I know you are doing the best you can with the resources you have. In all fairness, you don’t know any better. You have a dog but you put no effort toward learning how that dog lives and behaves and interacts with the human environment. You are lucky, however, as your dog was born more gentle, more forgiving, and more tolerant than many dogs. I don’t blame your dog, please know this. It is never, ever the dog’s fault. The only one who should bear any guilt is you.
You are the owner who brags about never having to use a leash and then exclaims “she never does that!” when your dog tears across the street after another dog.
You are the owner talking on his cell phone at the dog park, not caring when your dog’s overly friendly actions cause distress to others.
You are the owner who gives me a blank look when I ask you to please get a hold of your dog as my dog and I pass in an on-leash park.
You are the owner who cries how his dog was abused as a justification for her asshole behaviour.
You are the owner who never scoops and then complains when my dog marks on a tree on the public boulevard in front of your house.
You are the owner who walks multiple dogs on extendable leashes and blasts my dog for riling them up from the other side of the street.
You are the owner who ignores my warning that my dog is not keen on strange dogs lunging in her face, and then flips out at me when she growls.
You are the owner who alpha rolls instead of trying to understand the reason behind your dog’s actions.
You are the owner who relies on tools to do your work for you but don’t bother to learn how to use them properly.
You are the owner with the electric fence and the broken chain and the over-used crate.
You are the owner taking pictures of your children climbing on your dog’s back and chasing him with sticks.
You are the owner who demands that all dogs be friendly to everyone at all times but is too lazy to train her own dog.
You are the owner who euthanizes without asking questions when her dog snaps at a child.
You are the owner with the miniature labradoodle on television, demanding the reinstatement of BSL, asking why anyone would want to own “those dogs”.
You are the owner who dominates rather than builds a relationship.
You are the owner who blames everyone else.
You are the owner who rants about the boxer-pit bull-malamute “or whatever it was” and how it should be banned from your city just because one dog who kind of looked like that breed hurt another dog.
You are the owner who doesn’t love dogs, not really. If you did, you would spend more time learning and training. If you did, you would put your dog ahead of your ego. If you did, you would learn the local by-laws and do your best to keep all dogs safe. Most of you might love your own dogs. I will give you that. But not enough, not the way responsible owners do.
You are the owner who views her dog as a status symbol, who spends a lot of money on grooming and outfits or spike collars to make her look tough but almost no time.
You are small in number yet your presence is felt on every street. The responsible owners know how to avoid you but you have a way of ruining the happiest of strolls. You are impossible to ignore. You are the reason the laws exist yet you never follow them.
I know you won’t listen to me, even if you read this. I am under no illusion. You don’t listen when I ask you nicely to re-leash your dog on the side of the road so you aren’t going to take a blog post by a stranger to heart. Besides, you don’t think I am talking about you.
I am not writing this because I am expecting anything to change. You don’t care what I think and you certainly don’t care about my dog’s discomfort with your dog’s behaviour.
All I ask is that you stop blaming the dog. All I want is to prevent the harmful notion of BSL from hurting the good dogs and good people of this good city. I worry your ignorance will lead to something that will only make the situation worse. Blaming dogs instead of the real culprits solves nothing. It doesn’t prevent your miniature cockadoodle from getting attacked. All it does is spread a culture of fear toward dogs who were unlucky enough to have owners like you.
Please stop. Stop going to the media. We all know they smile with glee every time a canine incident is reported. Stop feeding that machine. Stop using the term “pit bull” as a synonym for “dangerous.” I assure you, the two are mutually exclusive.
If you stop blaming dogs for their ignorant owner’s mistakes, I will stop glaring at you when your Siberian labra-chug tries to hump my dog.
Well, I will try, anyway.
Kristine Tonks, lover of all dogs, including Hungarian cocker-jacks.