I am the parent of a pit bull. Despite how they are portrayed in the media, they are great dogs. There are a bunch of them that live in our neighborhood and there are oodles at the local dog park. I see many of them when I am walking or running along the Riverfront, as well as pretty much anywhere I go. For people to judge an entire breed by the actions of a few pooches – pooches who were trained to act in such a manner BY THEIR HUMANS – is ridiculous. But then, people judge entire religions based on the actions of a few extremists. Whoa. How did I get there? OK. Let’s get back on track. Pit bulls.
So today the boys and I were on our daily walk. Each day (weather permitting) I pack up Little Dude in the jogging stroller, rub sunscreen onto his skinny little legs as he kicks me in the face screaming “All done! All done!”, throw a bottle of water and a dog bowl under the seat, grab a poop bag or two, and get my ox of a dog on a leash. I should mention that the leash is usually wrapped a couple of times around my hand to keep it shorter, and during his exuberant burst from the house, I tend to lose circulation in it. One day it will simply fall off. Oh, and my nose is totally going to break from one of those baby kicks to the noggin. So if you see me walking around with a broken nose and missing a hand, you’ll know what happened.
As we were just past the half-mile mark, I noticed a woman getting her mail around the corner. She was cradling her little chihuahua while doing so. I took notice because, let’s face it, I’m not a fan of little dogs. I don’t understand carrying them around in purses or Baby Bjorns or whatever. At this point, though, I gave the two of them very little thought.
We continued on our way. By this point, Spiro had settled down, and Little Dude was his normal, silent self. We hit our halfway point and turned around. As we approached that very same corner, I saw it. The chihuahua (and please do me the courtesy of pronouncing that phonetically, as in chee-hoo-a-hoo-a) had rounded the corner. Alone. He was standing in the grass, just staring at us. I stopped my little posse, and told Spiro to be still. He listened, and didn’t move a muscle. The chihuahua slowly approached us, while I looked around for his mistress. She was nowhere to be seen. The three of us remained still while the little canine continued his approach. I heard Spiro make a little noise under his breath, which I interpreted to be, “Mama, pleeeeeease let me play with this little rat-thing. Pahhhh-leeeeese.” I shushed him. The chihuahua’s tail was now shaking, but he kept advancing. Mistress? Still MIA.
Then it happened: the chihuahua made a sort of lunge move at my 80 POUND PIT BULL and snarled at him. Spiro took this as an invitation to play, and started jumping around. The chihuahua lunged again, and Spiro was dancing with joy (on his now very short leash) over his new playmate. Finally the doggie’s mama made her appearance yelling something in Spanish that I could not understand. Then she started to laugh, and told her dog it was stupid for taking on a dog as big as Spiro. She made no move to get her dog. Meanwhile, the circulation that I so thoroughly appreciate was beginning to slow down in my hand. It was taking all of my strength to keep my dog from running off to play. (Seriously, he would have done nothing more but play, but most people have a hard time believing that.)
What she did up to this point really irritated me, but it was what happened next that really pissed me off. The woman took off her shoe and held it in the air, looked at her dog, and said, “Do you see this? Do you see this?” She still didn’t pick up her dog. She just kept yelling at it. It ran off to another woman and her dog who were standing around the corner. This new woman yelled that she was trying to distract the chihuahua. At that point, I pushed my 52 pound stroller-kid combo and dragged my 80 pound dog (who mysteriously somehow now weighed 160 pounds), down a curb, across the road, and up onto the sidewalk across the street. I looked back to see what was happening. The woman had finally picked up her dog, and was now smacking it with her hard soled sandal! If I didn’t have my hands full, I would have chastised her. At least, I hope I would have. I’m not very confrontational, so I should say that I wanted to chastise her.
The dog honestly did nothing wrong. He’s a dog. He saw another dog. He wanted to play. Of course he’s going to run away. He is no smarter than his mistress, who is apparently not all that bright. If she isn’t bright enough to keep her dog on a leash in a highly trafficked environment, how can she get upset that her dog ran from her? I could have given her some wiggle room if she would have been chasing after him once he left her, but noooooooo. She let him run away, let him run after my dog, let him egg my dog on, and still did nothing to stop him until I removed my family from the scene.
This is not the first time my dog has been accosted by a little dog. This happens more than you would imagine. But this is the first time I have seen an owner act so irresponsibly, and so inhumanely to her fur baby. Beating him with a sandal? Horrible. Just horrible.