While this applies to people considering parenthood, too, for this post I am talking about dog owners. I have taken up running. I’m training, it’s not easy, and I don’t like it. I have a specific route mapped out through the wooded trails in my area, and right now I’m trying to go a little further along before I turn around each day. I run past a lot of the same people every run, most of them with dogs. I see one elderly lady nearly every single day with a giant german shepherd. The first time I saw them, I was apprehensive, thinking, I’m way too out-of-shape to outrun a shepherd. However, as I nervously neared, the large dog aggressively... stopped walking and sat down. He is a well trained dog. I have since said to the lady (panted, really, since I’m running), “I love how well-trained your dog is - that is wonderful!”
On my route, at a specific fork, I have always gone left. I didn’t even know where Right went. I could see up both sides of the split for about 30 feet. On this route the other morning, about 20 ft up the left side of the split, was a woman in a bathrobe with two small dogs on those extend-a-leashes. I hesitated, but I didn’t know where Right led to, so I went left. The woman started to rein her dogs in, and they started barking like mad. I’m nearly on them, and when I’m just passing them, one of the dogs makes a lunge for me. I yelled out “Hey!” at the dog to stop it, and kept running. She shouted after me, “You could have gone the other way!”. Since I don’t like running, or mornings, or people in public in bathrobes, I wasn’t feeling particularly kind. Otherwise, I may have ignored her. However, I replied without thinking, “I have a route I run! You should have control of your dogs!”. I was out of her sight by then, but be-bathrobed lady shouted back (loud enough for me to hear over my audiobook (about corpses)), “I have a life!”. I was furious. I stopped and bellowed back, “If you can’t train them, you shouldn’t have them!” (although this was said in 2 or 3 bursts, because I was gasping heavily).
I quickly realized that bellowing at a stranger was not the way to handle the situation, but now having cooled off, I feel I had a valid point. This woman expected people in publicly shared places to take alternate routes to avoid upsetting her dogs, which she can’t be bothered to train. People like this should have their pets taken away, and go through mandatory training with the Dog Whisperer until they prove competence. A couple of minutes after that encounter it was time to turn around and head back. I was hoping that since it was chilly and she was in a bathrobe, that her dogs would be back inside by then. As I neared where we had intersected, I saw her still there. I decided I didn’t want any more shouting (hear or do), so I backtracked, found where I thought an alternate path joined up, and took that. I rounded a corner, and there was Ms. Bathrobe and the rabid miniature dogs. She gave me a dirty look, so I said, “Seriously? I went the other way! I was trying to give you a break! Geeze. Sorry about the shouting, hope you have a good day.” She tried to yank them off to the side, and I tried to go around them without kicking them (although I was sorely tempted), and I went on towards home. I blame the extra breath I wasted communicating for why I had to walk for a minute on the way back. I’m sure the breath was a complete waste, too, because somebody wandering around public places in a bathrobe, with two animals who think they own the world on 15’ leashes, who thinks she has a life and so doesn’t need to train her pets - she can just buy them and keep them from pooping in the house, is not the sort of person who would consider the benefits of training her pets, or appreciate any sort of apology. I would love to stop and chat with her about the shepherd I run past who just sits and watches me go, or even the man with two little dogs on the 5’ leashes that he can easily herd off to the side when I pass, but I’m sure she would think they don’t have lives. I’ll just pray it’s a fluke that she was on the path at that time of the morning, and that I’ll never have to see her or her bathrobe again.
I hesitated to post this because I'm rather embarrassed that I bellowed at a stranger - so do you have any stories of where you flew off the handle?