Thursday, June 03, 2010

Certain fear

I'm pretty good about handling fear. I can usually dismiss it and move on about my day... but there is one fear that is driving me insane.

A dog attacking Chase.

Not ours of course... Riley doesn't even attack flies (oh how I miss Scout).

I am fearful of a pit bull, rottweiler or any other large breed aggressive dog.

I have such a fear about this that I rarely go on a walk around the neighborhood with just Chase and I. If I do go on a walk just the 2 of us, I am always planning which car I will use as our escape. Pickup trucks are my friend when we walk. I almost never strapped Chase into a stroller for fear that getting him out would be too time consuming. I don't like to buckle him into his wagon (but the little booger does that himself now so I don't have a choice). I spend most of the time scanning the scene and listening for every single noise that I miss the fun part of the walk... Chase.

I have seen at least 2 pits in this area... both off their leash one time or another. Next time I see it I am documenting it and calling it into animal control.

About a month ago I opened our garage and was walking to the car with Chase when I saw a german shepard looking dog just hanging out in our front yard. Not on a leash or anything. I immediately pulled Chase to my legs, my forearm acting as a death grip seat belt across his chest. Finally after scanning for a few seconds I see the neighbor 2 doors down. She comes over and starts calling the dog... who then promptly walks away from her.

Calling her name = complete disobedience.

The neighbor starts telling me that she is a rescue and will not come back if she calls her (begs the question why she called in the first place). She is apparently mistrustful and scared because she was treated badly by her previous owners.

So you have a large dog that you let roam free who is mistrustful of humans and you have no way of getting her back until 'she comes back on her own'?

Well thanks for that neighbor.

Did I mention they have a gated back yard?

I was so stunned by the whole encounter I all but ignored her comments at the time... only after hours of stewing did I have any kind of question or comment for her. I wish I thought quicker on my feet.

Twice since then I have heard her calling for another one of their dogs "Here boy, are you hun-gee?"... all in an attempt to lure that dog back in the house with food. Not only do I not want to leave my house, I don't even want the windows open. Hun-gee? Seriously?

I mentioned before that 'of course' I wasn't scared of Riley but in reality, that isn't true. Riley is still a dog and I am still cautious about how Chase interacts with him. I try to instill in Chase that Riley is a loved member of the family and we should not do anything mean to him. I do my best to never let Riley and Chase alone in the same room without me there. I still test Riley when he's eating to be sure he won't snap at me. And if Chase is giving Riley a treat... I am standing right there in case Chase tries to move the treat he just gave him (in an attempt to be helpful but I doubt Riley sees it that way ;~) All that to say that I know my dogs cues... I can see when he's getting upset (hardly ever) and I do my best to mitigate the problem.

When it comes to other peoples dogs... I have no idea. One of the pits in this area spends at least 90%, if not 100% of his time outside. And Adam has seen that dog off his leash. That can't be a good combination.

Every other day I read/hear about another attack... each one more devastating than the last. I actually heard of one mother retrieving her gun and shooting the dog that was attacking her child. I am not a bear arms kind of person but kudos to that mom.

What unnerves me most of all is the careless attitude by the owners. People let their dogs bark for hours on end without any thought to the neighbors. People let their dogs (doesn't matter the size or breed) run up to complete strangers unleashed... when they have no idea the fear that person my have about dogs. People smile and say "Oh don't worry, he won't bite" which is usually the last thing you hear before you get bit.

But in the end, the owner doesn't matter. The dog does. The dog is what does the damage. And the dog is what scares me. And by "scares me", I mean what terrifies me to the depths of my soul.

If I have struck a nerve with you... well there isn't a whole lot I can do about that. These are my fears and thoughts on the subject and there is precious little that will change my mind. I hesitate even writing 'precious little' as I truly think there is nothing that will ever change my mind about certain dogs... but I hate to speak in absolutes.

I'll be buying some pepper spray/mace soon. Maybe then I will feel confident enough to walk around the block with my son.


Vicki said...

I was thinking "pepper spray" the whole way thru your post...glad you eventually got there yourself. We don't leave home without it. Thank God I've never had to use it. I can only imagine some people's reaction to it but, hey, they need to contain their animals.

Anonymous said...

I understand. I am an animal lover extreme, and I understand. No animal should be in a residential neighborhood off a leash. No questions. No exceptions. Even if that animal does not present a threat, it can scare someone and effect their quality of life in a neighborhood. All animal owners should understand and respect that.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

We have such strict laws in our town, I never even hear a dog. In our old neighborhood, the people behind us had a rottweiler who could jump the fence and he would actually *growl* at me and my son when we'd get out of our car...I made sure to hustle inside ASAP. It's a shame when you can't even enjoy your own yard for fear of dangerous dogs.

Insung said...

Oh Jessica, I could write and write about dogs being off leash and people saying "don't worry, he is friendly". I am sorry to hear all about this! Personally, I don't mind pit bulls or any large dogs at all. I have 2 big ones—both rescue dogs— but I never go for a walk with dogs and my girl at the same time, because there is a chance that I could meet unleashed dogs on the way. I understand your fear. All dog owners really should understand how others feel too.

chocolate hug said...

I have to say that I too get a little, okay very uncomfortable with people who have their dogs off a leash. I won't go into the details, but when I was nine I got attacked by three dogs all at once. It was only by the grace of God that I had only a few deep wounds. Dog owners without children don't get it. When Sam's in his stroller and I see someone walking their dog towards us I calculate in my mind how far away I have to be from that leash before the animal can no longer reach any part of my son. So when I see someone walking their dog and tightening their leash when they see Sam I am sure to thank them. You're not alone in your fear...and I'd say report your neighbor with the rescue animal. It's illegal after all, and not safe for anyone in the neighborhood.