Monday, December 01, 2008

People, and the Dogs That Own Them.

Sometimes I fantasize during long runs. Of course, I'm doing much more trail running lately, so what I'm experiencing has changed my fantasies somewhat. Here is a few of them:

Fantasy #1.
I'm running along nice, wide trail, when a dog comes running up to me. It nearly trips me by running up to me and jamming his nose in my crotch. He's not on a leash, even though we are in a city open space where leashes are required. Their owner comes into a few seconds later, calling out, (somewhat impotently) Now, BOYD, stop that.
I reach into the refrigerated bag I've brought with me for one of the objects inside, and fling it at the owners face. It hits his cheek with a splat, sliding down slowly and dropping onto his shirt. HEY, WHAT THE HELL?!? he screams.
"It's a cat hairball," I explain. "I figure that if I have to put up with your pet's behavior, then you should put up with mine. I'll meet you by your car in an hour so I can claw the crap out of your upholstery."

Fantasy #2
In this fantasy, I'm running along nice, wide trail in Sandia Wilderness area, when a couple of dogs come running up to me, and I nearly trip over them. They are not on leashes, even though we are in a national park. I point this out to the owner, and she puts them on leashes. Although annoyed, she is adult enough to recognize that it was she, not I, who ignored a posted rule, so she doesn't scream, hiss, call me names, call me a dog-hater, or insist that I should be on a leash. We exchange pleasantries, and go our separate ways.

Fantasy #3
A man/woman is running along behind their dog, who is several hundred yards ahead, chasing squirrels, other runners, etc. A ranger comes along and writes the man a ticket for ignoring the posted leash rule. The owner decides to fight it. He gets Judge Judy, who says, "So what are you bothering me for? You chose to ignore the posted rule. Leave me a alone, and pay your ticket."

(Notice that in none of my fantasies are Mr. Doggers hurt. I don't believe in hurting animals; they are being themselves. Nor do I fantasize about bad pet owners being hurt.)

Fantasy #4
In this fantasy, I'm running along nice, wide trail, when a couple of dogs on leashes come running up to me with their owners. We exchange pleasantries, and I ask if I can pet their dogs. I rub Mr. and Mrs. Doggers behind his ears, but not too much, because I'm allergic. We go our separate ways, the owners happy because it's beautiful and they're outside and they won't have to worry about Doggers bolting and possibly scaring up a bear or mountain lion, and the dogs happy because they've been taught to live within boundaries set by their owners. I'm happy because I wasn't tripping over someone's dog going down a steep and rocky trail.

Fantasy #5
Two people are sitting in their living room. "Hey, I'd like to let Mr. Doggers run free today," one of them says. Since dogs are required to be leashed due to a county ordinance, they work together to find the locations of city parks or private land where that is allowed. I never see them, or their dogs, that day, because they made the responsible choice not to force their pet ownership choice on other people by breaking rules that they don't like.



  1. And then there's the fantasy where the dog owner snaps that "Runner on one side of the trail and dog on the other with leash making a tripwire across the whole darn trail is just SO not nice." Corrections are made and runners smile at beautiful healthy dog out for a romp with a thoughtful owner. :-)

    I'm not much of a dog person, but a well-trained and polite animal always gets a big smile and a petting session from me, if situationally appropriate. And service dogs ROCK!

  2. Yes! I never appreciate a dog coming up to me while I am running. I especially despise when they are off-leash and the owner doesn't even bat an I am supposed to like their dog running up to me. I always want to say "I don't send my kids across a trail to hang on your legs and slobber on you- get your dog on a leash!"

    A couple of weekends ago a big yellow lab was way ahead of its owner and approached the kids. Evie of course screamed. The dog came up to me and brushed up against my leg and left a big slobbery puddle dripping down my pant leg. Evie said, "that is disgusting!" The owner called the dog and had heard E say it was disgusting. She half-way offered up a tissue that she may or may not have had in her fannypack. As we continued walking (because WE MOVED FOR THEM) I noticed another slobbery mess on the back of my pant leg. It was really gross.

    So many pet owners feel the leash laws shouldn't apply to their pet.

  3. "Notice that in none of my fantasies are Mr. Doggers hurt. I don't believe in hurting animals; they are being themselves." Oh Geekgirl, I love you!

  4. Wow,
    those ARE fantasies!

  5. How about the one with the two huge "mushers" that lead (er, pull) the obviously-not-athletic woman across the finish line in a 5K race in just under 18 minutes en route to the first place medal.

  6. I have a fantasy where other dog-owners actually clean up after their dogs. That way, when we're walking with our kids and our dog on a leash, we don't step in a another dog's pile of poop in the middle of the trail. (only the dog has a leash in this scenario, our kids usually don't need one)

  7. I have no problem actively admitting to being a dog-hater. i also have to admit to owning a dalmation that my wife had since before she met me 12 years ago. This dog digs up plants in my garden and poops in my kids sandbox. Your crocopuffs link is dead on. I don't like seeing people enslave dogs for entertainment purposes. And it makes me sad to see people who replace children with dogs.

    But not following the leash laws or poop laws is completely unacceptable. nothing ruins a nice long run like stepping in dog poo. nothing ruins cutting the grass in my backyard like stepping in dog poo.

    great post!

  8. This reminds me of one time when I was hiking - backpacking, actually, miles away from a trailhead. A white pit bull came barreling down the trail towards me. She was thrilled to see me, and I started petting her. Her owner BELLOWS from the up the trail "DO NOT TOUCH HER." I assume he didn't want to reinforce her approaching people but... my problem? No. I didn't ask to be a tool of your training regime. Also - leash?

    I also remember (yeah, now I'm full-steam-ahead here) how a group of dogs used to bark and chase me when I was running when we lived in NH. I knew I was reinforcing their instinct to chase by running, but I was miffed that the owners has made the situation my problem, especially in a town with a leash law (I even called the PD to check). One time one of the owners even came out to call his dog (impotently, I might add), and never apologized or even recognized that I has stopped running and was standing in the middle of the road to facilitate his getting control of his dog. So I started carrying pepper spray. One squirt was all it took!

    NB: I adore dogs.

  9. Fantasy #5 for the win! Personal responsibility!

    Luckily for me, Chicago has Dog Beach near the lakefront, where dogs can run free, away from the human runners on the lakefront path...and people in my neighborhood seem to be good about leashing since we are in an urban jungle with lots of cars.

    But Fantasy #1 also tickles my funny bone. I have extra hairballs, if you need any!

  10. ::sigh:: If only I could run in the Bosque without being chased by a leash-less dog...just once!

  11. I've had really good luck squirting dogs who chase me on my bike with just plain water. Seems to startle them. I haven't tried this while running yet.

  12. Some of my worst running memories involve dogs, so I'm with you on this. And I'm a dog owner. It just ticks me off when people don't take responsibility for their pets.

    This applies at the dog park too. It's even worse there!

  13. Thanks for the smiles this morning. I absolutely love dogs, but I've got a few fantasies of my own, one of which involves finding the dog owner responsible for my last dog-induced injury and getting them to pay for 10 year of chiropractice and daily massage :-)

    The worst is the leashless dogs just yards away from the dog park!


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