All too often, passersby look at my 65+ pound dog straining at her leash and move a little farther away. This irritates me. Just because she’s bigger than a teacup poodle means nothing. Ask your neighborhood veterinarian and I’m sure they will tell you what I have heard so many times – that they are more wary of the little ones than the big ones, because the little ones are more likely to bite. The big ones usually cower in a corner like terrified children.
Make no mistake, if you were to sneak up on me or her in a threatening manner, she would make you step back a few paces and fear for your extremities, but otherwise, on a regular day with regular people, she’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, she’s likely more afraid of you than you are of her.
So here are a few anecdotes to show why, if you pass me innocently on the street, my “big dog”* should be the least of your worries.
1. The other night she woke every dog in the neighborhood barking at a plastic grocery bag that blew across her path.
2. Today it took her five whole minutes to approach a threatening pile of carpet pads stacked in the neighbor’s carport that wasn’t there last night. And she approached in a wide circle from behind the nearest tree, just in case.
3. She makes friends easily with both dogs and people, but in St. Kitts she was approached by a friendly Jack Russell terrier and she curled up into a ball and shivered until he left her alone.
4. She’s afraid of thunder and wants to sleep with me when it storms at night. She’s also scared of small children and either runs away from them or hides behind my legs when they approach.
5. She’s so nervous of new, unexpected things and places that when I open the door to our back deck on pretty days, she not only won’t go out onto the deck, but she won’t even lie down in that half of the living room.
6. Last week we met a new neighbor. Meera took off toward her at full speed, having never seen her before in her life, and rubbed up against her legs like a cat begging to be petted.
7. She plays like a child. She wants to “tag” you and run away so you’ll chase her. She wants to put her head into whatever you’re doing and be “super-involved” in the process. She wants to hide your tools so you have to find them. She wants to pounce on things that look like balls, are shaped like balls, bounce like balls or are in the vicinity if you’ve said the word “ball.”
8. When you pass by and she’s straining at her leash, chances are she just wants to smell your hands and have you pet her. She loves people and she loves you, until you give her a reason not to.
There’s a reason I call her my brave little toaster.
And did I mention she’s part pit bull? But that’s for a whole other blog post.
So thank you to my landlord for being the only one in Martin to understand that a dog is a dog, no matter the size, and all should be allowed to live in peace with their people in whatever accommodations they have.
*70 pounds is medium-sized for a dog, by the way. You should see a bull-mastiff, weighing in at 150 pounds, and then we’ll talk.