Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bad dog, weird people

I know, I know...

There is no such thing as bad dogs, only bad owners. Or is it that, as one editor told me early in my career, "There is no such thing as a bad story, only bad reporters"?

Well maybe it's both, but in this case I am talking about my usually sweet dog, Maddie, who seems to suffer from a lack of impulse control. This has come up before in terms of her lunging and barking at little dogs, but never has she pulled me down.

Until today, that is. I have done an excellent job of staying on my feet, but my streak was broken this afternoon when I was walking her on the Mount Holyoke campus. A dog was poking its head out of the window of a car driving by. Maddie yanked on the leash so hard that she pulled me down and I hit my side and then my head. She got loose and just missed getting run over. The next thing I knew she was just sitting beside me while I lay on my back.

A man got out of the car with two children – not little ones – and asked if I was OK because he saw me hit my head. I said I was, but I clearly wasn't. Instead of coming over, he just said in a monotone, "Someone should help her up. Someone should help her up." He clearly couldn't be afraid of the dog who, as I said, was just sitting there. The kids were big enough to help, but they didn't move either.

It is reunion weekend at Mount Holyoke, and three women wearing the traditional white dresses approached. Two just stood there. The third, an older woman walking with a limp, said, "Someone should help her up." The other two looked at me and walked away, leaving the third to try to help me up. Finally I rolled over onto my hands and knees and got up...looking at the backs of the women so engrossed in their conversation that they could not be bothered.

Meanwhile my new friend walked me to the nearby art museum, where I tied the dog up outside and went in to get a tissue for the blood dripping down my arm. She was as upset as I was about the others walking away.

I thanked her for her help and hobbled home, where I iced the immediately sore bruise on my thigh. My eyes were welling up with tears, and Deborah could hear it in my voice when she called to ask if I wanted to come over for cake and coffee. So she got berries too. That made me feel better, but still...

On Tuesday, Maddie has an appointment with a pet behaviorist.

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