I have decided that Friday is the best day to talk about beasts, and thus I declare Fridays, from this day forward, Furry Fridays.
Anyway. A few things have happened recently that have put puppies on my mind:
- I am the same person I have always been, and puppies are always on my mind.
- Shannon wrote about her dog Betty White, and the behavior stuff they’ve been struggling with.
- We were out with Daphne and had an almost-scary run-in with another dog.
I’ve talked about Daphne’s issues a couple of times before. Short version: she was not properly socialized as a puppy (before she joined our family), and as a result she has a lot of fear, and just does not quite know how the world works. She is the sweetest dog when she’s at home or at my parents’ house, but outside of those settings, she can be a little iffy or unpredictable. I spend a lot of time advising strangers not to try to pet my dog, and bracing myself if they take a step towards her. Out in the world, I keep my fingers crossed, always, that I will be close to enough and aware enough to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
Anyway, the other day we were heading back to our car from the woods, so we had Daphne back on her leash. A woman came around the bend with her dog off-leash, which is fine, because we were at an off-leash park. The dog ran up to us, and I kept walking, pulling Daph’s leash, projecting as much as I could the attitude of, “Everything’s fine! We’re just walking! Nothing to see here!”
The woman kept calling her dog, but he had noticed Daphne and came running up, and started trying to pick a fight. Seriously, little dog? My dog is much bigger than you, and she has really nice teeth. Plus, she’s a tad unpredictable. So I’m pulling her leash and telling her she’s good and projecting “WE’RE JUST WALKING NO BIG DEAL” and the woman is apologizing and explaining that her dog only does this when other dogs are on leash.
I think if this had been just a year ago, I would have been annoyed. I would have gotten outraged and complained later, “If her dog gets mad at other dogs ON LEASH, she should not take her dog out IN PUBLIC.” But things have changed now: having an unpredictable dog means you know things about unpredictable dogs, and one thing I know now is that it is very, very common for dogs to respond strangely to being on leash, or to seeing other dogs on a leash, or if one dog is on and the other dog is off leash. Dogs are weird!
So, to the woman walking the dog off-leash? It really is okay. We do understand. We had control over our dog, and we were just relieved she didn’t do the scary leap-in-the-air-and-snarl thing, because then your dog would have looked cuddly, and we would have looked at the bad guys. Also, thanks! Thanks for making us feel, for once, like we were the owners in control. We needed that.
And to everyone else – give people a break, if their dog is on or off leash, if yours is on or off leash…. we’re all just trying to do right by our dogs. Even the crazy ones.
Anyone else out there learning through experience that the “When I have my own dog/cat/child, I will never do that” is completely off?