Thursday, February 3, 2011

When animals attack!

While out for a walk tonight, we were attacked by a dog.
No one was bitten. I don’t think the dog even intended to bite. But he was a Golden Retriever, not a small breed by the usual standards, and when a dog that size suddenly barks and lunges at you on a dark street, you pee your pants a little bit.
This canine was leashed but it was one of those extendable leashes, and the owner had it played out to maximum, so when the mutt came at us, his human handler wasn’t anywhere near close enough to leap in and take the beast by the collar to keep him back. Instead said long-distance owner gave a hearty chuckle and called out, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite!” (I view this blithe assurance with the same degree of cynicism I would treat the statement of some stranger informing me that their friend won’t actually stab me, he just likes to carry a knife.)
He didn’t pull the leash in or make any effort whatsoever to control his pet. Instead he just jauntily strode by, talking to his dog in an annoying baby-talk. “Oh, why do you have to be so friendly, you big guy, yes, you, you’re a friendly one, aren’t you.” (Ugh. That sort of talk is one small step from doggie sweaters.) From his tone and demeanour we were left with the distinct impression that he was of the opinion that we were over-reacting and shouldn’t have flinched away from his slobbering precious.
Of course we were. After all, “he doesn’t bite.” What a silly statement issued with delusional confidence. The best a dog owner can ever truthfully say is “he hasn’t ever bitten yet.” Anything more is a bold-faced lie. All dogs bite. They bite each other when they play, they nip at flies, and they’ve even been known to take a chomp out of their own poop from time to time (yes, what a noble creature).
There are plenty of dogs I would trust to rush at me and not fear that my calf muscle would end up as a nice light snack. But when an unfamiliar dog comes for me, I don’t appreciate the cavalier attitude of the owner in question. Even if he doesn’t give a fig for me personally (and why would he, I don’t like his dog!) he should have a care for his animal. If the freak chance becomes a reality and his dog bites someone, he’s legally liable and his beloved pet faces the possibility of death by vet needle. Anyone who would baby-talk their own dog would certainly be heart-stricken by such an event, so take some care, Mr. He-Doesn’t-Bite!
And if he thinks I wouldn’t try to have a dog that bit me put down, he deeply underestimates my sense of vengeance. There are humans I would have put down if it were legal (come on, admit it, we all would), so I wouldn’t even blink at a dog.
The real lesson here is that dogs shouldn’t be allowed out of the house. And probably neither should I. (You know, I bet that same dog is the one that peed on my snowbank the other week, too. He looked about the right size. Wouldn’t that be a coincidence? Coincidence... or a systematic attempt at harassment, there’s no way to be sure.)

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