No Borders On That Lady’s Crazy

, , , , , | Learning | May 10, 2020

I’m a teacher and I have a dog, an eleven-year-old border collie. At my old school, I am allowed to bring him once a week for an after-school club for the younger students, who loved learning about how to raise and take care of a dog, teach him tricks, etc.

For my new job, I had to move to a different city. Luckily, we found an apartment just at the outskirts of the city, in a more suburban area that is surrounded by nature. On weekends and holidays, my dog and I often see families with younger children on our walks. Sometimes the children, especially the smaller ones, want to stop and pet my dog. I allow it if their parents are fine with it and the kids are not too wild, as my dog is very gentle, mild-mannered, and used to children and doesn’t mind the extra attention.

It’s a nice, sunny Saturday afternoon and I am taking my dog for a walk. We are outside of the city’s boundaries where dog owners are not required to leash their dogs and, as my dog is well-trained, he is off-leash. 

We are on a narrow road between two fields and he is a few meters ahead of me checking out an interesting spot. I see a woman with a small child, maybe two or two and a half, approaching. The mother is completely absorbed with her smartphone and doesn’t pay attention to the child, who is happily wobbling along the narrow road.

I immediately call my dog and he turns around and comes to walk by my side as we get closer to the mother and her child. Suddenly, the child notices my dog and, with excitement all over his face, starts stomping towards us as fast as his little feet allow him to. I tell my dog to sit because I don’t want him to accidentally bump into the child while moving, causing the little one to fall down. I try to get the mother’s attention as she still hasn’t noticed that her child is rushing to greet a stranger’s dog.  

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am… Hello? Your child is approaching me and my dog. Ma’am?”

The mother still doesn’t look up from her phone. Her child has now reached us and, unable to evade, I try to get his attention.

Me: “Hey there, buddy! Do you like dogs? If you’d like to pet him, we have to ask your mother for permission first.”

The child just utters some excited gibberish and attempts to pet my dog. Unfortunately, he is kind of uncoordinated and rough and ends up basically slapping my dog in the face. I politely explain to him that he has to be more gentle while at the same time looking at his mother and trying to get her attention.

Finally, the mother manages to get her eyes off her phone and looks up to find her child now trying to hug my dog. 

Woman: *Yelling* “[Child], do not touch that dog! Get away from that dog now! Do not touch him!”

She turns to me, still yelling.

Woman: “What are you doing?! Get your dog away from my child! Now! Get him off my child! He is attacking my child!

At a loss for words, I turn around to see the child clinging onto my dog with both arms around his neck, looking at his mother in shock. My dog, also starting to get upset, has started panting, but otherwise hasn’t moved even the slightest bit. 

Me: “Ma’am, I assure you, my dog has not and will not harm your child. If you could just tell your child to let go of him—”

Woman: “GET HIM AWAY FROM MY CHILD OR I WILL CALL THE POLICE! HELP! THIS DOG IS ATTACKING MY BABY!” 

I try to speak to her a few more times, but to no avail. She just keeps screaming at the top of her lungs while standing in front of us. Since I can’t seem to get her to calm down and I am worried that my dog might try to get away from the screaming woman, causing the child to fall and get hurt, I turn to the child, who is now crying, to gently pry his little arms from my dog’s neck.

I’m trying to stay calm to not further upset my dog and the child.

Me: “Hey, buddy, [Dog] and I have to leave now, so you have to let go of him.”

Woman: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DO NOT TOUCH MY BABY! SOMEBODY HELP! SHE IS HURTING MY BABY! SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE! WE ARE BEING ATTACKED BY THIS WOMAN AND HER DOG!”

I just want to get away from the crazy as soon as possible, so without saying anything else, my dog and I quickly walk away as fast as we can. A bit further down the road, we meet a family of four with two young children — kindergarten- to primary-school-age — who appear to have witnessed the whole thing. I’m still a bit shaken and my dog is still visibly nervous. 

Father: “What the h*** was that all about?”

Me: *With a shaky voice* “I have no idea. My dog didn’t do anything. The child approached him and then the mother just went ballistic.”

Mother: “Yes, we saw everything. Don’t worry; you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s amazing how calm your dog was during the whole thing.”

My dog, who actually was very upset, was now whining and we could see him shake a bit. He clearly just wanted to get away as far as possible from the woman down the road who was still yelling at the top of her lungs. Her child was now sitting in the middle of the road bawling his eyes out.

The nice couple told me to go home as they would take care of the situation and call the police if she didn’t calm down soon. We quickly exchanged our contact information in case the authorities had to get involved. Their youngest child told my dog not to worry about the “mean lady.”

My dog and I hurried home where he got an extra-large chewy snack and plenty of belly rubs to calm down.

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