Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Animal instincts

 Dear neighbor with the pit bull,

I am mad at you. Very mad at you. After all, it is your fault that I did not log the miles I had so hoped on Sunday morning.

I was running on a glorious fake winter day, courtesy of a gracious husband who took my toddler shopping for the holidays. I had set out with a loose plan of 5 miles but I felt good, and it turned into 6 miles then a 10K. I was on track to hit the 6.2-mark at my driveway when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw your stupid tan and white dog.

Your dog might be a nice dog. He might not be the pit bulls you hear about on the news, the ones who attack small children. But that's not a reason to leave him untethered and otherwise uncontained in the front yard. He barks - loudly - and runs the length of your property, obviously indicating his territory and, more than likely, his intention to protect it.

And it scares me. A lot. So much so that I fear running past your house will only further excite the dog and incite a fight. When I see your dog in this state - we both know this isn't the first time - I stop my MOTOACTV, slow to a walk and chalk up the run as done.

Even if I don't want it to be. Like Sunday, when I ran an asinine 6.14 miles.

So please, please, please stop being a crap and put your dog in the fenced back yard. The one I know you have.

Yours truly,



I like to believe I'm a good dog owner - I exercise Denali, give him good food and make sure he doesn't stink. I am forgiving, though, as I know things happen. You know, like a bored dog sneaks out the front door and explores the neighborhood for two hours. My runs lately, including Sunday's almost 10K, though, have left me with a few pet peeves.


1. No matter how well behaved/trained, a dog can and will leave a yard if given the right motivation. Shock collars and invisible fences are not fail-safes either. It is not wise to just leave your dog running around with the expectation that a) he will stay there; and b) no one will get hurt. Also, any passersby will not be hip to your dog's awesome abilities to stay in a yard and might be frightened by an exhibit of territorial rights. Example: A fancy house in a nearby fancy neighborhood has a Labradoodle with an invisible fence. The dog is nutso and runs the length of the entirely too big yard yard at Usain Bolt pace and I nearly crap my pants every time.

2. If you can't control your dogs around other people/animals/fire hydrants, find a place to exercise them that doesn't involve those things. On Sunday's run, again, Denali and I encountered a man riding his bike with three dogs. THREE. He was on the sidewalk, coming toward us, but went to the street to give us room. The three dogs were in the park strip, going absolutely insane as we passed. Again, near crapping of the pants. I was worried not only for my safety and Denali's well-being but that of the cyclist. They surely could have pulled him over and thrown him in traffic. Some might call it Darwinism but I try to be protective of my fellow man.

3. Retractable leashes are the dumbest things ever. Don't use them. Seriously. They don't offer any control over your dog, and your dog doesn't need to walk 20 feet in front of you. Unless you are having a quarrel but that's another story. If your dog needs that much room, go to the dog park or buddy up with someone who has a fenced yard.

4. I might get flak for this but oh well. I can't let my dog be an "outside" dog so you shouldn't get to make your cat be an "outside" cat. If you do, and my dog lunges for it, knocking me to the ground, and eats it ... well, not my fault.

Have you had any frightening animal encounters? What are your pet peeves?


  1. I've had a few times where I'm running with headphones on, a car comes up, passing me from behind, and a dog barks out their window. I don't hear the car, but I hear the dog, and it makes me literally jump. I think I'm about to be attacked.

    And yes, aggressive dogs (or those that appear aggressive) shouldn't be behind invisible fences. And if you have an invisible fence, you should have a sign that says so.

  2. Every dog encounter is a frightening encounter for me.

    I am deathly afraid of dogs. I always feel like the dog is going to stop whatever it's doing and try with all it's might to attack me. Irrational? Yes. But very real.

    With my friends who have dogs, I try to remember to just be calm, let the dog sniff my leg/hand whatever, and just try to ignore it. All while my heart is pumping, hands are sweating, and throat is tightening.

    Fun. Times.

    Pet peeves?
    Dog owners who don't realize that people are afraid of dogs. Yes, your (general, not you specifically) dog is beautiful but I don't want her jumping on me!

    Or dogs that don't walk their dogs with a leash. Scares the crap out of me.

    I do appreciate a good dog owner- one who has trained their dog very well and tightens up on the leash when a stranger walks by.

    Thanks for being a great dog owner!
    (sorry for the novel LOL)

  3. As a dog owner I agree full heartily. My dogs are expected to be well mannered and are very trained, doesn't mean I will let them loose in the front yard. I also get out of the way when kids or runners go by so that they won't fear my dog at all, even though neither one of my dogs have even the slightest interest in runners. I am respectful that not everyone is a dog person and that some runners have had bad experiences, because I know I have.

    I can't stand ill trained dogs, or not having an adequate fence for your dog so I can't take my dog for a walk because your dog can hop the fence if it wants to and attack my dog. I can't stand dogs that bark and almost take the fence down, my dog is not allowed to even think about it, she can tell me if a person is approaching her fence but she can't try to take the fence out.

    I hope your neighbor puts the pit bull in the backyard.

  4. I am a dog lover, and am not fearful of them at all, but I HAVE been forced to reroute runs by territorial dogs running loose. They (2 dogs) actually cornered me on the street and wouldn't let me go any farther - not that I wanted to at that point. I never ran there again. Unfortunately, this is a reflection of a poor dog owner. NOT cool.

  5. I find it completely irresponsible for people to leave their dogs outside unattended and uncontained. Early this year a dog that was left loose in it's yard jumped a fence, barreled quite ferociously across the road after me and was hit by a car. Thankfully it did not die but I nearly had a heart attack. First out of fear for myself and then watching the dog get hit by a car going 40 mph. It's quite annoying and I hate that people take for granted their dog is behaving. They are DOGS for crapssake.

  6. I love dogs and am not afraid of them but once I got bitten by a dog on a leash! We passed on the sidewalk and it did not show any signs of agression, but just nipped at me (and broke the skin) as we walked by. The owner on the other end of the leash barely apologized. LOL on not being responsible if your dog eats a cat. There's a cat that likes to torment our dog by coming into our back yard ...

  7. I think this is a start.. but maybe a very nicely worded letter or visit to the neighbor with the unattended dog? I was angry/frustrated/scared about similar dogs right by my house and did nothing... just stewed over it, and then they killed a dog in front of my own eyes.. you can read about it on my blog www.roctherun.com if you really want... My advice.. before something bad does happen, is try talking to them.. I wish I had.

  8. This is what happened to me on Saturday... and I was freaked out. Even if your dog is nice, that doesn't mean I am not scared of him approaching me, unleashed!