I'm not really a dog person. I get along with dogs but I will hopefully never own one. I am a cat person.
In the last place I lived, our landlords had three big dogs. The one dog was older and had some emotional issues (yes, really) but he was a great companion and watch dog. He was well behaved and only wanted to be loved. And yet he was the most ignored. The two younger dogs were ill-behaved, jumped up on people, barked at and chased anything that moved, and shat everywhere. It was nice to move away from there, as our current laundry room has no dog smell.
Just about everyone here has at least one dog, so we stand out a bit. I'm finding myself in the company of dogs fairly frequently but most of these dogs are well-behaved. Every so often, though, I am present when something unpleasant happens and my thoughts about dogs (or perhaps more appropriately, dog owners) turn a bit sour.
Case in point: I went to the beach with some friends the week when it was really hot here. We met up with some of their friends and a few of them came with their dogs. One dog shat on the beach, and instead of picking up the poo in the little baggie, the owner simply buried the pile.
Now I don't know about you, but if it was an ocean beach, I wouldn't kick up a fuss. The tide would come in and wash it away eventually. But this was a lake beach where children play and people walk. Take your shit with you. I'll say the same about cigarette butts.
The other night Dan and I were eating dinner at the picnic table on our front lawn. Sam (the kitty) was outside with us, sitting under the truck. These two women with a stroller and a fairly large dog walked by and the dog, excited by the sight of the cat, started to bark and chase after her. Kitty ran away, no harm done. The dog was on a leash so no big deal. But then the owner took the dog across the street, sat him down, and started talking very sternly to him. Well that's nice to see, I thought, good discipline. And then the dog yelped because she hurt him. This is where I got irritated because this seemed to me like abuse and totally unnecessary. I thought okay, the dog gets that he did something bad, but did you you really have to hurt him?
While even though I'm not overly fond of dogs, I abhor the sound or sight of an animal being abused. You bet I will come to the rescue of any animal in peril. I now started to feel sorry for this dog because he was in pain.
Should I have said something? It was enough that the enjoyment of my dinner was ruined, I don't know what to do in situations like these. I expect the response to be something like "mind your own business" since, in my experience, dog owners (like smokers) are adamant and assertive about their right to own a dog or be a smoker. Like these things somehow give them more privileges than those of us who aren't dog owners or smokers. I'm not much for conflict, so usually my response is to say or do nothing. I call it 'choosing my battles' but maybe it's that docile Canadian in me.
On my way back from the library just now, I heard a dog barking somewhere in the neighbourhood, and he sounded like he was in pain. (All dogs are males, in my mind, like all cats are female, just so you know). Again I thought "should I investigate? What then?" Was this animal being neglected? Was he strangling on his leash? I hate the sound of barking dogs because it means that the dog is either not well trained or neglected. I don't just mean a bark here and there, but constant barking. Again, in the last place we lived, the neighbour's dog barked incessantly and it was enough to drive one crazy.
In contrast, there are something like three or four dogs living next door to us (I'm sure I've mentioned this before) and we didn't even know for several weeks because they are so quiet.
I know there are a lot of responsible dog owners out there, so I hope if you are one of them that you don't take offense to what I have written here. I just wanted to put it out there that even though you love dogs, especially your own, that not everyone does.