Your dog is friendly. Well-behaved. He likes other dogs.
Who cares? I don’t. I’m terrified and a little traumatized and I’m thinking we need to find another place to work our distance sit-stays.
Because your friendly, well-behaved dog who likes other dogs just came charging around a blind corner with his leash dragging behind him, no owner in sight.
MJ saw him first. Her ears perked up before he’d even cleared the corner, and she released her sit-stay and sprinted the 15ft distance between us while I tried to gather the training leash and figure out what the hell was happening. By the time she cleared me and I turned to see what had caught her attention, your friendly well-behaved, human-less dog was 50-40-30-20 feet from us.
That’s when you rolled around the corner at a quick walking pace, phone in hand: “HE’S FRIENDLY”. You waved.
“WE’RE NOT,” I yelled. I panicked. MJ doesn’t greet other dogs well on-leash. Something about being restrained.
I’m trying to keep our leash taut with one hand while reaching to keep the dogs separated with the other. My feet are trying to establish boundaries, and I stuck out one leg and then another to keep distance between the eager visitor and our girl. I braced for a bite.
When you finally caught up, you explained that he must have heard our squeaky toy reward and that drew his attention from his dropped-leash sprinting in the field around the corner where you watched from the shade of a tree. You still haven’t picked up his leash.
“We’re leaving. Please hold your dog so we can we pass.”
MJ foamed. She half barked, half screamed because she wanted to say hi and I wouldn’t let her play. She looked… well… at that moment she looked like those horrible propaganda photos of pit bulls.
Our leash-walking protocols were completely out the window as we hustled home. I kept turning around to make sure we didn’t have a follower. I forced myself not to cry. MJ was cranked to eleven.
We’re lucky to live in a very dog-friendly neighborhood. Shepards and collies and bullies and yorkies shuffle by each other during more constitutions with civility and respect. The people and pooches are familiar. Leashes are required, and community spaces are specifically marked “No Pets Off Leash.”
This was a strange dog and a strange human. The rules were broken.
I’m glad you have a friendly, well-behaved dog. I want to believe this was an accident and you lost the leash. But I don’t think that happened, because there would have been more urgency in your recovery, especially when you lost sight of your dog. If not then, then maybe when you saw my terror.
We’re all safe. We’re lucky nothing escalated and no one was scratched or nipped. Because if things had gone badly, getting myself and my dog out of that situation would have been my priority.
And I don’t really want to spend time on what-ifs. Instead, I’d like you to hold on to your dog.