Sunday, May 16, 2010

Call Your Dogs

Last night my son and I went to see his High School’s production of West Side Story, as his English teacher gives extra-credit if the kids go and write a critique. His High School has a wonderful drama and music department, and the production was both done well and enjoyable to watch.

But wait, isn’t this a dog blog?

One of the scenes in the play, near the beginning, has a few kids from one gang playing basketball when a few kids from another gang show up. The ball is past from the gang with few to the gang with more people, then a few more kids show up from the opposing gang and the ball is against past to the gang with the most people. Pretty soon you have a skirmish, fists fly, and the cops show up.

But wait, isn’t his a dog blog?

This morning, as Hubbie and I were out walking the boys (on leash) and enjoying the beautiful weather, our peace and quiet was disturbed by a pair of off-leash Rottweilers roaring up behind us. They had obviously bolted out of the backyard of the house we were in front of.

I’ve seen the dogs before, from a distance, tied up in their garage, usually with a woman yelling at them to stop barking as we walked past.

They don’t listen.

Today I got to see them in all their well-cared for glory. I’m guessing they aren’t full grown yet, as they are on the small side. One is probably female and the other male – possibly siblings. I’ve never spoken with the owners, so I can only guess.

Today, they were running full tilt at my pair of on-leash Goldens. A quick assessment of body language didn’t show any (initial) ill-intent. They seemed excited and curious, although not playful. I kept walking with Zachary as the smaller dog (female?) came up and started sniffing him. My boys are neither aggressive nor combative, and I was hoping if I just kept moving we would get out of the Rotties area of interest and they would leave.

Not seeing any humans around, I bellowed out “Call Your Dogs!!!” as I’m trying to walk Zachary down the sidewalk.

Hubbie had it harder. (a) He had Beau – who, while just as friendly as Zachary, is also much more interested in meeting other dogs than Zachary and (b) the larger (male?) Rottie had taken an interest in Beau.

Both my dogs are intact, and the smell of intact dogs have a way of ticking off neutered dogs (assuming the Rotties are) and as the female circled around to get a better whiff of Zachary my concern was growing.

“Call Your Dogs!!!” I screamed again, this time resulting in a head popping over the fence and a man yelling for his dogs to come. To their credit, they at least considered it, but only for a moment.

At this point, I was pretty sure that the dog with Zachary wasn’t a problem (at least so long as her counterpart didn’t start anything) being more pushy and curious than showing any effort to pull rank, but I was less sure of the other dog now a good 20 feet away with Beau. Although both turned toward their house when called, the larger dog immediately came back to Beau, with head held high and prancing.

Not exactly the best of signs.

“Call your Dogs!!!”

“I am calling my F-ing dogs!!!” comes a voice again.

Good for you – but it didn’t seem to be working.

I had continued to walk, and by this time Hubby had managed to move Beau along as well, and the owner finally appeared from behind the fence and somehow grabbed his dogs.

Were the dog’s aggressive? No, I don’t think so. I think they were teenagers checking out the “strange” dogs on their sidewalk. If I had just stood there would a play bow have ensued? Quite possibly…

… and yet, there could just as easily have been a rumble (and my boys would have been toast.)

I feel for the owner of the Rotties, in the sense I doubt Beau would have recalled either under those circumstances (although Zachary might) and he was probably a bit embarrassed his dogs were out.

On the other hand, my heart was going a mile a minute, I’m pissed that the owner let it happen, and I keep replaying the What-Ifs in my head. I worry about what the dogs will be like in another six months, and hope the owner thinks to check his gate.

I usually like to end a post with some sort of conclusion, but today I can’t really think of one. Maybe one will come to me while I go out back and check to make sure the latch on my own backyard gate is closed.


katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

I'm so sorry you had this scary experience. Obviously I am a rottie lover, but even I as an owner of a Rottie am cautious with others. I get so appalled at owners who are so careless. It is especially sad as Rotties are so smart and can be raised with an incredible drive to please. But they are a strong, powerful breed and require teaching and guidance or how will they ever know how to behave appropriately? I feel for those dogs and pray they are not a breeding pair. I wish they did not get such a bad reputation because of irresponsible owners. Mostly I am glad no harm was done, and hope you can have a better walk next time!

BZ Dogs said...

I've had many wonderful Rottie friends over the years, and the ones I have known have always been gentle with children and friendly toward people and other dogs - but ANY time I see a large, powerful dog running toward my dogs I get worried.

To be honest, my boys have been growled at by more Golden Retrievers than any other breed. Talk about sad. :(

Wendy Krehbiel said...

Hmmm, I'm envisioning if I had been the one walking my goldens through this situation. My golden would have had the rottie pinned to the ground and me hoping that damage had not been done. Would not have been pretty and I would have been very distressed that I put my reactive dog in a situation where he felt the need to react. While that may have helped the owner to realize he needed to manage his dogs better or else train them better it wouldn't have been good for anything else. Guess that's part of why I don't walk in neighborhoods with my dogs much...

BZ Dogs said...

My friend's OES would have probably done the same. I just hope it was a one time thing and isn't a sign of things to come. The house is one we walk past frequently. :(