Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dogs should be on leashes

Today, as per our new routine, the girls and I went for a walk with our dog Phibby. We got almost to the end of our street when we heard a dog barking. Most of the people in our neighborhood let their dogs out on a chain or in a fence, or walk them on a leash, so I wasn't worried. Phibby was, though--she started whining and probably wanted to go back home, now that I think about it. When we went a little further and I saw the dog, it was big and looked like a boxer. I just didn't think much of it though, because surely the owners would have this dog on a chain, right?

Nope. The dog, which was a male, wore a collar and tags and didn't appear to be neutered, ran over to us and began sizing up Phibby. She stood facing him, a stern, serious look on her face. We tried to walk by him but he began following us and getting between us and where we were headed. I had no idea if he was just playing or if he might attack, especially with the way he had been barking, so I picked Suzi up (Ivey was already in the Ergo), got my phone out, and decided to call Jordan instead of 911. After I hysterically described the dog and told him I didn't know what to do, he was totally panicked and decided he'd run to the car and drive home as fast as he could, while still on the phone with me. Meanwhile, I started screaming HELLLLP! hoping one of our neighbors would come out--preferably the one whose dog it was.

After a couple of minutes (maybe less, but it seemed like a long time) our neighbor Cindy, who is a dog expert, came out and called the dog. He ran over to her and started playfully jumping and licking as she put him on a leash. So it turns out he was a marshmallow--at least for her. We probably won't have to find out, because Cindy said she'd call the owners and she'll probably tell them their dog almost had the lady down the street calling 911. I'm still not sure if I overreacted. Seeing a big, unfamiliar, unleashed dog who won't let us pass is alarming. The collar and tags made me feel a little better because I knew he'd probably had his shots and wasn't totally wild, but I've heard plenty of stories about seemingly nice dogs who turn on an unsuspecting child. I think people should realize that if they let their dogs run loose, anything can happen to them. They can get hit by cars or, say, shot by people who really can't tell if your dog wants to play or is about to maul their children. A leash! Use one! Jordan and I are going to pick up some pepper spray when he gets off work, because next time it could be a stray dog or a crazy dog or a dog trained to fight. If I'd had pepper spray with me today, that dog might have had a face full of it.

Do you think I overreacted? What would you have done?

3 comments:

Theresa said...

oh sure, it's overreacting 'til the dog starts chewing on you or the kids!! Jesse was bitten when she was in high school by a neighbor's dog, who was just out in the yard with their kids. She was running for soccer and panicked, and kept running. We ended up at the ER, which the neighbors ended up paying for. Always prepare for the worst! You were smart to call for help!

Amber said...

We have a park across the street with a 'tot lot' playground, and people constantly let their dogs run around off-leash. It irritates me no end. I typically call animal control, and I'm not sure if they ever come or not, but I'm just trying to make sure that they're aware of the issue.

I have small children, who can behave unpredictably. I would rather overreact than regret NOT acting.

Kacie said...

I was threatened by a few territorial, off-leash dogs when I was young and it scared me so much! And I was bitten by a neighbor's dig, though not badly. Those dogs traumatized me so much that I'm afraid of most dogs except for the old, lazy ones. We'll probably never have a dog of our own.