Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Which a 40-Something Woman Develops a Fear of Dogs

I've ridden my bike once since the accident. But that was definitely a "getting back on the horse" type of experience. Walking has simply seemed like a less risky form of exercise. Because if an unleashed, unpredictable dog can step into the path of your bike once, it could certainly happen again.

Tumbling over the handlebars of my bike and into the grassy shoulder of the Pirate Park path after t-boning an energetic Labrador left me with nothing more than some barely brag-worthy road rash. I didn't even manage an impressive bruise, although these 40-something bones were achy for a good week.

And while a very small part of me felt vetted as a biker, the bigger part of me didn't want the uncertainty of the "dog factor" again. And so now I walk. And I feel great. Unless an unleashed dog happens to show interest in me. And they have shown interest in me. Maybe because I'm moving so quickly, or maybe there is just some animalistic need to smell me. But they sometimes get right up in my business and I have to swerve or slow down or risk getting my legs tangled up with dog legs and once again, ending up on the ground at the expense of an unleashed dog.

I never noticed how many dogs go unleashed until my tumble. In fact, I barely had the dog/leash/owner on my radar. I was in the zone and paid attention only long enough to navigate around them as I biked or jogged or walked by.

Now, when I see a dog loping ahead of their owner, my survival instincts kick in. "Potential threat at 12 o'clock," I seem to hear from the far corner of my hypothalamus. My body prepares to evade the four-legged free-spirit while I start to steam passive aggressively: Clearly societal rules apply to everyone except you and your dog, I think. Apparently, your dog is perfectly capable of forgoing millennia of inbred animal instinct to not chase something that moves. Undoubtedly, you've decided to agree with your dog, that you are indeed some kind of all-powerful deity and have no need for silly, mortal, Pirate Park path courtesies.

Is it so hard to hold the end of a leash in your hand? Try having it around your neck, Narcissus.

And it's so cute how you think shouting, "He's friendly!" should be enough to calm any and all distress; that you think runners/bikers/walkers have just been hoping a friendly dog would approach them to play while they try and keep their heart rate up and burn calories so they can enjoy a couple cookies later in the day. (Okay, five cookies.)

Newsflash: If I wanted to play with a dog, I'd have one of my own.

And most importantly, he'd be on a stinking leash.


That's cause I'm good with a Lego said...

it is extremely rude for a pet owner to have their dog off lease in a public area. Anything with a mouth can bite and yelling "he's friendly" doesn't mean squat. A friendly dog can bite. Frankly it's irresponsible for a pet owner to allow their pet to roam unleashed. Ok I'm done ranting.

I-Shüan Warr said...

I can't count the number of times leash-less dog owners have smiled and said things like that while their dog is in a frenzy running around. Grrr. Once we were getting into our car after running in Forest Park and a dog ran over to Ryan and started sniffing him and trying to jump into the car. The owner was just watching and laughing (and not making any effort to restrain the dog) and said, "Oh, look! He thinks you're his Papa!", while she watched the loving exchange. How cute. It's times like these that a citizen's arrest could come in handy.

Betty Grace said...

Amen! Pet owners live in a world all their own!