03.11.05 | Comment?

I need to rant a little about something.

I realize that not everyone is a dog-lover, or even a dog-tolerater. Some people out there really, really dislike dogs, and while I absolutely cannot understand that, I acknowledge it and accept their position.

HOWEVER. Dogs will continue to be part of other families, whether or not the aforementioned people like it, especially if one chooses to live in a neighborhood with fenced yards. It’s just a fact of suburban life. Part of being human is adapting to the environment in which we are placed. So if you’re one of these crazy, yes I said crazy, people who hate dogs, here are some tips for you. This may seem callous, but I really don’t care if a dog mangled you as a child; these tips apply regardless. I’m sorry it happened, but more than likely, you did something to provoke it.

1. Dogs in general are NOT out to get you, especially the one that trots up with a ball in his mouth. He just loves people and wants to play. Now I know if it’s a large dog, you may be scared, but avoid the instinct to run and scream; this will only excite the dog. He will think you are playing, since kids scream when they play, too, and he may chase you. Instead, either

a. throw the ball for the dog and walk away,
b. stand still, or
c. calmly and quietly walk away.

This is common sense. If you’re a parent, for everyone’s sake, teach your children this tactic. While you’re at it, teach your kids not to lie, because apparently that’s a fairly big problem with some kids. My dog, and most other non-rabid dogs who have not been specially trained to kill, are going to respond favorably to any of these actions. Unless they’re police dogs and you have weed on your person.

2. Consider getting to know an animal or a person before making hard and fast judgments. If you see a dog, for example, playing perfectly well with other people, entertain the possibility that he is not a bad dog, and you might have fun playing, too. Maybe your fears are irrational. We’ve all tasted spoiled milk, but does that stop us from drinking all white beverages? No. We sniff a dairy product if we’re unsure, determine whether it’s okay, and go ahead. Again, if you’re a parent, teach your kids to be cautious with animals, but not pathetic little weenies who pee themselves when something furry comes within 50 yards of them. You owe them that much.

I take responsibility for my large yellow dog. Yes he’s big. Yes he can be an oaf. But he didn’t hurt you or anyone else. When he is authorized outside our fenced yard, I will accompany him, and he will be on a leash. But dogs get out sometimes. And sometimes kids dart into the street in front of their neighbors’ cars, giving their neighbors heart attacks, even if you’ve taught them otherwise. Though my dog has brought joy to many a person, young and old, has never bitten anyone (play-puppy-bites excluded, of course), has never acted maliciously to any living thing, and is probably a safer playmate than most other children, I will respect the ridiculous fears of the minority. And if anyone poisons my dog, I will see him in court.

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