Spoiler alert: This will be a series.
I had finally made time in my schedule to drag Ewe off to get a bath.
Rather, he finally stunk enough that I was sick being knocked back with stench when he bulldozes his body (with ball in mouth) in my face anytime I’m closer than usual to dog-level. Don’t judge me. We’ve had a nasty wet muddy winter.
We picked a slow time of day on a Sunday evening to avoid idiots and be able to get in and out as quickly as possible since I no longer have the luxury of my own backyard bath station and have to use pet supply store self-baths. We take our time walking to the shop, allowing Ewe ample time to adjust and pee before the torturous bath was to begin.
He knew what was coming. Each bush became more fascinating than the last the closer we got to the front door.
“COME ON EWE.”
*Stares from random passersby who think I’m referring to them*
Closer to the front door, I spot someone inside with a dog. Not ideal, but whatever let’s just squish to the side. Hopefully, that will make it obvious we have no interest socializing. Although I generally think the look I give is sufficient. We’re at the door. You see us. Literally there’s no fucking way you don’t see us. You are 10 ft. away from the dog and the dog has his face smashed into the door. On a Flexi leash. Of course it’s on a flexi leash. While you stare from the dog to us and back to the dog- a dumb smile spread across your face.
So I stand there at the other side and wait. Understanding finally dawns on you when you realize we still aren’t entering.
“Oh, come on now so-and-so get out of the way.”
Yes. Please, so-and-so. Get out of the way because obviously that isn’t a leash attached to you which allows the buffoon on the other end to reel you in. This is totally your choice whether to “get out of they way” or not.
We enter. Ewe is on my right so I can keep myself between him and the flexi couple. And then I hear the familiar click and unreeling of the flexi. The dog who was 7ft away is now closing the gap very quickly. I push Ewe practically into the crowded shelves to get him out of the way and create more space while mentally cursing you from here until next Tuesday.
“Oh come on now, get back over here..”
YOU unlocked the flexi. I HEARD you do it! What the f&%k?! Are you that dense??
So-and-so starts to growl at which point I’ve had enough of being quiet and playing nice and I ask him to reel your dog in- mine isn’t friendly.
So then I get a rude face and you drag the dog back looking at us as if Ewe is now plagued with some disease (other than Squirrel Brain) Yeah, dude. Last time I checked your dog was growling at mine. And you let your dog approach without asking. AND you’re using a flexi leash.
Or how about when I’m holding on to 4 dogs (2 of which are reactive) and some “well meaning” person *cough* IDIOT ASSFACE *cough* decides to walk off the trail (you know, where you’ve gone to get out of the way of other people/dogs) and lets their dog walk right up and into us without batting an eye like this is a totally NORMAL and acceptable form of behavior.
“OH SAY HI TO THE DOGS”
And put your crabby ass face away when I yell at you (since you’ve caught me off guard trying to make sure I DO indeed have a hold of 4 leashes in my hand) “NO THEY’RE NOT FRIENDLY!” Because you, sir, are in the fucking wrong.
And now Ewe is bark bark barking. Again.
I wish this occurred less. I really do. But I am not exaggerating when I say the majority of people who have dogs let their dogs walk up to who they want- whenever they want. Without asking. Without checking to see if it’s OK. Without even noticing if YOUR dog is really totally approaching that dog with friendly intentions. Yes. Seriously. And still to this day people walk up to people with dogs and bend down over them and lavish them with touching and cooing baby voices. Just because you have a dog too (or did, or wish you did, or whatever your personal sob story you’re about to tell me) doesn’t mean my dog and I don’t deserve some space or respect.
Just because someone also has a dog doesn’t mean you’re both in the same club and we can treat each other like close friends. If you wouldn’t walk right up in my face because we have similar hair colors and start sniffing my ass, give my dog and I the same respect! What you’re doing isn’t cool. And if you don’t care who approaches you and your dog- good for you. But I do. And a growing number of people DO. People who are working with their dogs. Or want their dogs to learn respectful greeting skills. Or people who have dogs that are over-stressed in what would be a “normal” situation. Or perhaps they’re just snobby bitches and don’t want to associate with you. It doesn’t matter WHAT the reason is.
When you’re out walking with your dog and you encounter people who pull to the side, or walk across the street, or who walk into the grass and/or are making any movement to indicate they do not wish to be in your obvious way- respect that. Respect them. Take your face out of your phone and pay fucking attention.
A simple “can my dog say hello?” (before, you know, approach us) is all I or anyone asks. It opens up the conversation where I can politely respond with a yes or a yes with a condition. OR a no. It is 10000% OK for me to say no and that’s that. With a small effort of courtesy, we can both make the interactions between our dogs a much better and more enjoyable situation. And I won’t want to beat you with the closest thing I can grip my hand on.