Things People Said To Me While I Walked My Dog

As an introvert, I generally prefer people leave me alone when I am out walking my dog. I am not on the sidewalk to socialize. When Shiva and I are doing our thing, I am in the zone and conversation is the last thing on my mind. That’s why when someone does actually speak toΒ  – or shout at – me I find myself floundering for words. Half the time I think I just blow by, not realizing the person is actually talking to me until we are several steps away. The other have I kind of awkwardly laugh and stutter out a response that even a doctor of linguistics couldn’t decipher.

In over three and a half years of walking at least ninety minutes a day, I’ve heard a lot of bizarre comments directed at us. Here is just a snippet of the ones I remember, followed by the responses I wish I could have managed.

That’ll keep your hands warm!” – as I bend to pick up a pile of dog poop.

Ummm… I guess? I’d rather just wear mittens.

“Traffic isn’t for the meek!” – as Shiva and I wait to cross a busy highway.

Indeed. Neither is dying.

“You’re all speckled!” – while reaching out and grabbing my recovering reactive dog by the muzzle.

Gaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

“Keep that dog away from me! A dog that looked just like that almost killed me!” – as Shiva sniffed the grass on the other side of me, not even looking at the person.

Really? Just like her? Are you sure? Because I haven’t seen any other dogs who looked just like her anywhere. Ever.

“Wow! I’ve had dogs before but geez… Are you sure you can handle her?”

Yep, as long as condescending strangers leave us alone.

“Dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs…” – as sung by a young boy.

Dude. It’s like you are reading my mind!

“He’s a tough fella isn’t he? No one is gonna mess with you with him around!”

Then why are you talking to me? Grrrrr.

“You’re such a pretty little girl!”

You’d better be talking about the dog. And yes, she is, thank you.

“Definitely Border Collie. Yep. No doubt about it. Or maybe Keeshond? No, Border Collie. Absolutely.”

“You’re doing a really good job!” – as shouted by a police officer who had pulled over in her car.

Thanks!

And those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. Have you had any odd interactions with random strangers?

31 thoughts on “Things People Said To Me While I Walked My Dog

  1. I think the MOST fun I’ve ever had discussing my dogs on a walk was the 20 minute “debate” with the lady who insisted that my sweet puggle puppy was in fact, a vicious, vicious pit bull. I tried to walk away, but she just walked with me.*awesome*

    My actual most fun? The time a little girl came up to me with a stuffed dog on a leash that looked just like Felix. She told me all about her dog. It was adorable.

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  2. Howdy All, only one thing gets said to us (sigh). “Have you got a saddle for that thing?”. Yeah, hilarious if we hadn’t heard it about 1000 times before. Still, as long as they’re happy and polite, that’s nice in its own way. We had a very reactive great dane, and funnily enough, no one ever came close enough to say anything! Hope your day is a good one. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

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  3. Haha, that’s hilarious! My top 5 are:
    1. “OMG a weenie dog!!!!” really?! You mean I have a Dachshund? No way!
    2. “Is it sick? It’s awfully thin” No, she’s not. Yours is just grossly fat.
    3. “Isn’t he handsome!” yes, I cross dress my dog all the time in polkadot leashes and flowery collars.
    4. “What mix? Gotta be a mix, you can’t train Dachshunds” …..
    5. “HOW CUTE!!!!!!” as they pick up my shy dog. I could literally kill someone when they do this

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  4. When I was walking a reactive dog, I went crazy when people interrupted me on a walk. They had no idea what I was up against.

    With Honey, life is easier and I’m happy to stop and socialize. That doesn’t mean I don’t hear dumb things. Riding Honey to the dog park in the bike cart got a few people shouting, “That is one lazy dog!” I wonder how many of them would walk their dog six miles to the dog park?

    BTW, thanks for the warning. If I recognize you and Shiva while I’m visiting Halifax, I’ll send you an email after you finish your walk. πŸ™‚

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  5. I’ve had more than a few people tell me feed my dogs more (including shouting at me from their cars), to which I usually reply, “No, you’re just used to seeing overweight labs.” There was also the poor, extremely nervous looking dude who asked me if Mufaasa (my lab/border collie) is a spanial (“um, wut?”).
    The best story is the one that happened with my first dog, who managed to snatch up a rat from the side of a building while we were walking downtown. My first thought was, “Oh, god, she’s going to bite into it and get rabies, but I can’t just pull it out of her mouth because it will bite me and then I’ll get rabies” so instead I just smacked the rat out of her mouth. A car drove buy at the same time and a guy shouted, “Stop hitting your dog!” and I shouted back, “She had a rat in her mouth!!”
    He did not come back to apologies.

    PS: The rat survived and no one got rabies.

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    • Heh, glad you all remained rabies-free! I’ve never had my dog actually pick up another animal like that before. Hopefully I continue to escape that. Just gross!

      It comes back to people making nap judgments about others based on zero information. People have often told me that it looks like I am starving my dog. I just wish I could pull out my dog food receipts to show them just how much I am spending on her diet. If I could feed her more without making her sick, I would!

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      • Addendum: Last night as I’m walking my dogs past two ladies, one of them looks at Raafi (my 5-month-old shepherd with ludicrously oversized ears) and says, “That one looks like he could just snap at you.” All 30lbs of him. With his big ears and wagging tail and huge eyes and he didn’t even veer towards her, just looked in her direction. But, he’s a shepherd so of course he’s vicious. *sigh*

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  6. I LOVE this list. (And really appreciate your thoughts on it, too! πŸ˜‰

    I think there’s something a little off-putting to people when they encounter my 60-lb black dog barking at them from the end of the leash and we don’t actually get too many comments as a result. πŸ˜‰

    People will sometimes tell us Bella is pretty (if she’s calm and quiet) but mostly we just get dirty looks when my dog doesn’t seem as enthralled about meeting people and their dogs as they think she should be.

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  7. People are crazy, aren’t they?? A couple of months ago a neighbor said, “Aw, poor old dog” and I wanted to kick him in the shins. How would I like it if I said the same to him – doofus. Great post!!

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  8. When I’m walking 2-4 of my own dogs, people ask me if I’m a professional dog walker. Ha, there are some things you do for love that you would never do for money.

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  9. Boy Kristen, you must have all the luck! lol What a strange and wacky world you live in. Is Dr. Seuss the Mayor of Halifax?? πŸ™‚ We hardly ever run into to anybody and nobody ever tries to talk to us because we usually have to turn the other way. πŸ™‚ We’re just a couple of loners over here and like it that way!

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  10. My dad has learned to stop his eyes from “rolling inside his head” when people see me and say to him, “oh, isn’t that nice of you”, “what happened to your dog?”, “poor dog”, “did you make those wheels?”, “that’s quite the contraption, did it cost alot?”, “is he friendly?”.

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  11. Blimey! I don’t meet that many people when I am out walking Polly:) This morning it was raining, so all the sensible people were staying indoors.

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  12. This makes me glad I live in a rural area where not many people are out walking! As a fellow introvert, I totally relate. As it is, when my neighbors are out in their yards, they want me to stop and talk, and I just want to get on with walking my dog! However, at least they don’t say stupid things. It is amazing how rude people can be, all because they feel like they have to say something. Why can’t they just pass on by with a smile and a wave or just “nice dog”?

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  13. Wow. What a list! I’ve had some weird comments here and there, but the worst thing by far was a woman who walked up to me and Cooper… and handed him a piece of some food as she’s saying, “Can I give him a treat?” He had gobbled up whatever it was before she finished speaking. I was furious, but thankfully we haven’t bumped into her again!

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  14. The best comment ever was when I was walking Senta and Nick – the cat was following us – as he usually did. The bylaw officer stopped to ask why my “other dog” wasn’t leashed.

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  15. Mostly people mistakenly call Blueberry a Dalmation or Australian Shepherd. I’ve learned to just smile and keep walking. There are some people that I run into that I actually look forward to talking with. But I am much like you – I am lost in my own thoughts and often utter unintelligible things that even leave me going “huh?” Glad to know I’m not the only one that does that!

    I think my favorite person though is the bacon/hot dog lady that asks every single time if it is ok for her to give Blueberry a treat. I think it’s sweet. Maybe she doesn’t remember or something, but either way, it’s refreshing to meet someone who is polite every time!

    Lol – I cannot believe someone actually said that about the dog poo keeping your hands warm! Sorry – but I will be giggling about that for some time. πŸ˜‰

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  16. I loved this list!!! I’m actually the one that says “hey at least it keeps my hands for for a few minutes” of course is also stinks. No-one said there wasn’t ying and yang right?

    Probably my favorite (she writes with dripping sarcasm) was the time I was trying to manage both Sampson and Delilah (about 200 pounds at the time) on leash into daycare. The guy pulls up, even though he sees me (outweighed but I won’t say by how much) struggling to get them in the door and he lets his dog out of his car. I’m standing there with the door in one hand and two hundred pounds of energy in the other and they surge at his dog. I screamed (and cussed) and he said, “Are you alright?”

    I wanted to say “No dumb shit, I am not okay” but I simply cried NO.

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  17. I always make Jack sit at the door and wait to enter the building until I tell him it’s okay. Just this morning, there were three people headed out so I had him wait until they all went first and our mailman (who was the last) said “You’ve got a really well-behaved dog!”

    I’m good with random comments when they’re positive like that – we usually don’t get compliments because everyone is too afraid of Jack to pay any attention to his good behaviour and they only notice him if he’s in the middle of reacting to something scary.

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  18. Too many to remember, but more with Rufus. They were usually something to do with him being fat (though you could feel his bones under the coat and this was often mentioned by fat people), thirsty (because he had a super long tongue that was always hanging out), hot and needed a clip (though the mal club and vet said NEVER to do that), and limping (because he had a leg op and never recovered from it). Mostly, people just rushed up and wanted to be his friend and take pictures and videos of/with him. Oh yes, and talk to us while we were eating of course! 10 years of this ARGH!

    Thank god I now have a plain dog that no one notices πŸ˜‰

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  19. Very ironic:
    I got the “oh that’ll keep your hands warm,” comment yesterday morning when walking my black Lab Lars. I had, one of the biggest poops he has done in quite some time in my hand, in a bag of course. hahaha.

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  20. Interaction with stangers… definitely… Odd, mostly not. But what really gets under my nerve is when someone walking towards us, simply stops and drops down to Pluto’s side to play with him, without a single notice or invitation… its good that Pluto has never,ever reacted to sudden movements but still, I would really like to know if you are going to start playing with my dog beforehand.

    Second category of people who baffle me are those who skirt around our way as if i’m walking a lion and not a over enthusiastic Lab… ughh…

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  21. the dumbest comment I ever got was to put my wee reactive dog on the ground, cos his wee 7mth old puppy was “fine” and the best way was to just let them sort it out. And that was after I told him no mine wasn’t really comfortable or sociable with dogs of any size or shape and it was his dog I was looking after in this case. Really, you want to test your theory on your pup? And then he gingerly held his hand out to her asking if she was good with humans. She is by the way but I had to be amazed that he was willing to test her on his pup but he was tentative himself. What are people like?

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    • I’ve heard suggestions like that too. Maybe that works in some cases, but it really depends on the dog. In one instance, the gentleman suggested I just drop the leash and let our two dogs “get to know each other.” If it was at a dog park, fine. But we were walking down the street and his dog had just lunged at Shiva who had been minding her own business. Not the time, or the place for letting them figure it out! πŸ˜›

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  22. These were really funny! I hear something new and probably stupid every day. I should write them down! I remember once someone said about Norman, “That’s a crazy crazy mix. Like my dog!” As I looked at her dog it looked to be some kind of wolfhound mixed with lab and maybe dinosaur. Not similar at all lady…

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  23. ugh… I’d rather have cold hands! I don’t mind chatty people, though I’ll admit, some of the conversations are very very strange. One of my first encounters was with a guy who, upon finding out that Gwynn was friendly, proceeded to check his teeth… and tell me enthusiastically just how perfect and gorgeous Gwynn’s teeth were. Apparently, he’s got a perfect bite. who knew? That guy!
    I get the ‘your dog is so fat/chubby’ comments a lot, especially in the winter. I hold in the “No! You are!” childish response and say, “Just fluffy”
    Also, “He must loooove his walks!”… um, yes?

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  24. I would much rather be left alone while walking too! We tend to go for the path less traveled. Over the years I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard, “Oh what kind of a mix is that?” for six years toward my purebred former show Australian Cattle Dog. Also we’ve been asked repeatedly “what breed is that?” and when I respond Australian Cattle Dog, the person proudly says, “Oh ya, an Australian Shepherd!” (Did I say shepherd?!)

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    • Whenever someone asks a question like that so rudely – “what is that??” – I am tempted to be just as rude back.

      “She’s a dog. What is that?” – point at their child.

      I wouldn’t, of course, but it still really bugs me some days. Some people just don’t have any manners at all.

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  25. Most people that live in my area are terrified of dogs, so they tend to run away instead of saying anything. However, yesterday I popped into a store for a few minutes. When I came out, a man came up to me and said that my dogs made him laugh. He said that they were both sitting in the truck so perfectly that they looked like police on a stakeout. It pleased me that my doggies gave someone else a small moment of joy.

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