Last month, I was walking a long-time client’s lovely Golden Retriever in her crowded Chicago neighborhood when something potentially quite dangerous happened. A young woman was jogging in her very high-tech and ultra-quiet running shoes (think “sneakers”) and ran up behind us on the side of the dog within two feet of her. Neither one of us heard her approaching. The Golden Retriever was very startled, as was I, and spun around to orient to the quickly approaching object and backed into me away from the jogger. The sudden movement also startled the jogger and she backed up into a building. She must have assumed the dog was lunging at her because she glared at me.
First, no one should ever get that close to a dog you do not know. Second, never sneak up on an animal. This dog is incredibly sweet, well-socialized with strangers and other dogs, used to being walked in her crowded neighborhood, and in no way leash reactive. Of course, the jogger would not know that. Nor would she know that this dog is getting a little older and I suspect has some minor hearing loss. But in all honesty, I didn’t hear her either. Third, she assumed this dog was lunging at her, which she didn’t, and in no way thought it was her fault by running up next to her in such close proximity.
The very next day, we went for another walk along a bike path by the lake and another person rolled up behind us on a bike also very close to us without announcing themselves. Thankfully, the dog was slightly in front of me and I happened to catch the biker in my peripheral vision so I was able to move myself between her and the biker at the last second. Sigh.
We expect so very much from animals, especially dogs. Over my next few blogs, I’ll explore some of the great expectations we have about dogs. Dogs are animals. I know that seems like a silly and obvious statement but really think about that for a minute. They are different from other domesticated animals such as sheep, goats, cats, and also very different from wild animals like deer, bears and lynx. They have been adapted to live more closely to us than any other animal. That’s a really big and wonderful deal. We’re so used to having them in our daily lives, whether or not we have them as companions in our homes, because we see them every day. But sometimes we expect too much from them and bad things and/or relationships can happen as a result. We don’t want that to happen with man’s best friend so let’s explore some great expectations we have for our beloved canine companions.