Saturday, 20 June 2009

All dog owners are at liberty to hate me

Hey! Folks who own DOGS.

Here is the sign at Burnham Beeches.

Grit, Dig and the little gritlets drove to Burnham Beeches today for part of the education we build with Shark, Squirrel and Tiger. That's an EDUCATION. Today we're looking at the geology of these ancient woods.

Kids don't study much geology in schools. We study geology because we like rocks, and think they are pretty cool.

So we drove a long way to Burnham Beeches to join a geologist on a walk-and-talk. Hopefully, he'll tell us about clay, chalk, limestone, sink holes, gravel deposits, ice ages and how not to fall off cliffs.

You see, we are not just here with nothing to do, kinda mooching around, like I THINK I'LL WALK THE DOG.

Which dog is that?

Would it be a dog like a cute little Rottweiler?

The sort you let off the leash. The sort of dog that comes to chest height on Squirrel, Tiger and Shark, who are scared of dogs that bound up, unpredictably, make sudden jerky movements, slobber, pant like a wild man chained up for forty years and just let free with HAHAHAHAHAHA so we can barely hear what the geologist is saying, never mind come close to the group, because the damn dog is leaping and bounding everywhere, sending Squirrel off into fifty types of fear and clinging to me like she has seconds to live.

So of course Grit says something to the lovely dog owner. And you won't believe it, but Grit is polite, really, like I'm sorry, but could you keep your dog from near my daughter?

You see, we had a very bad incident, no actually, we had two very bad incidents with dogs, where the owners let their animals from the leash, and then demonstrated they had no voice control over these animals.

And, by the way, before you tell me how lovely your dog is and how he would never harm a child, can you imagine, for one second, what it feels like as a mother with three babies, and this dog with its head down and a mean look in its eyes is making a bee-line for your babies, and you, mother with only two arms, can only snatch up one of your babies, and you have to leave the other two exposed and vulnerable, while you kick at that animal and yell and scream while the owner is running up and hitting out in all directions with a stick because they have no voice control at all. Can you imagine that?

And indulge me here for one second, because while mama Grit does not pander to this fear at all, no way, because we are going to that field, dog or no dog, she has to understand that child's fear, work with it, be gentle, find those strategies to cure that fear that do not rely on bullying, intimidation, coercion or bribery, and one day the fear will be gone, and everyone will wonder, what was all the fuss about?

So before you tell me how silly is my child and how lovely and meek and mild is your dog, would you just see what impact you are having, understand what I am saying, and for the two hours you are with us on this geology walk, please put your damned dog on the leash?

In those snatched moments when I have freed one hand from Squirrel, still clinging to me like a limpet - because I am determined not to give up the reason why we have come today - here are some photographs from the gravel, clay, flint and chalk landscape of beautiful Burnham Beeches.


kellyi said...

i have a dog and I hate it when this happens to us. It really pisses me off when I have my dog on lead and some one else's free roaming dog comes up and starts harassing my dog and kids.

I find a swift kick in the head (of owner, not dog) helps.

Grit said...

hi kelly! this was EXACTLY the situation! everyone else kept their dog on the lead - the guy taking the walk asked everyone at the start to keep a close watch on the dogs because of the clay topped sink holes - some are like hidden shafts to 8-9 foot deep - and STILL this dog was allowed to rule. i'm still fuming over it. i have to get over it! gather ... gather ... !

screamish said...

I feel sorry for the dogs. My neighbours have three dogs in a tiny house. I think i have an idea where they keep them but cant prove it. anyway..everytime they walk those dogs (one fo which is a bull terrier mongrel) the guy has to give it a kici in the head to control it.

absolutely criminal to own a dog like that and be incapable of training it/controlling it properly

screamish said...

I mean i feel sorry for the dogs coz its not their fault their owners are arses.

I have begun to feel that visceral fear too in parks seeing dogs running loose...with babies crawling happily around on blanket...the fear..;

Lisa G said...

I feel Squirrel's fear, Girl 2 is terrified of dogs, absolutely terrified and don't you just hate the owners with their dogs on those extendable leads where not only do the dogs bound out of control while the owner lets the lead get longer but they also try to break your neck by getting the lead wrapped around your ankles!

mamacrow said...

I'm with you totally on this one. we've had some bad experiences, to the point where Fluff FREAKS OUT if he even sees a dog (tiny, old, sonablistic and on a lead normally).

Grit said...

perhaps someone should suggest inspecting EVERY pet owner for signs of potential pet abuse, prior to them actually getting a pet. ;)

Rebel Mother said...

I'm with you. Not a dog lover myself - they're always sniffing your bits!

Loved Kellyi's comment - fabulous!


Jax said...

I love dogs. But I fully agree that dogs should be kept under control in public places (and in private places for that matter). And any sensible dog owner knows that they are basically still wild animals and unpredictable and doesn't put them in a position where they can get themselves or other ppl in trouble.