Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dogs Are Not People

Dusk evolves into night as I hit the three mile point during my run. It is a slick, misty evening and my legs heavily pound onto the concrete. Running towards me is a fellow jogger, a leash dangling from her wrist with a very large husky attached. I slow my steps, waiting for her to pull her canine in closer to her side. She does not. In seemingly slow motion, I simultaneously run and balance on the edge of the sidewalk, and out of the corner of my eye, I see it happen. The dog, excited by a runner running away, lunges and I feel his snout brush my shoulder as he attempts to gnash his jaws down on me. The woman, acting surprised and flustered, offers no apology, but meekly scolds her pet, "No, Pongo, no."

Okay, well I've kinda had it with people and their dogs. And just to give you fair warning, this posting will not be politically correct.

What's funny is that I am a dog person. Every few months or so, I find myself on petfinder.com, searching for my canine friend. I want to have someone to go running with! Not this year, but perhaps next when we won't be gone so much.

And I believe that when you become a dog owner, you should also be given a manual on dog etiquette, which would include the following:
  • If you own a dog who is going to take a snap at others sharing the sidewalk, like perhaps innocent runners just trying to get a workout in, put a muzzle on it! Yes, a muzzle. Maybe that sounds a bit like Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp, but I'm totally serious. Obviously your dog needs exercise. Obviously you will at times need to bring them into public. But I'm sorry, I should not have to worry about the safety of my shoulders or any other body part when I pass your pet on the sidewalk.
  • Do not let your dear pet wander your neighborhood. Either have them in a nicely fenced area where they will not be able to charge at me or tie them up. I can hear the protests already: "But my dog won't charge at anyone. My dog is very friendly. My dog won't hurt anyone!" Okay, cool. But the thing is, when I go running by your house and see an unfamiliar, large dog coming towards me, I don't know that. And neither do many of the postal workers and delivery workers that come into your neighborhood daily. The other thing that really bothers me about these protests is that they are so short-sighted. Dogs are animals and their behavior can be unpredictable. I'm pretty sure Roy Horn wasn't expecting his well-trained tiger to attack. The same can, and does, happen with dogs.
  • If you take your doggie walking by my lawn and they happen to decide that our mossy, dandeliony grass is the ideal dumping ground, please kindly clean up their crap. Cause if you don't, I'm going to save it for the next time you pass by and throw it at you
  • And lastly, please don't compare your dog to my children. It's insulting. My kids may act like animals a lot of the time, but what right do you have to point that out? Dog-ownership and parenthood are not the same. They're just not. Imagine if your own parents compared their love for you to their love for their dog. Would you swallow that very easily? Probably not. And with very good reason . . . 
Dogs are not people.

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