I’ve never really been a dog person. Always preferred cats. They’re cuter, and quieter, and less smelly.
But since I became a mother, and a runner, I’ve really started to detest dogs with a passion.
I know I should probably qualify this by saying, yeah, ok, not all dogs are bad. Not all dog-owners are bad. There are plenty of responsible dog-owners out there whose animals don’t defecate all over the pavement, snap at my heels and chase my terrified children.
Right? Happy now, responsible dog-owners? Good.
The North Yorkshire town in which I live is beautiful. It’s stunning. There’s nothing more gorgeous than going for a walk along the canal in the glorious sunshine, admiring the view… until you smell a foul smell and realise you’ve stepped in a steaming pile of dog mess. Because it’s everywhere. All over the pavements. All over the canal paths. All over the bridges. All over the parks.
Then there are the rampaging dogs themselves, off their leads at all times, running around the parks and along the countryside paths, yapping and snapping and tripping up runners and dashing up to children and barking in their faces. Always accompanied by the refrain: “It’s all right, he won’t hurt anyone!” Which is not really the point when Buster is twice your child’s size and trying to lick their face.
A week ago I went for a run along the canal path near our home. A small dog, off its lead, ignoring its owner, chased after me. The temptation to boot it into the canal was overwhelming. Instead, I jumped, hopped and skipped to try to avoid standing on the dratted thing. I have no idea why.
Thrown off balance myself, I fell flat on my face. Picking myself up, with a quick glance of shame to see how many people had witnessed my humiliation, I kept on going.
Two hundred yards further down the canal, another dog off its lead started chasing me. This one was bigger. Not small enough to drop-kick into the canal, unfortunately. I settled for giving its owner an earful instead.
Two days later, at the park, a horrible looking mutt was running around off its lead while its owners sat on the park bench drinking cans of Special. It went tearing up to my four-year-old daughter, jumped up, frightening the life out of her, and then went for a widdle on my baby’s changing bag.
So there you have it. That’s why I’m really anti-dog this week. Next week, I’ll probably have a few more reasons…