A couple of days ago, I got proof that the clueless always win. I was walking to work through the North End park on the waterfront, when I saw this woman walking her dog. She had him on a prong collar to control him, and was simply minding her own business, enjoying the first sunshine in several days. As I approached, a larger Fox Terrier mix ran up on them, unleashed, and started taunting the other dog. The woman’s dog, who had appeared to be very calm and well-behaved when left alone, became upset and started growling at the intruder. As much as I was watching the dog, I was watching the owner. I knew that look. I’d given it many times since Moose, my English Setter/Border Collie came into my life. This is him:
Moose came to us with a nature that included a lot of animosity toward other dogs. I got him when I was eleven, and it was extremely frustrating to take him anywhere (4-H, walks, to the beach, etc.), even though I love him to death. I sympathized with this woman, because I knew what an uncomfortable situation she was in. After what seemed like a long time, this man came casually walking up. The conversation that ensued went as follows:
“Is that your dog?”
That was it. The terrier continued to circle, and kept dodging his owner. I could tell she was shocked at his nonchalance, as was I. Apparently, because his dog didn’t have behavioral problems, he thought it was O.K. to just let his dog run around, provoking other animals. Unfortunately, in that situation, the clueless might assume that it was the woman’s fault for bringing her “dangerous dog” to the park. What the situation did was put her in a very uncomfortable position, when all she was doing was being a responsible dog owner. I felt like going up to the man and telling him that unless he had his dog under complete voice control, he should have had him on the leash, so that no one would have been put in an awkward situation. Even if the encounter isn’t your fault, I know how embarrassing it is to have your dog go off on another dog. You can’t win with people. Even if you are responsible with your dog’s aggression, the clueless will always walk away the winner. If your dog is friendly, great. I have another dog who loves every dog he meets. That doesn’t mean I let him run around loose. People need to keep dogs on leash or under voice control. There are off-leash areas for a reason. Give a dog who hasn’t had a great past some chance to leave the house. Responsible owners shouldn’t lose. People who care so little shouldn’t have dogs. After all, someone could get hurt. Rant over.