First of all, allow me to warn you that this is not so much a blog post as a public service announcement. What can I say? I live to help others.
I got a new puppy a couple of months back. Living with The Grandparents as I did for almost ten years, it wasn’t really appropriate for me to get a larger dog and bring into their house. I already had (and still have) a small, old dog. So I didn’t want to push my luck. Anyway, my point was, as soon as we moved into our own place, I got a puppy. His name is Jack.
This post isn’t about him, though. It’s about dogs in general.
I love dogs. I am a dog person, for sure. Always have been. I’m not an overly demonstrative person, but I get very attached to my canine companions. Also, I try to do what’s right for them. I always try to make sure they have the proper activities and vet care and such. Following this same train of thought (if you can) I take Jack for a walk every day around the neighborhood. We do a couple of miles every day.
Allow me a brief digression. We are Cesar Millan disciples around here. We believe and practice his methods to the very best of our ability. I walk Jack because he needs daily exercise to keep him calm and easy going. He hasn’t chewed up the first thing in my house, he is housebroken, and although we are still working on properly greeting people at the door, he is overall fairly relaxed. Hail Cesar!
Back to my original point (which I hadn’t made yet). When I walk Jack, I carry a stick, pepper spray, and a pellet pistol. Why?
Because of the dogs.
At The Grandmother’s house, there were almost never any loose dogs. I think the main reason was that the main highway went right in front of the house, and that’s not the best environment for a wandering dog.
Here, though, is a one lane country road, and there are lots of dogs. Loose dogs.
We can’t really walk in one direction of our loop road, because there’s about ten dogs running around up there. The other direction of the loop goes just a few dozen yards then runs into the main highway, so forget that. So, naturally, we walk out the one lane road that follows the creek up the hollow for a couple of miles. It’s a lovely walk.
Except for the dogs.
It’s very frustrating. None of my family will walk with me because of the loose dogs that stalk you as you walk. My husband will, but he doesn’t get in until almost dark, and if you’ve read my posts in the past, you know I don’t do dark. So anyway, I’m on my own. My son will go sometimes, and he tries not to be nervous about it, but I know he is. There is one dog in particular who is very aggressive, and my son and Jack sort of cower behind me while I stand her down. Everyone tells me she is just a “teddy bear,” and I’ve seen her being friendly with her owners and with one of her neighbors, and I’ve even tried talking to her and getting her to calm down and come on over and have a sniff, but she’s not having it. Some days she just stands on the porch and barks, but she has actually charged us across the road, and once I even had to poke her with my stick because she got too close. I’m not afraid of dogs, but she is a very big dog, and I sure as hell don’t want to have to get into it with her.
Luckily, I’m a bigger bitch even than she. (I thought I’d say it before you did.)
There are other dogs on our walk, but mostly they just bark. Barking doesn’t bother me. I think most people out in the country have their dogs because they want to be alerted when things are amiss. Fine. But at some point, you have to take responsibility for your pet. I know of local neighborhoods where people have actually been bitten, and kids had to stop riding their bikes on certain public roads because of loose dogs.
Then here’s when it gets ugly–something bad happens, and a dog turns up missing or gets shot. I can’t stand that. I’m not sure under what circumstances I could ever shoot a dog. I love dogs, remember? But then I start thinking. My daughter has this really cool tricycle that she absolutely loves to ride, and I’ve been so excited for her to ride it this summer. The walk out our creek here is reasonably flat, and she could go pretty well.
But what if my nemesis charges my little disabled daughter on her little bike as she rides by? Evelyn is afraid of strange big dogs, and I don’t know how she would react if one came snarling and barking at her. I don’t know how I would react.
I know how my husband says he’s going to react.
Then there’s trouble. You put up with crap and put up with it, then when you finally do something, you’re the dirty dog (pun absolutely intended.) As an example, The Grandparents have these neighbors who used to keep three Siberian Huskies in an eight by ten cage. They never took them out, ever. They dumped the food and water over the top of the cage. The water bowl looked like a frog pond. The mountain of dog shit was literally three feet high, and that is not an exaggeration. The smell was horrific. On humid evenings, you couldn’t even tolerate sitting on the back porch at The Grandparent’s because of the stench. So, finally, The Grandmother called the humane society, and they came and took the one remaining dog (the other two had died.)
Can you guess what happened? The neighbors told everyone what awful people The Grandparents were, and how they had picked on them, blah blah blah. The worst part was that everyone in the neighborhood had complained about it for years, but no one would dare do anything. Then, to top it off, the owners just knocked down Mount Turdious, paid a fine, and then brought the dog right back and put him right back in there again!
The point of my story is that, no matter what, I’m going to end up as the bad guy here. There is no happy ending. Something bad will have to happen, then more bad things will happen. Just a cycle of badness. I want to be friends with all of my neighbors. I don’t even care if their dog come around here. A neighbor up on the hill has an extremely fat yellow lab that waddles around sometimes and says hello. She’s a panting, whole-butt-wagging type of dog. But I also had to chase away two black dogs the other day, because one of them charged at my dad while he was here visiting. What do you do? What’s the answer?
There is no answer. Just the cycle of badness.