Monday, November 13, 2017

Who Let the Dogs Out?


Call the Dogs In


Walking on a fine white sandy beach with the emerald Gulf of Mexico waves lapping at my feet, I was suddenly attacked by a large dog. I shouted at it so it did not actually jump on me, but it was an assault because I feared for my safety. The dog’s owner, a middle-aged white male, had the leash in his hand and managed to call the dog back to him as he walked by. He turned and said “sorry” but made no move to put the leash on his dog. I looked back with an angry glare. He said “don’t look at me like that”. Well, what did he expect? I continued on my way and passed a young girl with her family. She was throwing an orange plastic bone in the water for their dog to retrieve. When the dog saw me, he started to move out of the water towards me, but I was far enough away not to be disturbed by it and the girl got his attention back. However, a short while later, I came across a couple also playing fetch with their dog that was less attentive. This time, the big dog bounced out of the water and straight over to me even though I was walking away from the shoreline to avoid him. Again I had to shout for the dog’s owners to get it away from me.  Walking away again, I then came up to a lady taking a photograph of the beautiful view of the Gulf, clouds and setting sun and she turned to me and asked if I’d seen her dog. She said she couldn’t find him. This all happened within fifteen minutes on a beach that requires a license to walk a dog on it and that the dog be on a leash at all times.

I like dogs. A lot of times when I meet someone with a dog, I admire and pet it. But dogs are unpredictable and bite people. There are many legal cases to this effect. That is why they all have to get a rabies shot and be licensed. I’ve had dogs jump on me with dirty wet paws and ruin my clothes. They have scratched me while jumping on me. A big dog could knock an old fragile person over and break a bone or two. And that’s friendly dogs. A couple of days before this, I was walking along the access way to the beach and several people were congregating with two very large dogs blocking the passage. I managed to walk past but one of the dogs growled at me.

One problem is that most people think that their dog is friendly. Is it friendly to ruin clothing, scratch and startle strangers? I seem to attract dogs like mosquitoes. But of course, I’m not the only one with these experiences. I count myself lucky because I’ve never been bitten by a dog, may my luck continue.

It is touted that dogs are good pets and good for people, but are they? Do they not necessitate bringing out negative personality traits in people such as controlling behavior and selfishness? I often hear dog owners telling their dog to shut up. That’s another problem - dogs barking at people or just barking and disturbing the peace. Is it a good situation to keep these animals in the artificial, confined environments that the owners live in and feed them an unnatural diet? I was once accused by a dog owner of being selfish because I do not have a dog or even another person to care for. I think that is twisted logic.

Another problem is that dogs piss all over the place. At least people, for the most part, remove their dog’s pooh, but not always. In campgrounds and other semi-natural settings, it can really seem weird when people are trying to reconnect with nature, but the grounds are being used by the many dogs as a dog bathroom and it often smells like one too. Not to mention how dog walker’s become nosy and look into everyone else’s business.

I spoke to a camping neighbor a day before the beach incident. He had a large terrier. I petted this dog and talked to his owner for a while, even shook the dog’s paw. Well, later that day, I went to the bathhouse and this camper’s dog was in a station wagon car parked near the entrance. When I walked by, the dog barked ferociously, and ran back and forth in the car banging into the windows and scratching them. Needless to say, I was grateful that the windows were closed. Whatever happened to our making an acquaintance?

Where did all these dogs come from? All sorts … from large and small to in-between. The dog food industry is a big one. And lots of dogs take medications in addition to the shots that all dogs must get at least once a year. Have people been duped into this dog ownership fiasco for big corporations to make more money?

Goggle it for yourself:

Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs. Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.” And dog bites include mauling, lifelong disfiguration, and even death.

“In 2017, a total of about 89.7 million dogs lived in households in the United States as pets. In comparison, some 68 million dogs were owned in the United States in 2000”. Of course, most dogs do not bite people, but excluding attack dogs, who is to say which ones will bite in any given situation?

Many thanks for the use of  the dog smile photo to the Jacksonville, Florida Dog  Bite Attorneys, http://www.jaxlegal.com/jacksonville-dog-bite-attorney/. Injuries include emotional trauma which I suffered even though I did not get bit. But I let it go, this time. There must be enough people being bit by dogs for attorneys to specialize in it.