Which caused me to start thinking about courtesy, and I have come up with a list of courtesies that I wish would be shown to ME, as a dog (and cat) owner, more often.
1. That people wouldn't just assume that they can rush up and start gushing over my dog. Luckily for me (and for the people doing the gushing) Argos doesn't really mind, and is not going to retaliate by biting or snarling. But for all his friendliness, he's a little reserved, and I can see sometimes that certain people make him uncomfortable. Which provokes my protective instincts and makes ME want to snarl at people on his behalf.
2. That other dog owners wouldn't automatically assume that it's okay to let their dogs rush up to Argos when we're out on a leashed walk. It's normally okay. But dogs are territorial creatures. Argos happens to be a submissive dog, so probably would never so much as snap at another dog, but... I would feel terrible if he did. Especially if the other dog was one of the little tiny ones. But that means that owners of little tiny dogs should not let their charges jump up on him! It puts an awful lot of the burden of keeping those dogs safe on my shoulders when that happens.
3. Don't tell me what to do with my dog. I have been subjected to so many mini-lectures on what I should be doing with my dog from people who don't know as much as my name, or anything about dogs, let alone the peculiarities of his breed. Have my dog walk beside me, have him walk behind me, in front of me, don't let him pee, do let him pee, put a different collar on him, don't let him sniff anything, you shouldn't have a large dog in the city, blah blah blah blah blah. I've probably heard it all. I have certain ideas of what is or is not acceptable for my dog to do, so unless he's doing something that affects someone directly, I really wish that they'd just let me enjoy my time with my dog without the comments from the peanut gallery.
4. Don't treat us as the representative of everything that you don't like about dogs. You don't like dog owners because they don't clean up dog poop? Fine, I can understand that. But you see, I am cleaning up the dog poop. I carry, conspicuously, a roll of blue bags. And I really don't want to hear a litany of the "evils" of everything canine. I'm sorry to hear that dogs have been getting into your trash, pooping on your lawn, that the neighbor's dog keeps you up with his constant barking. But we are none of these people.
5. DO treat us as part of the neighborhood. I love it when people call out greetings to my dog, especially if they've learned his name and made efforts to get to know us. I want my dog to be part of the neighborhood. I let him be part of my family, after all, so why wouldn't I want friends and neighbors to include him?
6. Don't act resentful at me for having to go home to take care of my dog. Yes, my life is different now. I can't just drop everything and go out for an evening on the town. Much like a parent of a human child, my time is not my own anymore, whether you approve of it or not. So no, I can't stay after work on Friday night for Happy Hour, unless I've made special arrangements ahead of time. No, I can't go out to eat at 6:00 PM, not without taking Argos for a walk and feeding him first. Comments made for the purposes of shaming me for being "too obsessed with my dog" are unkind and unfair. After all, these people won't be cleaning dog poop off of the dining room floor if Argos is kept from his evening potty break. And besides, I enjoy spending that time with him. I like him better than most of the people doing the shaming, for that matter.
7. And now for one that has nothing to do with dogs - but my cats. And that is... be respectful of my choice to have multiple cats! I resent the implication that is sometimes made that I must be a crazy cat lady. I've had people actually take a step back from me when they find out that I have four cats. Really?
I have four cats that are extremely well-treated, pampered, fed the best of foods. They never go outside, and therefore are never anyone else's problem. They needed a home, I gave them a home. They are happy, they make me happy. So be happy for me or go away.
|Random picture of Argos, since blog posts need eye-candy!|
So, pet people, am I leaving anything out? Are there things that non-pet-people do that drive you crazy? Leave me your comments - serious or not so!