Ever since we moved into our little country retreat I have taken a walk or jog in the early morning before my husband leaves for work. This habit has quickly come to an end as the light refuses to shine before 7 and I have realized that things aren't exactly the same in the country as they are in town. There are bears out here and several other wild animals of which I would like to remain ignorant. I'm not trying to be overly paranoid but the other day I decided to brave a walk in the early morning light and something growled at me from a large bush. I hastily ran back up our steps, waited a few minutes, then began to think I was loosing my mind. "This is ridiculous! I should be able to walk. There is nothing there!" So down I go again only to be snarled out more ferociously by something I could only hear huffing and puffing (I never discovered what it was). So thus ended my wonderful morning walks.
The other thing I have been musing on lately is that there seems to be two groups of people out there....small dog owners and large dog owners. I, being a small dog owner, have nothing against large dogs or their owners. I am relatively unfazed if they bark at me from the protection of their home or guard their front porch ferociously. That is what they are supposed to do, right? Unfortunately being a small dog owner makes me a minority in Southwest Virginia. In our neighborhood alone I think that I am one of let's see, maybe two. The people here not only have 1 large dog but can't seem to stop there. They have at least 6-7 large and somewhat ferocious dogs. I'm sure they can rest very easy at night knowing that no matter what type of end of the world comes they will stay snug in their beds but it is a bit hard for us small dog owners (who only have one by the way) to function sometimes.
For instance, on one of my invigorating walks I was approaching my neighbors house when she looks at me and says, "Bell's out!" I stared at her blankly. First of all I have no idea who or what Bell is and secondly I'm not sure what I am supposed to do with this information. Seeing that I was failing to act at this seemingly clear announcement she says again, a bit louder this time, "BELL's OUT!" That's when I realize that Bell is one of her many LARGE dogs. Not only that but apparently Bell doesn't play well with others, especially little white dogs that Bell would like to have as a morning snack. So I quickly scoop Lucy up in my arms, who is on a leash by the way, and proceed to walk briskly to my road. All of the sudden Bell makes her appearance. Growling, following me and wanting desperately to just have a tiny taste of the little marshmallow in my arms. I'm saying the whole time, "don't show fear. Dogs know when you are afraid, everything is going to be fine..just keep walking." The owner is just standing there.
Once I finally reach the safety of my own road I put my dog down...still on her leash mind you...and finished my walk. This is when my fear goes away and I start getting frustrated. Why do I have to run in panic every time some large dog that is not well trained and not friendly gets to roam freely and attack or growl at whomever or whatever it likes?? Why is it okay to just let your dog out unleashed and unfenced when it doesn't do well with other dogs or other people?? I hate taking my dog for a walk and jumping every time a dog starts barking or pick her up every time a large and territorial dog comes bounding our way. (by the way I did actually have my previous dog attacked by two Dalmatians while my dog was on a leash and I stood there watching as they literally flipped my dog over and started gnawing on his stomach. If my dad hadn't been there my little dog would probably not have made it).
Maybe I am being overly paranoid but it is hard sometimes to be small in a big dog world.