Oh, don’t we all just love a good Karen? Here’s my experience.
Another day, another walk. Another day me hoping that I won’t encounter problematic people, but it was weekend that day, so the chances were higher than usual. I swear, when the weekend comes, more irresponsible people come out and I have the honor to meet them and get annoyed by them. This one was a special one, because once again, a human life was endangered, also with the life of a racing horse. You see, at the place I usually go and walk my dog, a well known company organizes horse races. Everything gets prepped during Thursday, Friday and during the weekend you have the chance to meet horses and their riders. It’s quite an experience for people, children and dogs too. My dog is very interested in horses, although she doesn’t bark at them. She just observes and sniffs and is excited.
I have arrived to the place, it was mid summer, Saturday. During the summer we opt for later walks and playing in the water with the dog. She absolutely loves it. As we were 10 minutes into the walk, I heard horses incoming, they were getting closer and closer to the river. My dog, of course, got all excited, but bummer for her, she isn’t allowed close to the horses. I don’t trust her that much just yet (spare me the comments). I made eye contact with the riders.
“Hi, do you mind moving a bit? We would like to cool down our horses in the river and this is the only accessible entry to the water for them.” Asked me one of the two riders. I politely moved out of the way while dragging my dog a bit back. We watched them for good 5 minutes as they were were cooling the horses down and they talked with me a bit about dogs, races and the place where we were at. Here, have a picture of them.
After a few more minutes, they headed out back to the finish line. I was left with a smile on my face and released my dog (she was still on a leash though) to sniff around and enjoy it a bit more. That’s when I saw a woman in her 40s with a small, white dog, which was, of course, off leash. I looked at her and smiled.
“Hello. You should put your dog on a leash, there are horse races in progress here and there are a lot of horses passing by.” I said towards the lady. The only reason why I said anything is that I know that horses can get easily scared and I would hate to see something bad happen.
“Oh, don’t worry, we won’t be here long either way.” I shrugged my shoulders and proceeded to mind my own business, aka playing fetch with my dog. From my all previous experiences I know that some people won’t listen to you no matter what you do. And sometimes it is better to just give up and hope for the best.
Another ten or fifteen minutes passed and I heard some commotion. I looked around and saw a small white dog chasing after a horse. Of course it was the dog of the lady and of course the lady was just yelling at the dog to come back.
I’m gonna put here a friendly reminder to other dog owners and walkers: if your dog doesn’t have bulletproof recall, do not put it off leash in populated areas or areas where other people go and walk their dogs, thank you.
The horse, unfortunately, got scared, bucked its rider off and ran away. The only good thing was that there were other riders in there and they kept their heads cool. Two other riders took off after the horse so it doesn’t get lost and doesn’t get hurt. Third rider stayed and looked after the fallen rider. The lady picked up her dog and started to apologize profusely:
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know there were races happening here today.” was the first thing I heard and I knew I had to jump in. Not because I wanted to prove the lady wrong or cause any troubles, but this was a very dangerous situation for multiple people and she didn’t even care to take responsibility.
“Hey, excuse me, but I told the lady that there are races happening and she didn’t care. I told her to put her dog on a leash, but she didn’t do anything.” I said towards the doctors and riders. All of them made an angry face and proceeded to argue with the lady, while the doctor called the police. One of the riders approached me and thanked me for stepping in. “No worries, all good. Hope your friend is not injured. Sometimes people are just dumb, especially here and during the weekend.” I said to him while holding my dog back away from the horse.
“Oh, so you are the one. You are the lady that tells people off when they do something stupid. You’ve told my wife off.” That caught me by surprise and I laughed.
“Well, there were so many that I don’t remember anymore. But hey, I probably had a reason.”
“Yeah, we have to large dogs and she walks them without leash. They are not well trained, but it is what it is. We working on it.” I smiled in my head and nodded. “See, I had a reason. Sorry, I don’t mean to come off as a person that yells at other people, but if one is acting irresponsible with dogs and they don’t listen to my pleas to put the dog on a leash and then the dogs approach us, I’m going to get angry. My dog doesn’t do well with other dogs that are close to us, so I’m just trying to prevent an accident.” I tried to explain my stand on the matter and he nodded. “Don’t worry, I understand. More people should be responsible and think about the other party as well. Well, we are going. Have a good day and be careful.” He smiled back and took off.
“You too!” I wished him back.
After that I left the place and headed back home.
But let me explain something. I do understand why people come to the place where I go to. It’s spacious, so you see far ahead and back. You hear everything around you, the view is amazing and you’re in the nature. The dogs love it there. I don’t have any issue with dogs or people in general. I know why people have them off leash, because that way you can tire them out quickly and not everyone has a huge garden the dog can run around in. I do understand that. But. If another dog walker politely asks you to put your dogs on leash, they probably have a reason. I have a female dog that isn’t socialized with other dogs. She won’t attack or bark at another dogs if we are just passing by. She will look, but she won’t do anything else. Unless the dog gets closer to her or her owners (me and my family). Then she will bark and bite. But that is like 2 meters from us. And, as some of you know, female dogs go in heat every now and then, which makes them a huge target by male dogs. Some male dogs ignore that (kudos to their owners), some will try to get closer.
So when I ask another dog owner to put their dog on a leash, I have my reasons. I’m trying to protect myself, my dog, them and their dog. I don’t wish anyone to get hurt and I will rather yell at them then allow anyone to get hurt. It’s just that other people usually don’t understand this. They will use the magical phrase “Oh, it just wants to play.”, but that does not make it okay to put me and my dog in danger.
Next time anyone asks you to do something that is reasonable, for example step away, move away, put your dog on a leash, please do it. It doesn’t cost you that much and it will make the other person’s life a bit more easier. It’s the smaller things, so please, let help each other instead of being mean and not understanding. Thank you.