Archive for March, 2009

Sweet Sixteen?

March 29, 2009

I have this drinking ritual. But it’s not how it sounds.

At about mile six of a hilly eight mile run, there’s a place where I can get water. And Stella can too. In fact, in the middle of a beautiful Redwood grove, there’s a drinking fountain and a metal dog bowl. Bliss.

While we were headed to the bowl this morning, a bike rider came up. He was exhausted and exhilarated. Stella played with him on his bike with such joy I figured she’d be better off going home with him rather than me which is often times the case on outings.

In the meantime, I went over and filled the dog bowl up with fresh water. A few minutes later, Stella came to get some.

At about the same time a woman and her two dogs—a small black and white terrier and a shepherd looking dog also approached.

Stella had taken two gulps of water when the little black and white dog nosed in. Stella air snapped the dog twice. And the dog went away. To me it was a four second doggie version of, “wait your turn.”

I didn’t think too much of it but did say, “Eh, she can be a little bitchy.”

The woman then said, “My dog is sixteen.”

At first I thought it was an odd non sequitur. I then thought she was trying to say, “Here it is. My dog is sixteen and he still can’t keep his head out of the dog bowl when there’s another dog there.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The woman came up to Stella, pulled her off the bowl and said, “Get outta here you bitch. You *are* a bitch you know.”

She looked up at me and added, again, “My dog is sixteen.”

The guy on the bike and I just looked at each other like, “WTF?”

The woman went on to yell more at Stella for being a bitch and at me for allowing such behavior in a dog. She called me the dog’s “mom” which I always find a little cringeworthy too. I’m her owner. I love my dog. But Emma, a large black Greyhound now living up in Seattle, is her Mom.

Anyway, the woman then reminded us all again that…you got it…her dog was sixteen.

Uh, can anyone explain what her dog being sixteen has to do with anything? And if being sixteen was relevant, how were we (me and Stella) supposed to know? And really, who’s in the wrong here? Is it Stella for telling the dog to wait its turn? Or her dog for nosing into the bowl when Stella was drinking? From what I can gather, the dogs got it all figured out. And the only thing that felt really wrong was this woman’s behavior.

But instead of dissecting this in front of her. Instead of defending my dog. Instead of wanting to throw the bowl of water in her face for being so reactive and nasty, I said as cheerfully as I could muster, “Thank you for your advice. I really appreciate it.” ‘

And, as I was jogging off, “Have a great day!”

At the bare minimum I should have given her the Southern version of Eff You which I’ve come to learn is: “Have a blessed day.”

Hey. I’m open to being educated. Should I have thrown Stella down for TeethFacing a dog who went into the bowl while she was drinking? She didn’t hurt the dog, the dog got the message and waited, it was all over in four seconds or less. But still, I am open to seeing where my dog needs improvement. Just not from someone who shoves my dog, calls her a bitch and screams at me. It may be normal for dogs to growl, grunt and on occasion teethface. But that’s just no way for a human to communicate let alone educate.