Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Open Letter

Dear Sir,

I am writing to apologize for any insult or injury, however unintended, which I caused you this morning. You see, my elderly canine companion, though sweet-tempered with humans and felines of all ages, is dog-aggressive, so when I walk her in public places I am very cautious about diverting her from other dogs. This morning, as you rounded the path at our local park, I was sure to move her off the trail and toward the pond, allowing her to sniff at some bushes out of sight of your sweet little dog.

Since your dog was off leash, I naturally assumed that, as you were disregarding the posted leash law, you had good verbal control. So, when I looked up and saw him or her leaving the trail and trotting toward us, I called out to you.

Often other dog owners assume that I'm worried about their dog's behavior, when in fact I want to avoid causing others any distress that might result from Maddie's vigorous barking. (She's not so big, and I use a pinch collar with her, so she's fully under my control. However, the barking can be alarming to others and a bit embarrassing to me.)

Thus it's quite possible you thought, at first, that I was concerned about your dog's behavior. However, I'm sure s/he is really quite gentle and inquisitive and simply wanted to meet us. It's just not a good idea.

So, when I called out to you again, more vigorously, I was simply wanting to protect your dog. That's when I realized that you had your cell phone headset on. I apologize for interrupting your music or conversation--I'm sure that between my loud hail and Maddie's barking, it was difficult to hear what you were listening to.

That said, I'm not sure I merited being called a "bitch" in this situation. After all, I really went out of my way to avoid this situation in the first place. Nor did I suggest (okay, yell) that you leash your dog until after you called me that. I hope that my outburst didn't ruin the rest of your walk.

It certainly ruined mine. And to the nice man who saw me burst into tears a moment later, I'm okay, really. It was just too early in the morning--and before my coffee--to deal with rude people! And I do feel some guilt about not having done a better job more fully socializing my adopted stray.

Undoubtedly, my sister will remind me that being called a "bitch" is actually a compliment, albeit an unintended one!


Chris Geyer said...

Lesson number 3,289 in why schools still need to teach manners, awareness, and social skills.

I'm continually amazed at people's cluelessness, self-absorption, and general rudeness.

Candace said...

You were far kinder than I would've been under the circumstances. I have been known to scream (yes, scream) "Get your dog" followed by "Get your damn dog". I have dogs who are happy to meet strange dogs, I have dogs who would like to eat strange dogs, and I've had a few who are terrified of strange dogs. That's why we have leashes. Sometimes the pinch collars belong on the clueless owners.