I like walking the dog - he and I both need the exercise - but I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it.
This morning, on the way out, a fairly large dog barked at us from his porch. He was not leashed or confined. I hoped he wouldn't just charge. We kept walking, Sampson barked once and stopped, and while the other dog took a few steps down onto the side walk, he stayed in his own yard. No problem.
On the way back, the first dog had been taken back into his garage. Sampson and I trotted along quite merrily without a care in the world. I saw a little Shih-Tzu-type dog in a yard up ahead, but didn't really think anything about it - till we passed the house.
That tiny dog, who probably weighed all of 3 pounds, ran across the yard, across the street, and down the sidewalk after my 98-pound doofus, yapping all the while. Sampson started flailing around, like he does when he's excited, and I just tried to keep walking, thinking the little dog would eventually give up and stop. Sampson was making his squealy noise, not his aggressive "get away from me" bark, so I didn't think the little dog was in any danger from Sampson, but dogs are still dogs after all, and I wasn't going to take any chances.
Little Dog kept up the sidewalk after us. A lady still in her nightgown started running up the sidewalk after it. "Please get your dog on a leash!" I shouted. I don't think she heard me.
We kept walking, Sampson kept flailing, and the little dog was STILL trailing after us. I said, okay, that dog's just going to keep it up till we stop. I made Sampson sit, the little dog stopped, and the owner was able to get hold of her charge - across the street and 3-4 houses down from her own place.
"Please don't let your dog run around loose like that," I said.
"I didn't know y'all was out here," she said.
"It doesn't matter," I said. "Your dog could have run out and been hit by a car." This is a well-populated subdivision with cars going in and out all the time.
"Oh, she would never do that."
Really? Obviously she just did. I said something else; I don't really remember what it was, and it wouldn't have made any difference anyway, because clearly this lady was delusional about her dog's behavior. This time there was no harm, no foul, but what about next time?
I don't want there to be a next time. I want my outings with my dog to be pleasant without the threat of being charged by someone else's loose dog. And this isn't the first time this has happened - years ago, Mister and I were walking the two dogs we had at the time, both on the medium-to-large size, and we were charged by a Min-Pin down the street, who was literally nipping at my Elkhound's ankles. I was shocked and amazed that Zenith didn't rip its little head clean off.
Now friends, I know it's tempting to think your pets are safe going out for a pee loose and unattended in your own yard. And in some places, they probably are. But in a closely populated area with lots of other people and dogs and cars, not to mention the hawks and owls, it's probably not a good idea.
So, till next time - spay and neuter your pets, and make sure they're safe when they go out. They depend on you to take good care of them.