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 running...you 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...