Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Puppy Journals: what's wrong with your dog?

It turns out our white-knuckle fear that we were doing everything wrong in the first few weeks of puppy ownership may have paid off. When Omar couldn't go outside yet because he wasn't vaccinated, we made it a point to have as many of our friends over as possible to get him used to people. We enrolled him in a puppy class ASAP so he could socialize with dogs in a safe setting. And now, when I walk him, often to my chagrin, he walks directly up to strange people and dogs and sits, shivering with anticipation for the undoubted shower of love that's about to be poured on him. More often than not his expectations are met.

There are those times, however, when they're not. I understand that not everyone loves dogs*. I understand that many dogs were rescues, and may not have the best background. But I have a hard time believing that that could account for the number of dogs who get pulled away from Omar because they don't know how to behave. The best way an owner can handle this is to look at me shamefacedly and say "sorry, she doesn't do very well with other dogs." Good. You should feel ashamed. That's like going to Applebee's with your screaming, tantrum-throwing feral child, looking at the table next to you and saying "sorry, I didn't do a very good job of this." Own it. And thank you for at least vocalizing it.

But you also get other owners, like the Jabba-esque woman this morning** who herded her dog into a corner while eyeballing Omar with fear and wagging her finger at me. Not good enough. I suppose the equivalent would be bringing that same feral child to Applebee's, then giving nasty looks to the well-behaved children next to you looking at your poo-flinging progeny in abject horror.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.

*Like the psychic across 9th Avenue who sits at the curb in the evening, asking passers-by if they want a reading. Sitting makes you an Omar magnet, so of course when we walked by once he went right up to her feet and stared at her, waiting for adoration. She curled into a ball and said she really doesn't like dogs and please take him away. I apologized and moved along. It wasn't until later that I realized I should have said "I don't like charlatans and liars, and you should have seen us coming. Deal with it."

**Think Rubenesque, but with more slime and a Kowakian monkey-lizard on her shoulder. You know, Salacious Crumb. Sigh. The cackly thing that hung out with Jabba.

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