Running with my dog Wrigley is one of my favorite things in life. Having a large dog to run with also has the added bonus of giving me that false sense of security that bad guys will leave me alone. I like to imagine if you're a bad guy in the park looking for a target you probably won't pick the chick with the big yellow Lab, unless you have Snausages in your pocket. Or maybe just threaten to make eye contact with her and talk in that baby-talk voice, which will have her telling you my Garmin watch is worth a lot of money and that I keep a spare twenty in the key pocket of my running shorts.
In all the years I've been running, I haven't run into much trouble with people. But other people's dogs. Those off leash dogs. The dogs whose owners let come barreling at us from out of nowhere with perhaps a wave and a shout from fifty yards away, "It's okay! Fluffy is really friendly." Don't get me started
Once on the cement pier at North Avenue Beach, Wrigley and I were cornered by two dogs that came at us with our backs up against the frigid water. I've asked people nicely to please leash their dog when we've gotten close. I've tried to avoid off leash dogs as best as we can. And still, I'm the recipient of the annoyed looks.
It's human nature, I suppose, to presume that everyone is like us. And therefore it would be human nature too, to assume that other people's dogs are like ours. My dog, always on a leash, will pass within a hair's breadth of your dog on a leash without so much as even turning her head. Yeah, she's that well trained. And it took a lot of effort on my part to get her there. But when your unleashed dog comes chasing after her, watch out. She will defend herself and there's not too much I can do to stop it if you can't pull your dog off of her. This is the part of running with my dog that I hate. The part that gets my heart rate up in a manner not of my choosing.
When I reply to the, "It's okay! Fluffy is really friendly!" with a fartlek and tug of Wrigley's leash in the opposite direction of their projectile canine and the words, "Yes, But my dog's not!" (which isn't entirely true, if both dogs were off-leash at a doggy park, they'd get along great) I get the hateful, angry stare, like, How can you bring your unfriendly dog out in public? It makes me want to scream. And so, sometimes, I do. Depending on the size of the oncoming dog, I will scream, "My dog. Will eat. Your dog." And if that doesn't solicit a reaction, like it didn't last Thursday to the owner of the little yippy Shih tzu that took-on Wrigley, I will sometimes add, "In one bite."
"Okay, okay," came the annoyed reply, in that I'm disgusted with you because I'm breaking the law tone of voice.
Seriously. Sometimes it all makes me want to scream. And just let my dog eat your dog. In one bite.