The sun was out, the breeze was light, and the streets were quiet. I decided to take a stroll with Hannah just before noon on Saturday. We were smiling and chatting away (I told her about our plans for later and she screeched out her replies). We didn't have a care in the world. Then I had a heart attack.
I had just rounded the corner to head home when a larger-than-life black Pit Bull lunged at me, growling loudly and drooling. I jumped, cursed, and gripped the stroller tightly. Thank goodness for the six-foot metal fence between us, otherwise, my baby and I would have been fresh tartare. My heart was going into overdrive and a split second later, his partner-in-crime ran towards us, snarling and barking even louder than he was. They took turns running and pounding against the fence obviously protecting their territory.
My first reaction was to veer as far away from the fence as possible, but on a sidewalk, space was limited. I picked up my pace, but kept turning back to make sure they WERE NOT somehow going to get through the fence. What didn't make sense to me was their owner in the yard, standing at the barbecue who made NO attempt to do anything. She just stared at me, dumbfounded, as if it was normal and okay, for anyone walking by to have some sort of heart failure. She continued to flip her burgers (no, I'm not kidding) and no apologies for her barking beasts scaring the number two out of me.
There was NO calming of the dogs down. No calling them back, coaxing them into the home, throwing a ball to distract them. Even after I was a block away, I could still hear those beasts yowling. I kept thinking what could I have done if they escaped from the sidegate? I felt so helpless. How could I have protected my child? I called my husband on my cell just to tell him what had happened. I hadn't felt that shaken in a long while. The good news was that out of the two of us, I was the only one who felt any terror in this situation. My baby girl was calm, didn't cry, and dozing off.
Now my following appeal is not for all dog owners. (I used to have a Shih-Tzu, who would rather lick strangers than attack them, and only barked a couple of times in his life. He was clearly not meant as a guard dog.) If you have an aggressive or extremely hyper dog, please take a moment to think about people who will pass by. Yes, your dog needs fresh air and exercise. Let your dog roam around in your yard as you wish, but out of human decency and common courtesy, don't just stand there while your dog pounds against the fence threatening your neighbours as they walk by. Put down your barbecue tongs and do something. Walks are supposed to prevent heart attacks not induce them.