Men Who Walk Their Dogs Without Leashes

Men Who Walk Dogs Without Leashes

Here we are on a lovely Sunday out for another perfect walk. Stanley is feeling pretty frisky which is a good thing considering he spent the first two years of his life “on the street”! My son makes fun of me when I say that but I think it’s true after looking at his medical records from the shelter where we adopted him. He was a complete mess: inside and out. I love Stanley very much and want him to have a gentle life with me all the time.

For this reason and because I have spent a few hours inside the local animal emergency clinic, I believe dogs should be on leashes when being walked within their community. Here’s why I think this way! During one visit to the clinic about a month ago there were three dogs waiting to be seen after being bitten by “friendly” dogs who were unleashed in their neighborhood. The dog owners were in shock as they had witnessed in all three cases a violent attack for no apparent reason on their dog by another dog who had always acted in a benign manner. One of the dogs didn’t make it. He was old and the trauma just finished him off. The owners, both in their eighties, were devastated.

So every time I see a dog off leash near Stanley and me while we are out walking I ask the owner to restrain their dog until we are out of sight. Most of the time the owner does what I ask but they always look annoyed at me for asking. I don’t really care how they feel. All I care about is Stanley feeling safe.

This morning a funny thing happened. As we were walking up a very narrow series of steps I noticed a man with two large, unleashed dogs coming down the steps towards me. I called out to him asking, ”Will you please put your dogs on leashes?”

He responded by saying, “ Why do you want me to do that?”

Now I found this answer so confounding I didn’t quite know what to say. It was obvious why I wanted him to leash his dogs as they were already growling at us yet this dog owner was one of the angry group of mostly men who walk their dogs without lashes.

These men are mostly old, seem very hostile and apparently have a testosterone problem. It’s as if they are saying to the world “look at the incredible control I have over my dog! He doesn’t even need a leash!”

We have several of these men in our neighborhood. I feel sorry for their wives but at least they are not out walking ten feet behind them with downcast eyes! Or maybe they have no wives. They need to feel powerful so they can be assured their dog will always do exactly what they say and never revert to being a dog. The trouble is their dogs on occasion do not obey them at all. They linger and growl in the street while the angry men continue on refusing to acknowledge failure by turning around and calling the dog to their side.

This morning the man coming down the stairs waited until the last minute to hold onto his large dogs and I realized I knew him! I informed him that not leashing dog was against the law. He responded by saying “Oh come on, just get over it!” in a rude voice.

I introduced myself to him stating that we knew each other and he continued to be rude. Actually the good thing about being me is that I immediately forget all bad things people say to me immediately after they have been said. This is a very useful skill to have in life and I recommend it.

I saw that the man looked like an elf and not in a good way. He wore his hair in a swoop over his forehead as men do who are losing their hair and his ears were large and pointed. His eyes slightly bulged out of his head but he was definitely not wearing green. He seemed to walk with a step that looked like a skittering spider. I think at this point I began to have some compassion for this elf/man creature. I walked on hearing him continue to complain behind me.

Here’s what I think. I am going to get a large dog catcher net which telescopes into a small package. I will carry this on my walks with Stan and when I encounter a man walking a dog without a leash I will use my large net to capture them both and return them to the dog park down the hill where the gate can be locked from the outside.

Imagine a collection of men like this locked in with their dogs and see if you don’t think this is entertaining. May the best dog/man win!

Hybrid Drivers: Angry or Not?

Hybrid Drivers: Compassionate or Insane?

So every morning Stan and I go for a two mile walk long before most normal folks have even batted one eye. It’s really lovely here by the bay and one can hear many sweet, early morning noises. I used to listen to the news on my IPHONE but one day the battery died and I realized it was much nicer to hear only the natural noise of the neighborhood. We walk up a long set of stairs about half way through the walk and Stanley tries to delay things by pretending to have to pee or sniff the very important grasses along the way.

At the top of the stairs there is a fairly busy street that runs across Sausalito and up to the highway. The street is narrow and it is difficult for two cars to pass one another due to this narrowness as well as the cars parked on the side of the street. As we walk along this street we often pull into a small space between the parked cars to allow a car to safely pass us. I hear the cars coming and usually find a place to pull into with Stanley as I find it safer for both of us.

Now I think of myself as a patient person as well as one who tries to be courteous to others but these days I have noticed there is a war starting in our neighborhood. The hybrid car drivers are really angry and have no patience at all. I noticed this a few years ago on the highway when I became aware of the speed and aggression of Hybrid car drivers. It actually frightened me. So I began to hypothesize about why this was happening. Did the bulk of hybrid drivers buy the cars because they wanted to save money on gas? Did they buy hybrid cars because it was better for the environment? I really don’t know the answer to these questions but I do know that for the most part hybrid car drivers are really pissed they are in these cars in the first place and seem determined to show the rest of the world how aggressively they can drive and how fast they can go.

The other morning Stanley and I were honked at by a hybrid driver who had silently driven up on us and even though we were within our rights to be walking on the side of the road, the driver apparently felt we weren’t giving her enough attention.

The honk was really loud and made both of us jump. I turned, startled by the noise and thinking there was a real problem, only to see that this woman wanted to go even faster than she had been and I was delaying her by seconds by walking my dog around a car.

Now I am perplexed. Isn’t part of the thinking in having a hybrid about being environmentally aware and isn’t sound a part of that awareness?

Isn’t there another solution? Like rolling down her window and calling out,” Excuse me, please?”

The one thing I have managed to maintain (knock on wood!) in my old age is my hearing and those hybrids are really quiet! If I were driving one I would worry about honking at people at such close range thinking I might hurt their ears or be bothered by my rudeness.

The last time something like this happened a young man honked at me and I shouted out at him, “That’s very rude!”

I know, I know. I should learn to just ignore these people but I can’t because I think they have no idea what they are doing.

This young man stopped his car and asked me what I had said which was very strange as I know he heard me. Perhaps he wanted to become belligerent with a 5’5 inch 120 pound lady walking a beige Chihuahua who is really a mutt but is so much more! In any case I said that he would probably have a heart attack if he didn’t learn to calm down and become a more patient driver. Then I told him meditation might help and that there was a class in the evening right down the hill.

He sat there in his car with his mouth open and then just floored his gas pedal and shot off into the morning. You can’t tell me these folks are happy.

So here’s what I think. I think the hybrid drivers are sheepish about their cars and want to prove to the world how powerful they are both mechanically as well as spiritually and they are unable to do either.

I will never drive a hybrid car as I would never progress beyond my own driveway. I like to make a lot of noise when making an entrance!