I have been having one of those moments of self reproach, where I have been trying to decide if my reaction to a situation was warranted and appropriate. There is a dog in my area that belongs to an older couple, an old Jack Russel that raises it’s hackles, bares it’s teeth and growls at other dogs when they pass by. I have experienced a few run ins with this pooch while out walking my clients pets and thankfully I have managed to avert disaster. One time the offending pooch came flying at one of my smaller, more timid clients, but thankfully her larger German Shepherd house mate stepped in between her and the oncoming attack and the dog turned tail and ran when Marcus let out a bark. Then there was the day I was walking Mattie and I realized that the little terror was racing up at her from behind and I grabbed her and picked her up in the nick of time before a brawl ensued. The third time I was heading towards the park and passed by the home of this couple when it jumped off the lap of the gentleman and came charging at Lucas and Diesel, the man made no attempt to stop his pet. The fiesty little thing came racing at the boys from behind, I could hear him growling and was trying to walk expeditiously, hoping that the owners would circumvent the little scoundrel…but no. Thankfully the dog realized it was about to ‘bite’ off more than it could chew, and backed up slowly and returned home. Which brings me to the most recent encounter. My spouse and I were out walking with three of the dogs on a lovely wintry day, as we came down a path that leads towards home and went to turn left I heard the all too familiar sound of that angry little dog starting to bark. I looked across the street and the elderly lady saw us and let go of the dogs leash? First off, I was flummoxed by the fact that she didn’t give a thought to the concept that a car could have come round the corner and flattened her dog in an instance. Second, the dog wasn’t making sounds that indicated it wanted to play and make friends, the dog wanted to kick some ass, it was a plain and simple message that was pretty clear to me. The dog charged across the road, hair raised and it was at this moment I made a split decision, normally I practice avoidance, the path of least resistance. The problem was, I knew that one of the dogs I had with me was going to be a target as she is timid and doesn’t react well to such advances, which in turn would cause my dog to react poorly and then the third dog would join in. I could see there was going to be a dog fight and frankly I wasn’t interested in having to take one of my charges for stitches! In that moment I decided to turn around with the one dog I had that is a sturdy, muscular boy that truth be told is a lover, not a fighter, but I knew he could hold his own if required. I decided we would meet the dog head on and stand our ground! I was tired of this little neighbourhood bully. The Jack Russel charged, teeth bared and growling, whilst my little bud stood there wondering what it’s deal was. I was staring down the dog, eyes locked and in my sternest voice told it to back off. My spouse kept walking to get the other two out of the fray. It was then the lady across the street got this worried look in her eyes and said “he won’t hurt anyone…” I was at a loss for words, there was the empathetic part of me that felt like an ass for standing our ground and not backing away as per usual. At the same time I was frustrated and angry and ready to give the woman a lecture on animal behaviour! I wanted to say that it isn’t all right for you to allow your pooch to terrorize other people’s dogs! It isn’t acceptable behaviour to let your animal’s leash go and allow your pet to run across the road, because cars are bigger and your dog isn’t impervious, as nasty as your pooch is, I don’t want to see it become a pancake. And lastly, she is dang lucky that I haven’t called the city and reported them, they seem to have a blatant disregard for proper decorum in the animal world. When your dog is growling, showing it’s teeth and aggressing towards other dogs that is not okay! I have found myself on a daily basis as I am out walking thinking about that afternoon and wondering if I behaved poorly. Should I have done what I usually do, try and get the heck out of the way and hope that her dog backs down and goes home. The message I was attempting to convey was that I had had enough, that I was no longer going to tolerate the bullying behaviour of her pet, if she wanted to let her senior dog come guns blazing at whom ever’s pooch happens by, that perhaps one day her dog will be woefully unprepared for the precipitated attack. The message I was hoping she received was “smarten up”, and that I am sick and tired of worrying her dog is going to hurt one of my clients. Hopefully I handled the situation properly, time will tell. I love all animals, and truth be told I worry about the well being of her dog, but I feel I have a greater purpose to take care of my pack.