How many times have I heard that plaintive warble coming from the mouth of someone who is witnessing egregious misbehavior by some ill-mannered, untrained dog?
Maybe it’s a feckless retriever that is drooling all over me and my dog, or climbing up the front of me with its muddy paws, or failing to understand the “keep away” language that my dog is using – all caps, spoken clearly and supplemented with illustrative, bared teeth.
Maybe it’s an evil Chihuahua that is shredding my eardrums with its air-horn-loud screeching, or biting me or my dog in a fit of petulance and fury that we even exist.
Maybe it’s a hackling, snarling, lunging pit bull, Labrador Retriever or any other kind of meaty canine psychopath blocking the sidewalk that I am walking down.
Maybe it’s some sort of hysterical terrier that thinks anything that moves needs to be screamed at and shredded - and instantly killed, if at all possible.
It doesn’t matter.
I should not have to put up with it, no matter whose fault it is. Maybe later, when I am at home, and safe from the offending canine; I may feel sorry for the life the dog lives. It is saddled with an owner that has no sense of social responsibility. Said owner has all but insured that the dog will be unwelcome wherever it goes.
But in the moment that I am being menaced – physically, or with a surfeit of decibels – I will defend myself. I may yell, stomp, clap my hands or brandish my walking stick. If that doesn’t do the job, I have no compunction about getting physical. I will happily commence knocking down the Golden Retriever that has planted its forefeet on my midsection, kicking the bellicose Chihuahua that has attached itself to my sock or my dog, or smartly whacking the snarling hunk of mutt that is coming at me, swearing like a sailor and showing me every tooth in its head.
I KNOW it isn’t the dog’s fault. It’s his idiot owners fault. But it is the DOG that will do the damage. Try telling the police that it wasn’t the dog’s fault when you have brained some irresponsible dog owner with a cane. See how far that gets you. On the other hand, few people will fault you for braining a dog that attacks you or yours.
My knees, ankles, shins and all my other body parts depend on me to protect them from harm. I have always done so, and see no reason to stop now. It may not be the dog’s fault, but it sure as hell isn’t mine. Let the permissive owner of screeching, chomping Chihuahuas or body-slamming Labs or Rottweilers, of clowning, pedestrian-scaling Golden Retrievers, of rock-crusher wanna-be pit bulls take note. I don’t have to put up with abuse from your dog. If you care about your little fur-baby at all, teach him some manners. His life, and yours, will be ever so much better. It may, in fact, depend on it.
All photos © Geonni Banner