Niki (left) and Phoenix right) and I take a rest on the beachfront during Saturday’s walk.
Well, another weekend over! Thank goodness! This past weekend was rainy and dull, migraine making weather really. I dislike rain immensely, so I had no fun at all, and yes I got the migraine too, double whammy! Migraines aside Niki must go walking, so yesterday we set out to head for the beach. It wasn’t raining when we left, nor did it look as if it might any time soon. Boy was that deceptive! Normally when we set out on our beach walks with Niki we head through the downtown core before heading for the beach. Yesterday was no exception.
Niki likes to meet new people and I like to accustom her to the normal goings on in the community, so it is never a problem to walk Barrie’s main street, and we do it on a daily basis. Niki has even made friends with some of the local people on the street and greets them all with a wag of her tail and a kiss. Those that know her love her, those that don’t avoid the big bad “pit bull” as she walks docilely down the street.
Yesterday however, it began to rain before we reached the beach. Looking very much like drowned rats, we headed for home before our full route was walked. Thankfully the weather was much more accommodating this morning! We made the full beach walk route without even the threat of rain, and what an interesting walk it was too! It is funny how in the space of a one hour walk, you can meet dog owners that get it, dogs owners that don’t get it, and dog owners who just don’t care! Let me explain…
As I said, Niki and I took our regular route which takes about an hour to complete. We were on the last stretch of the beachfront part of our walk when we met a family of five and their two dogs going the other way. I can never resist a puppy and they had the most gorgeous little Belgian Malinois, so of course I just HAD to stop and talk. Imagine my surprise when one of the parents took the middle son to task for reaching out and touching Niki without asking my permission! You just KNOW I almost did a happy dance right there on the beachfront! What was this? Parents who ACTUALLY took the time to teach their children the proper way to approach a strange dog? Had I just been transported to the perfect world without my knowledge? Usually it was ME telling kids to stop running at my dog while parents stood back and scowled and muttered about people who don’t teach their dogs properly!This was definitely NOT what I was used to! But it was refreshing! Finally, dog owners that “got it!”
We talked for a while and I commended them on their attitude towards kids and dogs, and told them that I wished more people took the time to work with their children on approaching strange dogs the way that they had. We parted ways and Niki and I headed for home, the family in the back of our minds, and perhaps a little faith restored in the human race. That renewed faith lasted for a whole two blocks, then we ran into Grandma and her elderly Schnauzer.
What is it with old ladies and their small breed dogs? You could see from a distance that this dog was going to be a problem to pass. It was straining at the end of it’s leash already trying to reach Niki when we were still half a block away. The closer we got, the more frantic it became, and the louder it got. Niki, God love her, showed no reaction to the crazed Schnauzer. She simply tried to walk past the dog without acknowledging it’s behavior. That is when the little dog lunged at her, and it’s owner made no attempt to stop it. The little Schnauzer bit at Niki’s ankles, Niki growled to warn it off, and the old lady went bananas! She started yelling about how I had no right to own such an aggressive dog, and how she was going to report my dog to authorities for being aggressive. She even added that she was glad my dog would be taken from me and killed because “people like me” had no business owning “dogs like that.”
As you can well imagine, this angered me to no end! MY dog was aggressive? “People like me.”? Dog’s like that? What on earth was this woman talking about? MY dog was the one her dog had attacked! If there was a problem here, it started with her, not me. Niki is a perfectly socialized dog who ignores everything that normally distracts most people’s dogs. She walks past cats, kids, yapping dogs, and loud people without so much of a turn of the head, but this woman was labeling her as aggressive for growling a warning?
Well folks, I probably shouldn’t have, but I got ANGRY! I told this woman that if she had socialized her pet properly with other animals it would not act in an aggressive manner towards them. I told her that if she did not treat her small breed dog like it could do no wrong it might actually behave properly in public, and I told her that if she took off her rose colored glasses, she would see it was HER dog that was the problem and not everyone else’s. Needless to say, I left her muttering about other people’s dogs, and that big bad old “pit bull” that should be killed. Yep, another dog owner that just doesn’t “get it!” Oh well, for five minutes I got to think the world might actually be changing. I was about to find out that wasn’t the case!
About two blocks from home we came upon another dog owner and his dog. The dog was an elderly Shepherd, and it was leashless! Now I understand that some dogs can be walked off leash successfully. They are well trained and obey their owners every command. That still doesn’t make it okay to dispense with the leash!
In just about every community in Canada there are by-laws that state you MUST leash your pet in public. In some cases specifications are made as to the length of the leash you may use to do so, but nowhere that I am aware of is it legal to walk your dog sans leash. There are many reasons for this by-law, but the main one is the safety of both your dog and the public.
Yes I know Fido is such a good dog that leashing him seems ridiculous, but that does NOT circumvent the fact that leashing is the law. Nowhere in any by-laws I have ever read does it say that leashing your dog is a SUGGESTION, or that it is up to each individual owner to decide whether or not their pet needs a leash, by-laws simply and plainly state ALL dogs MUST be leashed in public unless in a designated off leash area.
So I asked this guy if he realized that there are leash laws in our town. His response shocked me, he actually said “Yes, but they don’t apply to ole Henry here! He doesn’t need a leash, he is properly trained unlike your dog who clearly needs to be leashed, or you would be walking her without one!” WTF? Seriously dude? Umm, NO my dog is not leashed because she NEEDS to be, my dog is leashed because it is the LAW! If it weren’t the law I would have no problem taking her out without one, she IS an amazingly smart dog. I know better however, I am a RESPONSIBLE dog owner! So, I told this guy he just simply did not care about his dog, I mean if he did wouldn’t his dog be leashed? After all it is the law, and like it or not responsible pet owners abide by the law! This guy is way past not getting it, this guy just simply doesn’t care! It’s owners like him who make life with dogs difficult for those of us who take dog ownership seriously!
Our hopes of new enlightenment for the masses dashed, Niki and I headed for home. We decided we would concentrate on thinking about the bright spot in our morning walk, the young family trying to teach their children proper animal care and approach. We would forget about the misguided and the stupid, they would still be there tomorrow. For now we are just stoked that our message is getting through to parents! Hopefully this means good things for the future!
Have a great day everybody!
Peace, Love & Freedom for Pit Bulls,
Janette & Niki