Big Dog Blues

I called my mother yesterday to wish her happy birthday. She told me that last Friday when she was out walking her two poodles, Amy and Crissy, a big dog ran through an open gate and attacked Amy. It got her by the throat and tried to shake her to death. Mom said it took the owner and another person walking by to open the dog’s mouth enough to free Amy. Amazingly enough, after stiches, Amy’s going to be fine.

Today when I went for my walk in Powder Valley to enjoy the fall color (photos a bit later), a couple and two large dogs entered the trail. One of the dogs saw me and started growling. Since it wasn’t leashed, and was closer to me then its owner, I was beginning to wonder if this would a case of Amy redux, but the dog didn’t attack.

Powder Valley isn’t a park. It’s a nature preserve and study center. Last week during a twilight walk of the trail I was able to meet up with deer not once but many times, in some cases only 7 or 8 feet away. One reason I can have this experience is that dogs are not allowed — dogs bark, they chase things, and, occasionally, they kill things.

I told the couple that dogs weren’t allowed, and they ignored me. However, after my insistent third repitition, the woman finally looked at me said they wouldn’t let the dogs hurt anything, and kept walking.

Uh huh. Right.

I hoofed it up to the center, found one of the employees and told them two big dogs were running unleashed along the trails. Last I saw, she was heading for the trails. Very unhappy.

I love dogs, I really do. You’ve read in this weblog about my walks among the dog people in San Francisco, and I considered the experience a high treat. However, the beach there was an open and unleashed dog area. In addition, the dogs there were very sociable — they didn’t go up to strangers and growl at them.

However, in Missouri I’ve twice encountered big dogs running unleashed that have come up to me and growled. And I really don’t care if the owners yell out, “It’s okay, they won’t hurt you.” A growling dog is a dangerous dog.

The dogs are just being dogs. But there’s no excuse for the people. Dogs should be kept on a leash except in areas where dogs are allowed loose or in your own yard.

I know that many folks don’t like poodles, and I’m normally not a poodle person. But my Mom is rather attached to that little ball of fluff. And what if Amy had been a little two year old kid? A dog that will attack another dog can as easily attack other creatures, including humans. They need to be controlled.

And since this is a weblog, might as well mention cats. We have what is called a “bird friendly” cat. This means Zoe stays inside. We make sure she gets plenty of playing time, but we won’t let her outside. I learned the lesson about keeping my cats inside when we came home one day and I found my beloved Twirp by the side of the road, dead.

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