in the business, even my own.
In addition to dodging dogs in big box stores, it never fails that a neighbor around the corner from us won’t control his large Rottweiler and we end up dealing with the giant behemoth when it aggressively charges us while on our daily walk. This particular dog ran out into the road at us while his owner did nothing. In addition, three pit bulls live across the street from me. They behave aggressively with anyone in their path and even trespassed down our long 800 foot driveway into the compound area where our home sits, cornering my husband. Thankfully he was able to get them to leave but it was dicey. A neighbor woman stopped us on the street last week telling us that another neighbor had to go after the dogs with a baseball bat so that she could get past them. They were lunging at her and she was terrified.
Law enforcement was called, took forever to arrive, and did nothing. Nothing. That’s what we face around here. They’ve been to this house time and time again and the dogs are still there with puppies now apparently there as well. The dog’s owner passes the buck onto anyone the dogs attack. Just tell him to go away, he said to me one day when the dog was viciously growling, barking, and lunging at me when I tried to leave my property through my front gate. He won’t hurt you, he said. Right.
It’s as if those who can actually do something about these situations are afraid to act. They leave us at risk but apparently that’s not enough of a reason to do something. I love dogs but not if they pose a risk to our safety. I’ve known pitbulls and Rotweillers who were nice dogs, but I’ve also experienced tragedy in our family when a precious four year old child was killed by a pitbull who attacked him. Some dog owners are really in denial. These situations are law suits waiting to happen, both for the owner and businesses if it happens there.
The dog didn’t hurt me when she jumped up on me, but as I said to her owner, that’s not the point. We all love our pets. They’re members of our family. When we still had animals it was normal for us to share our king-sized bed with three dogs and any number of cats. If my husband didn’t get in there before the menagerie, he would have trouble finding a place to sleep. So I’m as devoted an animal owner as any of these people. But what I don’t expect is for others to put up with my devotion.
It’s bad enough that stores put crap in the middle of the aisles and move products around to the point I can’t find them anymore, but to have to worry about an animal becoming upset and biting someone is just too much to have to think about. Stores could put a stop to it but so far they haven’t, at least not in our area. Dogs, no matter how gentle, become nervous around unfamiliar people and they can bite. I’ve had dogs that I swore would never bite and then they did. It’s pushing the envelope when it doesn’t need to happen.
It’s an ego thing. Stop it.
Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on July 24, 2017.