Two years ago, I got a dog. Her name is Ginger. That’s her to the left, laying down at the dog park after we ran around for 20 minutes. She’s a pretty good dog. She sleeps on the floor next to my bed. She lays on her blankets in the living room while I’m watching T.V. She lays on her blanket in the office while I’m playing on the computer. She jumps up and down when I come home. And, generally, she does dog-like things.
She also has a problem with people running up to her. She doesn’t bite. She doesn’t even really growl, but she does cower a little bit and her hackles will raise. She was probably abused at some point in her early life. She’s not a huge fan of new people to the point where she cowered and whined at a friend of mine whom she’s only seen maybe once or twice.
Most afternoons, Ginger and I go for a walk around my neighborhood. During our walks, I usually wear headphones so that I can listen to one of the many podcasts that I enjoy. I usually walk at a brisk pace (exercise for both me and the pup), my head watching my feet, watching my dog, and watching where we are going. In general, I ignore people.
Recently (for the past few nights anyway) other families have been out enjoying the lovely “fall” air. And kids have run up to my dog, begging to pet her. At least, I think that’s why they are doing. As previously stated, I have headphones in.
Yesterday, two teens asked something, to which I didn’t respond (headphones). When I didn’t react, they proceeded to reach out and try to pat Ginger on the head. Ginger, of course, cowered. At which point, I had to take my headphones out and tell them that, no, they can’t pet my dog.
Similar thing happened tonight. I saw a family in front of me, walking toward us with their dog. So I crossed the street. Let me repeat that – I purposefully crossed the street. Away from the approaching family. So, of course, the dad rides his bike over and shouts at me as I’m walking away with my headphones in. When I don’t respond, the two girls run in front of me, effectively blocking my path.
What’s my point? I understand I own a cute dog. She looks fluffy and friendly and, honestly, she probably won’t mind being pet by a little kid. But I’m walking at a brisk pace, I have headphones in, and I didn’t respond to your questions. Maybe you should tell your kids to continue your walk in peace and not run up to an unknown dog and stick your hand in her face.
Am I wrong in this? Should I stop my stroll to let every kid pat Ginger on the head? Should I interrupt my podcast enjoyment by removing my head phones to first listen to their request and then deny them? Or am I completely in my right to just ignore them and continue on my walk without stopping?