Friday, June 24, 2016

It Is Really Not the Dog's Fault

If you have stopped by here ever, you know I am an animal lover, but even I have some unpleasant moments with animals while I am out exercising.

It isn't the dogs that bothers me, it is the dumb humans attached to them, but we'll get back to that in a moment.

Typically, I do not fear animals. I respect that they have certain instincts.

I expect barking, but I confess I have been startled a few times by charging dogs in a yard, who are suddenly halted by their invisible fence. About the time I think...uh oh...they stop. Whew!
Ever had that pleasure?

Winter seems to be the time people assume no one is out in the wee hours and just let the dog out. Then along comes me, and the dog come barking full force out of the darkness as I run by. I've been chased by small dogs,  mid size dogs, a few that really made my heart pound, as I  hear the owner yelling for the dog to come back, as I truck on.

Small dogs have made me stop a few times, because they really go for your ankles and feet and I have witnessed them actually bite a few times in my life, so I am usually more leery of them. The motion seems to work them up. The two times I have seen someone actually get bit, it happened super fast. When a dog is barking and bouncing around that is a good sign.

I have a few people that walk around my neighborhood with big sticks or a club. Ever see them?
It really bugs me. I am not sure I could contain myself if  I saw someone take a swing at an animal, because 9.5 times out 10, a dog is completely harmless. They are usually excited to see you.

My worst encounter that comes to mind, happened a few years ago. A midsize dog came running full force from between two houses. He/she had my arm before I knew it. As the dog's jaws were locked on my bicep area, I was looking at him and I could tell he was young...he started tugging me back. I was kind of in shock. I could hear the owner yelling, "He won't bite!" and I am yelling, "He has my arm!" The owner was calling the dog from the yard, and I said come get him. At that point, I was fuming, completely boiling over at the owner.
A kid finally came and the dog ran off with them, and I took a breath and moved on. I was ranting in my mind. I am serious, I said every vile word a person can muster in my head. I thought about going back, I thought about posting a huge rant about stupid humans and responsibility on our neighborhood FB page, but by the time I got home, I talked myself off the ledge. I decided to do nothing unless it happened again. To date I have not encountered the pooch unleashed. I wasn't upset at the dog, it was all about the human stupidity. The owner has to realize the puppy will dart, what if he gets hit by a car?!
I did have a bruise on my arm and I was sore the next day, the puppy had clamped down tight trying to tug me, just being a puppy.

This time of year, I pass a zillion folks out enjoying a walk with their furry friends and I admire how pretty the dog is, how nice the dog walks leashed, etc...
Usually, I will cross the street when I see someone approaching with a pet, give them room, and just wave, but I always try to move some to give them space. I am not the rude person who plays chicken with people.  The last few weeks, I lost count of how many people would not tighten up the leash as I pass by.
I can think of three times I was lunged at or jumped on, and it was really getting on my nerves...until this...

A man walking his dog was approaching, cars were passing, so I stayed my course. Next thing I know the dog is wagging his tail out of control, trying to circle me, clearly friendly and quite adorable, but you know how it is when you are don't want to stop. I paused and petted the cute creature, and took off. The older man was grinning ear to ear, and was clearly proud of his baby.  My heart kind of melted, I felt guilty I was momentarily annoyed.

Two weeks ago, I was in the zone on my bike. I saw a few neighbors talking in a driveway and a dog with them on a leash as I turned a corner. I went to the other side of the street and the next thing I know the dog is jumping on me. The owner had a retractable lease and she had let it all the way out...all the way across the street. I slammed on my brakes and started counting to 10. I went from the being in the zone, to anger in the blink of an eye.
The owner was a older lady and after she spoke a few words, I decided she was mentally impaired and I shouldn't rant at a challenged person. She continued to let the dog paw at me, which looked kind of like a Chow, and barely tried to retract the leash, and said to ME, "You were going so fast you sacred him"  ...huh??? See, I could only assume she wasn't wrapped right. I did raise my voice and tell her, I could have really injured the dog (I would have felt awful), and she shouldn't expect a person biking to stop. She started mumbling and was looking at me like I was crazy (BIG SIGH) so I just took off.
I hope the pooch has a good guardian angel.

~ I saved the best for last~

My most impressive interaction maybe ever, happened last week when I was trail running.

Coming down the trail I could see a man letting his two dogs free paw. As I got closer I heard him say, "Freeze." Both dogs stopped and sat down, tails wagging like little angels, as they watched me pass. My jaw dropped! I was seriously impressed that at one word they calmly sat. I told him I wish I had a treat for his dogs as I passed! Dog whisperer...for sure, and really smart furry friends.
My hat is off to you Sire!
I envy people with that kind of skill and patience, when it comes to training a pet.

SO yes, some folks are clueless, but I try to contain my rantiness and be kind, because after all, we all have our moments where we lapse good judgment, right.

So fire away :) Tell me about your best/worse encounters. 
Ever been chased? 
Seen a club carrier walking in your neighborhood? 
Had the invisible fence scare? 
Stopped to chat with someone clearly lonely, wanting to say hello? 
Encountered an extremely well behaved canine? 
Have a fear of dogs? 

And remember, it really is the humans that are the most dangerous...


  1. That still makes me nervous when people dont use leashes - even if that seem well trained. Makes me nervous for the dog - something happening to it.

    I live on a country roads so people let their dogs run out loose ALL THE TIME... & sadly, I have seen so many animals that have later gotten hit on the road. I want to go up & SCREAM IN PEOPLES FACES when that happens. What did they think would happen!?!?!? Drives me insane. One time, while running, a dog was chasing me - a car was coming - I ended up doing what i could to get the dog out of the road & the car stopped & yelled AT ME to control my dog - I was trying to tell them it wasn't my dog... & then saw the owner of this dog just watching from their front door the whole time. I should have just picked up their dog & taken it home with me since they obviously didn't care.
    I can get FIRED UP about this topic.

    1. Preach on Sister! I worry about the dogs too.
      I had that happen a long time ago- a dog was trailing me and someone threw their hands up and it wasn't even mine. How sad the owner was watching all that when it happened you!! I just would people would think a little.
      You should write a post! I say it makes others aware and that is a good thing.

  2. I run with my dog off lead. I do have a collar that has a built-in lead - I can grab the loop and have control quickly. Rosie doesn't like people, she doesn't like other dogs and she stays by my side. I've been yelled at by people that my dog should be on a leash while their dog is on a retractable leash wrapping themselves around my legs. I never wear earbuds and try to be as aware of my surroundings as I can. I stayed at a dead stop in the middle of the trail one day because a lady with earbuds kept walking while her dog stopped to herd me.

    After years running on trails near my house, I no longer stop if a dog decides to run with us. One day I was sure the Yorkie pair was going to follow me home. By now their owners are completely aware what is happening and if they don't care how far their dogs go, I don't either. I have a fenced yard that they can stay in until the owner decides to come get them ;-)

    1. Hi Jackie:) I totally support a little freedom on the trails especially if you know your dog well. A lead you can grab quickly is a great option and it yank her neck. I hate how folks get so I try to not be that person yelling!
      It is nice you have an eager run buddy especially on the trails:) they can be very quiet. Happy running to you and Rosie :)

  3. Wow you have had a lot of encounters with overzealous dogs! I love seeing dogs when I'm out running and always, always feel a pang of jealousy that I don't have one too. The dogs I see are always leashed and fairly well behaved, probably because I live in the downtown/beach area where there are always lots of cars and people. The little ones do seem to have slightly worse behavior than the bigger ones. I think owners of small dogs assume they can't do much damage and don't put as much work into training. That could be a totally wrong assumption though as it's only based on my observations!

    If I ever saw someone out with a club that looked like they were going to hit an animal (or they said it was for protection from animals) I think I would pass out from anger. I understand wanting to protect yourself, but there must be a better way.... pepper spray, maybe. Something that is temporary and won't inflict major damage to an animal that almost certainly doesn't have intent to harm.

    1. I guess since I run my neighborhood and run up and down streets with no outlet or cul-de-sacs I do encounter family pets quite often. Even in the early morning I pass peeps walking their dogs before work so I never really thought about, but I guess it does happen a lot. Ha! One day I will have to write my rant about the peeps who never speak back to me lol
      Anyway...the club carriers really do bother me. I picture myself needing a go fund me to post bail. Spray would be a better option, but I always worry because usually the dogs come running and just want to say hi.
      Some of the dogs I pass are really sweet and it does make me want one again - but could you imagine lol my cats would take me out!

    2. I would donate to your go fund me to get you out of jail!!!! :)

    3. Uh oh what about my mountain lion stick????

    4. Mountain lions don't count! LOL They are scary. Kind of like an angry bear, it would be game on.

    5. Thanks Kristina! LOL Hopefully I will never need it :)

  4. Ugh, Karen. Wow, a lot of bad encounters for you! I get so mad at irresponsible dog owners and there are so many! I have a lab that enjoys her walks as much as the next dog and she would love to run off leash, but we stay on the leash and as we approach others, I always get us out of the way. I realize not everyone is a dog lover! I have been bitten by small dogs and 2 summers ago a guy had his dog off leash and I hit the dog on my bike and I flew over my handle bars -- the dog (thank goodness) was OK and I told the guy "you better not scold your dog but you better put your dog on a leash or take him up to the soccer field to run around, not the road". I was so mad. One thing about waking up before the sun is that I have less idiots to deal with, I guess.

    1. That stinks you have been bit :( and flown off the bike, that would scare the day lights out of me. You are forunate you weren't seriously injured. I know that feeling exactly - you feel awful for the dog and want to lay out the owner!
      I sometimes wonder about the people that let the dog come to you, I mean not everyone is nice or likes dogs like you said. I usually put my hand and let the dogs sniff me, if I am walking I always will take a moment to admire a dog and say hi because you know I do really like them.
      You reminded me though, several years ago I had a lady I walked with she had two dogs - she would take them one at a time. One day she got tangled up between her dog an another trying to pull hers back and ended with a torn knee. She was in a brace for months.
      You are right that is a benefit of early wake up calls lol
      It is nice you have Macie to enjoy walks with :)

  5. I get the invisible fence thing every single day. Just yesterday I had an owner let his lab off the leash to come "say hello" as he put it. Gee thanks. I agree with you about the people who don't tighten the retractable leashes when they see you coming. I just don't understand the ignorance.

    1. That always makes my heart pound when I see dogs flying across a yard lol
      I know, I know the retractable is a pain!

  6. Luckily I have only been chased by friendly dogs! You know I love animals, but it can be mildly annoying if people don't have their animal leashed and then it chases me and I have to basically stop and walk so the pup doesn't get too far from home. Some dogs are fine unleashed, but some are not- the owner should take the precautions!

    I often want to say hi to dogs I see on my run but I know that is just instigating them to freak out so I normally just wave or say "cute doggie" to the owner- but NOT in my high pitched animal voice hehe.

    Last winter, at like 5am, I was out running and a dog was just wondering the streets. Then it started following me. I had no clue where it belonged and I was worried for it! I stopped running and pet it and wondered what to do. Luckily I heard a voice calling in the far off distance. Someone had lost their dog when they let it out to go to the bathroom. I took the dog and followed the voice and returned the dog to the owner.

    1. Oh and after reading some comments it reminded me that one time I was driving home from work and there was a little dog running in and out of traffic on the road! I was terrified! Pulled over and picked up the dog and took it over to the row of houses along the road. I knocked on every door until I found an owner. It was a little old lady who had the pup on a leash in the yard but he somehow got away. :( I am so glad he was okay.

    2. Awww, the dog is lucky you stopped. The lady didn't even realize he was loose, I'll have to remember that - hopefully it'll help me be nicer next time lol
      I had a dog start running with me a few summers ago like that. I was worried about it making it back home. Apparently this little guy broke out of his invisible fence quite often, a neighbor told me when I was passing.
      It is very annoying when people just let the dogs roam, outs you as the passer in a bad situation.

    3. and check Kristina's comment!! I am not judging your stick carrying I promise lol just the folks round here...I don't want to witness anyone clubbing a poodle.

  7. I used to run in a neighborhood that was a loop. I liked to run there in the mornings (around 4:30) because it was well-lit. Once, I encountered a dog without a leash or fence, just out in his year growling and barking at me. No one came to get it. I had to back up really slowly and run the opposite way, and because it was a looped route, I had to cut my run short. It really sucked. Sometimes I go back there in daytime these days to run, but I've stopped going at night or early morning!

    Little dogs drive me nuts. Their owners never seem to have them on leashes, and they always run up to me. I've told my running friends that someday I'll end up kicking one, which would break my heart, but they make me so nervous! Sometimes little dogs are the meanest!

    I'm so impressed with the dog whisperer. I wonder if he or the dogs are military or police, because that is SERIOUS training right there.

    1. I meant kicking one accidentally, because they run up while I'm in mid-stride! Not on purpose. Although if one of those yappers did bite and hang on...I guess I'd have to do something to get rid of it!

    2. That is so annoying to have to cut a run short! Those early morning encounters bug me because the owner is being lazy!
      Little dogs are scary, and since I have seen them bite, they do make me more nervous. Yea, if they bite all bets are off, you have to get away.
      Dog whisperer was impressive. He had a midsize and a smaller dog, and they just looked mixed, but gosh did they look angelic when they sat and wagged like that lol

  8. I HATE when dogs are unleashed. No matter how friendly, if you startle them, they will....who knows what.

    And those electric fences scare me the most.

    I have had many almosts while running.

    1. I know, most places have leash laws now for a reason, right!
      Megan reminded me from the comments, I had a dog run with me who was an invisible fence escapee...the fences don't always keep them in. It does give the heart a spike!

  9. Oh God, don't even get me started on dog owners! And sometimes even Mr. Judy, who also tends to not pay as much attention to Lola while walking her as I'd like.

    Yes, we have the stick walkers here.

    Lola is well trained, but I very much doubt she'd hold a stay if really excited. We do not use a retractable leash, never have. Darlene & I were almost taken out by an idiot walking their dog (not a retractable leash, but the owner allowed it to corral it with the darn leash).

    Another time I was walking the dogs in the park when someone lost control of their rather large lab puppy. It's not so bad now, I can just pick Lola up, but when there was two of them, it could get messy.

    The lab was clearly friendly, but it's hard with the size difference. Their owner, however, was just freaking out and making the situation worse. I'd managed to stop on the dog's leash, and was very calm.

    And then there are the adults who think it's a good idea for their small kids to walk a large, powerful dog.

    Like I said, don't get me started . . .

    Thankfully I've never been bitten or had an experience like yours, but it's very different down South -- you're much more likely to see off leash dogs down there than you are up here.

    1. Oh yeah, that is so true when you have small dogs, a bigger one approaching can be scary and you get stuck in the middle :(
      I always worry when I see a kid walking a dog!! For all kind of reasons.
      It seems people just don't think when it comes to those retractable leashes!

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