A Rant about the Dogs of Montpelier,
or rather about their irresponsible owners
“Oh but Vermont is so dog friendly! You see them everywhere!” That’s what I’m told repeatedly by locals.
This morning, a Great Dane corners me and my two dogs on a street near my home. His owner says the dog is friendly, don’t worry. She calls him. He keeps on charging at us. I back up, further away but the Great Dane keeps coming at us.
I tell her that my dogs don’t like off-leash dogs lunging at me. They’ll react. “I’m doing my best,” I tell her “but please, get your dog under control.”
She calls her dog, he doesn’t come to her.
This morning, a Pyrenees charges at me and my two dogs on a street near my home. The owners are inside. The dog is outside, a bark deep as the Rio Grande, jumping in place. I freeze. My two dogs flinch, scared and fearful of such a huge dog threatening us. The owners stay inside.
Since moving here, a year ago, my dogs and I have been charged at, cornered, and lunged at while owners have called, “oh he’s just being friendly.”
- Another Great Dane pulled her owner off her feet to charge at us. “She’s a puppy, it’s okay,” claimed the woman helplessly.
- A huge black lab ripped himself off his rope and cornered me against a lamp post while a man, his owner presumably, sat on the deck and didn’t react. Luckily my dogs weren’t with me as this one pushed at me, nipping me, keeping me in place until a woman came out of the house telling me how friendly the dog is. “This is not friendly behavior,” I said evenly while the dog had me stuck in place.
- A white lab pulled his owner off her feet as she yelled at me that it was all my fault and her dog was under control and fuck you bitch she screamed. She is a neighbor.
- Two standard poodles charge at us each time they see us on the street where we live. Walks are timed to when these two are locked inside their house.
- A German Shephard charges at me at work one day and bites my knee from behind, ripping through the Carhartt’s thick material to leave puncture wounds and a large fist sized bruise that lasted ten days. The owner tells me that he’s done it before.
Responsible. The ability to respond.
I’d add, the desire to respond.
My dogs now are reactive to others. Before we moved here, they loved to see and play with other dogs. Nowadays, it’s a different story. One that will take consistent monitoring and work on my behalf. They cringe and bark and defend me as these oh-so-friendly dogs charge at us, scare us, corner us. I don’t blame them. I feel the same way. I’d love to yell and scream and scare the fuck out of these dogs and their humans.
These owners do nothing either. Not one of these owners has apologized. Instead they turn it around, blaming my dogs for reacting and barking back, for trying to keep me safe. They claim these dogs of theirs are friendly. One even screamed at me outside her home. These examples above are not the only times, I could list many more times that we’ve been threatened.
I don’t agree that Vermont is such a dog-friendly place. Apparently, I have a different understanding of how to be a responsible dog owner. I’m doing my best for my dogs but it’s not easy.