This blog isn’t related to the business of writing, instead I’m talking about what happened yesterday morning. This is why I don’t fully trust dog owners who let their dogs off leash.
I walk Maggie every day in the field close to our house. A lot of us dog walkers are sad that they are beginning work to build houses there, but that’s just life. For now, we can still walk there.
So Maggie and I go into the field, and I spot a man I’ve seen walking his older dog before. I think it’s a Labrador, and he’s off leash, but he’s mellow so I don’t worry about him. Maggie and I walk a little farther when I realized he has another dog with him off leash. A younger lab who’s in the shrubs. Crap. Now I’m worried, but I keep going on a different dirt road, keeping that dog in my peripheral vision and hoping he’ll and follow his owner and the other dog.
That’s when the dog spots Maggie and he doesn’t even hesitate, he runs for her. I’m guessing the dog was 40 to 50 pounds. I had little time to react and the owner was too far away. The owner finally sees this and yells, “He won’t hurt–” and he cut off as the dog went after Maggie.
I got a hold of the dog’s collar, and held on. Some of it I don’t even remember. The owner got there, put a leash on the dog and we handled it. We checked Maggie, and she seemed okay. The man seemed shocked that I was so calm. I was thinking so fast and trying to control a bad situation, I didn’t have time to panic. Or I don’t think I did, maybe I yelled and don’t remember. Plus the man immediately owned up to an ugly situation, and at that point, my being nasty would not have helped. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and misjudgments with my dog too. Once I got home and was checking my arm (it’s fine, no bite) I realized how much danger I was in. The dog wasn’t going after me, he was after Maggie. But I had a pretty up close view of his teeth and that’s not something I’m going to forget.
What frustrates me is that people don’t understand dogs. They are not humans. They are actually simpler and more predictable. I’ll bet money that dog loves people in general, and that lulled this guy into not realizing how fast things can turn bad if a dog’s energy is not controlled. If an off leash dog comes full energy at a smaller leashed dog, there will almost always be a fight. The smaller dog’s instant anxiety and being “trapped” on a leash can and does set off the fight.
I’m not really mad, just frustrated. When I see unleashed dogs, I never, ever listen to the owners telling me their dog won’t bite. THAT IS NOT TRUE AND FOOLISH TO BELIEVE. In the right circumstances, most any dog will bite. For all I know, Maggie started that fight. I had put her in sit behind my left leg, but I didn’t look at her again. Maybe she growled or lunged. It’s possible. I know at one point I dropped her leash, she moved a few feet away and stayed back. But that’s all I can truly attest too.
Okay, I’m over it. Everyone is all right. I took Maggie back into the field in the afternoon because I don’t want her developing a fear. I’ve worked hard to get her to trust me to handle bad situations, and I wanted to reinforce that training. She was fine.
I started out writing this in frustration, but the more I think about it, the more I want to say this: I respect the other dog owner for the way he handled it once it was over. I really do.
Hmm…that actually makes me feel better!