Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pet Peeves

If you were reading my blog about 5 months ago, you were introduced to the unholy terror known to those who love him (do such people really exist?) as Jack Jack (I shortened his name to Jack in the last post), the dog with no control over his bodily functions or his compulsion to frolic in the trash. In those 5 months, he has not seemed to learn anything.

Several times a week, I come home to garbage strewn through the house, poop on the floor, knicknacks knocked off the shelves, sometimes broken (he climbs like a cat, but he's a lot less graceful about it), and, always, a cowering, quivering dog somewhere in the vicinity of ground zero.

Jack Jack cringing in anticipation of his tongue-lashing
Jack Jack begging for mercy
His terror of being yelled at trumps his excitement to see me, so he no longer approaches me eagerly and pees on my shoes, but that same terror usually causes him to pee wherever he is currently located (usually on the couch) instead. This is not an improvement.

I have become quite irritated by this whole state of affairs. After all, it was Al's decision (without any consultation with me) to bring the dog into my house, yet it is I (being the first one home every day) who always has to deal with the messy consequences. So after months of getting progressively angrier every time I found a mess, now when there's a disaster in the house upon my arrival, I've taken to calling my boyfriend home from whatever he's doing (usually hitting the gym) to clean up after his dog.

I don't think anyone would be much surprised to hear me say that I'm not feeling particularly charitable to the canine species at present, but I've just recently realized it's not just dogs that are a thorn in my side; it's dog owners—or maybe more specifically, dog walkers.

Allow me to explain. Every day, I ride my bike to work. I don't like to waste time, so I travel as fast as I can pedal for the entire trip. My speed is not usually a problem to other people. The trail that takes me most of the way to the office is a nice wide paved route with a yellow dividing line. When I pass other bikers or pedestrians, they generally let me by without complaint. But the dog-walking-crowd—they're just a whole breed apart.

The only times I've ever taken any flak while riding my bike, it's always been from some high-strung woman walking a dog. Once I passed a dog-walker from behind (on the opposite side of the dividing line) and got screamed at: "You're supposed to WARN people when you pass them!" Another time, I came down a hill right where the bike trail intersects a street, and a dog-walker approaching the trail from my left yelled at me: "Slow down!"

Call me insensitive, but I don't feel remotely guilty about either of these incidents. I was riding my bike on a bike trail. Yes, it's open to pedestrians as well, but if you're going to be walking on it, you should expect to encounter a few bikes, most likely doing what bikes do—which is move faster than you and your dog can do on foot. I don't get all bent out of shape and start shouting when I have to brake because somebody's dog is taking up the whole trail, even though it's clearly divided into two lanes; and I think it's reasonable to expect dog walkers not to act hysterical because a biker comes near them moving fast.

To be fair, this has only happened two times, but one bad experience can color your opinions forever! And right now, because of these two incidents, my opinion of dog-walking-ladies is that they are a bunch of overreacting ninnies.

So to recap, and so as not to let my rant go to waste, a moral! The lesson every dog owner can take away from this post is: if you want to own a dog, then be prepared to accept the consequences of owning a dog. Don't move your dog into someone else's home and then expect them to clean up after it all the time. And if you don't feel comfortable walking your dog around people on bikes, then don't walk your dog where there are people on bikes! That's easy!


Jackie said...

Bikes have right of way in Amsterdam...in fact a lot of the places we visited...or at least we dared not walk in the path of a bike. Many places had bike paths with a lane for those walking. Still...a few close calls for us silly Americans who wandered into the bike lanes.

Cesar M. said...

I think you are taking the right approach with Jack Jack. He doesn't seem to be house trained, so now you have to train his owner.