Friday, November 12, 2010

Irresponsible Pet Ownership - 101

I'm not a dog trainer, nor am I a dog expert. I have, however, grown up with dogs my entire life. I like to think that when it comes to learning how to deal with your animal, I at least have a preliminary basis of information.

For example, I know that my dog requires fresh food and water every day. I know that my dog requires shelter, and a place to sleep. And I know that my dog requires to go outside throughout the day. To ensure that my dog does not get lost, hurt, hit by a car, or attack someone / something else, I keep my dog on the leash. I figure, it's one of the fundamental steps of dog ownership. Unless your dog will literally stop, drop, and roll from 500 metres away via the command of your voice, it should be kept on a leash.

In Hurghada, people find this logic silly. This includes European pet owners, not just Egyptians. (Who, btw, I have seen allow a 6 week puppy off the leash, to follow them in the streets. This would be all well and good if cars here didn't make one of their sole objectives in driving hitting objects at large, including dogs.) *and in all good sense, WHO LETS A 6 WEEK OLD PUPPY WANDER AROUND ON ITS OWN!!!*

So I take Orien out for a nice walk this afternoon. Two streets away from my house, there's an expanse of desert that is great for dog walking. Were I less intelligent, I'd let him off the leash to wander around. Then end up spending half my afternoon chasing him to get him back on the lead. :p

We're in the desert, minding our own business, and I see a lady walking up the road. She's holding a lead. About 200 meters in front of her, is her dog. Breed unknown. Now, picture this. Orien and I are about 1/3 mile away across the desert. Her dog sees Orien. Starts barking, and proceed to march towards us. Said dog's owner, simply continues strolling up the road. I'm standing there thinking, "OK, she'll call him back any second" - I mean, where am I supposed to go? Turn around and retreat into the desert so said dog can follow us further?

As this dog gets closer, he starts barking. Raises the hair on the back of his neck. Finally, said dog's owner realises that "hmm, maybe I should call my dog." Starts shouting out his name, no urgency. Nothing. Said dog does not respond. (A fairly good indication, you stupid woman, that you should keep your dog ON THE EFFIN LEAD). Said dog gets close enough to Orien where I can hear him growling. Now, Orien is not an aggressive dog. He would play with everyone were I to let him. I am however, trying to break his habit of essentially dislocating my arm whenever he sees another dog. So I have him sitting quietly next to me. Just watching this fiasco play out.

Lady finally gets close enough, saying "quiet *insert dogs name here*, it's ok. There's no problem." I can see, she is grossly mistaken, and there is indeed a problem, as said dog is rolling his eyes and growling at Orien. She then tells me "Don't worry, he just gets nervous around other dogs on a leash." Oh really? How interesting! What kind of phenomenon is this?

Her dog comes closer, and sniffs Orien. Deciding instantly he didn't like him. AND ATTACKS MY DOG. This whole time, the dog owner is still standing there saying "it's ok, come here *name*, don't worry!" The noise of him attacking Orien attracts another dog. Owned by another EQUALLY IRRESPONSIBLE PERSON, who proceeds to join in the fray. This dog, an enormous male German Shepherd.

Next thing I know, I'm doing everything in my power to get BOTH dogs off of my dog, who is pinned to the ground, while these two assholes are biting every bit of him they can reach. I finally manage to grab the collar of the Shepherd, who's owner is slowly walking up to us calling his dogs name. The stupid woman owner of the first dog, just STANDS THERE AND WATCHES, while I'm trying to break this fight apart. Seriously, could you BE any more stupid.

After I manage to break them up, kick her dog away, and she FINALLY realises that *hmm, maybe I should grab his collar* she proceeds to tell me, while I'm trying to calm Orien down, who is shaking and looking very forlorn, "Oh, I hope he's ok!" Fortunately I was more concerned about my Dog, otherwise that woman's face would have made a very intimate relationship with my fist.

As we're walking away. I see the epitome of intelligence exhibited in this country. A doorman, who had seen the fight happen, had RELEASED his two dogs, again, BOTH OFF THE LEAD, to come and investigate. Yes. Genius. That's EXACTLY what needed to happen. Orien wasn't having it. These two dogs came close, and all I could hear was the jet engine sounds of him growling at them. You know at this point, he's just thinking "WTF man! I'm just out here to PEE!!!"

Fortunately, Orien has come away with just a few cuts and bruises. Thank God he has had his shots, so I don't have to worry about how much more irresponsible these other owners could have been. Now, he's sitting in the corner of my bedroom, licking his wounds and looking very sorry for himself.

I just cannot get over the stupidity of some people here. So for anyone and everyone reading this who owns a dog, for the love of God. KEEP IT ON A LEAD.

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