Quite recently I’ve moved to an apartment right in the city. For those who don’t know, I used to live about 80km from Lisbon on a beautiful countryside house with lots of space, peace and quiet. I still own it, but since all my “family lives” are in Lisbon (work, school, friends) it wasn’t making a lot of sense to go 80km each way everyday. So, we moved.
Now, we’re 2 adults, two children and two old dogs’ kind of family.
And here it’s when we found out something really disturbing. When we used to see people walking by their dogs without any leash by the driveways it was kind of cool.
Oh, how well trained they are. How friendly and likeable they are, right? How cute…
Well… not so much. It’s cool when they are well trained, they socialize well with other dogs and they don’t “hurt anyone” (the most common excuse I’ve heard so far), right?
Ok, I assume that makes sense. However, when they don’t respond to their owner’s command and keep bouncing around to “socialize” with my pets, it’s a big, big trouble?
Why? Because my dogs are old, cranky and don’t want to play most of the times. Specially, when the other dogs show their teeth. Why they don’t like it, I really don’t know. It must be because they’re sensitive somehow (sense the irony?).
So, we end up pulling out our dogs with a leash and avoid the others miles away because their owners don’t care to walk them with a leash. Maybe it’s trendy, modern hippie way of felling liberating owners or something, but it sucks for everyone else’s who is trying to be civilized.
To explain a little better what our concerns are: what we’re afraid of is not that our dogs end up hurt. Well, yes it is at some point. But most of the times, we are afraid our dogs end up trashing the “brave” little ones that come unaware of the peril. Both of my dogs are somewhat old with 12 years each and mixed, but they’re really big and strong. They don’t play when it comes to a fight. You can see some pictures here.
That’s why I’m so angry at this point when I see this happening every day. Their owners argue that they don’t hurt anyone (remember that I’m repeating this??), they socialize well with other dogs and they need some space to run freely. Humm…
Maybe that’s why I’m encountering a bunch of loose dogs with a collar but without anyone in sight keeping an eye on them. When we look a bit around we end up seeing the most likely owner tapping their smartphones and completely absent of where they are. It’s just plain stupid. It’s not only because of my dogs. They could end up being runned over by a car or even fall into a building hole (there’s plenty around I live now). It’s just pure careless.
One of these days we were returning from a great walk at a nearby park through an air pass way. My dogs were tired and just wanting to get home when we encountered two loose dogs in our way. Since it was an air pass way we didn’t had any alternative besides keep going or going back. We waited for those dogs owners to come by and he finally did. However, when he called them back to place a leash on them, they didn’t listen and one of them started to reach out to one of mine and show his teeth in a clear sign of aggression. It was a question of seconds before mine responded and grab his throat. I was holding him with a leash so I was able to pull him back and yell at him to let it go, but the other one was completely loose and tried to come again after him in revenge. Again, this was a complicated situation since if I hold my dog down the other one will take advantage of him and get his bite, if I don’t hold him, he will kill that dog. The other dog’s owner was a complete useless just yelling his name and not taking any action. Messy situation, right? Well, that’s what happens when we let your dogs loose when they don’t have any training.
Funny thing about that? It was my dog that was referred as the bad one. An older couple was looking to our dogs in fear because they’re bigger and with leash, so they assume they’re dangerous somehow. And they are, if they are messed with. However, even today, they were playing with a toddler who they didn’t knew before and licked his cheeks with a loveable display of care.
Since I really care about my pets, they are always on a leash for their safety and others. The only time I let one of them loose is when I’m completely sure there’s no one around and I trust he will come when I call him. Why can’t other people do the same? Why they don’t care about their pets if they’ve chosen to have them.
One thing is for sure, when this happens, it takes a huge strong will to avoid let them loose and let them do whatever they want, but it’s not those dogs fault. It’s their owners. And since I can’t ask them to bite those assholes, I sure will try to do my best to avoid hurting them.
If you’re really a dog lover, train them or put a leash. Otherwise, if my dogs end up hurt because of your careless, you’ll be answering to me… personally.
Too strong? Good. That’s how much I love my dogs.