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She’s Dogging Your Every Step

, , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: fredzred | November 24, 2022

This happened in the late 1990s. When I was younger, my mother rescued and rehomed animals as well as breeding for profit. We weren’t like a puppy mill. Most were purebred cats, dogs, and horses that had homes lined up before conception.

One of the dogs we rescued (when I was about seven or eight) was a pregnant Great Dane crossed with Bullmastiff. She delivered about five puppies not long after we rescued her. What we didn’t expect was parvo, a highly contagious illness that affects dogs and has a very high mortality rate. I can’t remember if the mother had parvo or if the puppies caught it after they were born, but out of all the puppies, only one survived: a boy that we named Tiger.

Anyone familiar with the temperament of a Great Dane will understand what sort of dog Tiger was. To call him a gentle giant is an understatement. He had the height of a Great Dane, standing at twenty-eight inches tall, with the shoulders, girth, and weight of a Bullmastiff — well over 100 pounds — with dark brown stripes all over him. To be totally honest, he looked terrifying but would sooner lick you to death than he would growl or even bark at you — not that I ever heard him bark or growl at anyone.

When I was nine, we moved to a small town with a church on every corner and a population of 2,000 narrow-minded people. We were a family of four — my younger sister, my older brother, our mother, and me — with our entourage of animals — eight dogs, two cats, three horses, and a few chickens which soon grew into a small zoo — and a family of atheists moving to a very churchy town. Needless to say, we didn’t fit in and stood out like a sore thumb.

A few days after moving there, I decided to take Tiger for a walk and have a look around the town. Tiger could be walked without a lead, but as this was a new environment for both of us, it was safer to put him on a lead. We lived just out of town along a highway — think “Pet Sematary” and the cat — so it was about a ten-minute walk to town, and after a five-minute walk up a hill, there was a turnoff to a long stretch of road that led into town.

I was halfway down the road when I heard someone shout:

Woman: “Hey! YOU! What do you think you’re doing with that dog?!”

There were only four or five houses along that road, with no traffic, so there was nobody else this person could have been yelling at. I looked around and saw a woman out the front of her house walking toward me.

Woman: “You deaf? I said, what do you think you’re doing with that dog?”

Me: “Walking him?”

Woman: “He’s dangerous! You’d better keep that mutt away from me and my family if you know what’s good for you!”

Me: “Okay.”

I continued walking. She muttered something as I walked away but I have no clue what it was. I didn’t see her on my walk back home, but we crossed paths about a week later, but this time, she was in her car and Tiger wasn’t on a lead.

I took the same path as the week before, only this time I was closer to town than our first encounter. I heard a car coming up behind me, so I went to the side and told Tiger to follow. We were walking on the side of the road as the woman came up beside us and rolled down her window.

Woman: “Put that dirty mutt on a lead right now or I’m calling the police!”

Me: “He’s fine to be off leash, and he’s not dangerous. I promise, he’s very well behaved.”

In my state and the area this happened in, it’s legal to have a dog off leash if the dog is well behaved and under control by the owner.

Woman: “He’s not fine. He’s scaring my kids!”

She was the only person in the car and I’d never seen her kids. I tried to calm her down and reassure her that he was a good dog.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but he’s a good dog. Look. Tiger, sit. Good boy. Stay.”

I walked away while Tiger sat in the same spot until I called for him to follow.

But do you think this helped to settle this woman? Of course not.

Woman: “You’d better get that dog put down before he kills someone! He’s scaring my children!”

Me: “Your kids aren’t even in your car, lady. I’m sorry but I have to go.”

I continued walking to town in the hope that this woman would leave me alone, but the lunatic followed along beside us for most of the way to town until I somehow managed to lose her by turning into a small side street. I didn’t have a mobile phone, so I stopped at a shop to use their phone to call my mum to come to get me. The only way home was the road that this woman’s house was on, and I certainly didn’t want another encounter with her again.

I wish I could say that this was the only bad encounter I had with her and other entitled people in that town, but it’s not.

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