Thursday, June 22, 2006


In my neighborhood, we have some of those cute little paths that meander between the houses and parks and on any given day you'll see several walkers, runners, dog walkers, cyclists and the like taking advantage of these urbanized trails. This is my dog's favorite place to walk and I can tell this by the way she uses her full seventeen pounds to pull my arm out of joint just to get to this path.

Since this is a public path, there are "Walkway Rules" posted about every three feet along the path. Rule #1: all dogs must be on a leash. Fine, makes sense. It's not a hiking trail, it's not a huge state park; it's a little neighborhood walkway with a lot of traffic. Not only is this Rule #1 but those who maintain this trail believe so much in Rule #1 that they have additionally posted a second sign, solely dedicated to Rule #1. They are serious, leash the dogs. I assume this is why I've never once encountered a dog off leash. Until today.

As my dog proceeded in her daily inspection of every blade of grass lining the sidewalk, I heard another dog coming up behind us. I turned to look and, to my honest shock, he wasn't on a leash.

"Charlie! Come here!"

A guy on a bike was coming up behind the dog with a kid on a bike behind him.

"Charlie! Get back here, now," screamed the owner.

Charlie didn't listen. Instead, he and my dog sniffed butts and all seemed cool. Charlie was a Lab and his tail never stopped wagging so I really didn't have a reason to be afraid. Still, I didn't let my dog linger because even if she is friendly, a dog off leash approaching a dog on leash has potential to be a challenging situation.

The owner continued to scream and his dog finally came to him. I continued walking but the guy screaming "No! No! No!" at his dog made me turn around. I couldn't believe what I saw. Each time this guy screamed no, he smacked his dog. In the head. The dog's tail was wagging the entire time. Seeing that possibly broke a piece of my heart right off.

"What! do you think you're doing?"

He just stared at me.

"I think you heard me, sir. What are you doing?"

I really don't know where this was coming from. Who made me the patron saint of the walking path?

"Mind your own business!" he snapped.

"Sir, you made this my business."

"I was just trying to keep my dog away from your dog."

"It's not your dog's fault he's not on a leash."

"Whatever, he wasn't going to hurt you."

"Apparently your dog is not who I should be afraid of, huh?" (Boy, I have a lot of nerve all the sudden.)

"Whatever, lady. Shut up."

"Whatever, sir. Put a leash on your dog so you won't have to beat him in public any more."

And he grabbed his dog's collar with one hand, his bike with the other and walked around us up the hill. I was relieved. I don't like confrontation. Through the entire ordeal, I was quite certain the tremble in my voice was obvious. I don't get involved in other people's business, I don't tell strangers what to do, and I definitely don't open my mouth and yell at a man I don't know who could easily beat the crap out of me. I couldn't avoid it today, though. Because when you're standing there, leaning over an animal and beating the crap out of it because you are too stupid to use a leash, I have to say something. I have to.

I mean, his tail was wagging the entire time.


Sister Buckle said...


I like your snappiness under pressure. You said excatly the right stuff. Well done.

jackt said...

Nice. You should yell at people more often. I'd be too scared to.

Runner Girl FL said...

It is not that people should LIKE confrontation. It is that some know when it is just and right to sand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Whether those selves are people or dogs.

Good job being brave enough to do the RIGHT thing and not just the easy thing.

justacoolcat said...


Should I be impressed or really impressed? I'll be both, to be on the safe side.

GirlGoyle said...

Holy! You got one hell of a bark! Good for you for standing up to that jerk. He walked away cuz he was in the wrong and he knew it. Some people need the rolled up magazine on their behind more than most pets do.

Joe said...

Oh MAN! What an ass that guy is. I would have done the same thing if not more. You were absolutely right to say something to him. I can't STAND people who hit their animals. It's like the worst form of abuse. That poor dog. Hopefully his dog will turn around and bite his face off the next time he smacks it.

Have a great weekend! And bravo to you!

justrun said...

SB- If only I could always be so quick to the punch.

Jack- I sometimes wish I could.

RGF- Very unlike me, but it was necessary.

JACC- Well, it was a very cute dog.

GG- I think half (if not more) the bad stuff pets do is due to owners not thinking. I really do think we set them up for good or bad behavior.

Joe- I have no doubt that dog will react somehow.

Sizzle said...

oh my god. i think a piece of my heart just broke off reading this.

good for you!! i am SO glad you said something. i can't stand animal cruelty. poor dog!

skinnylittleblonde said...

Good for You!
Maybe next time he will be too proud/ashamed to do that, at least in public.
What's really sad is that the dog still wagged his tail, despite being beat about the head! That,imho, shows that this dog appreciates negative attention. It may be all that he gets at home :(

I have 5 rescue dogs& have NEVER had to hit a single one of them!
Love goes a lot grows.

Josh said...

Thank you for standing up for that dog!