This is a rather emotional Post for me. It recounts an incident that happened yesterday, and emotions still run high when I think about it!
Sometimes I feel rather embarrassed to be an obvious member of the male sex. Since Ray moved in with us, there have been many occasions when we have met an “all dogs love me” male. Never a female… always a male!
Many of you know that Ray’s background is unknown however, he initially resented (perhaps feared) human contact unless he knew the individual really well. When approached by somebody he did not know, he had a very effective lunge and bark routine to make the person go away. It was very effective!
Over the past four years, and with much professional help, Ray changed so much. He is now a bit of a social butterfly, but the “lunge and bark” routine still surfaces occasionally and is usually because of an insensitive or careless approach by somebody.
We never allow anybody to hug him, and we deter strangers from greeting him “face to face”. It’s not that he would necessarily object, but we do not feel that we have the right to gamble with somebody else’s health and well being. Also of course, we see no reason to subject Ray to an unnecessarily stressful situation.
Over the past four years, we have also got to know Ray well enough to recognize some pre “lunge and bark” signals, so we can diffuse delicate moments.
On our walk yesterday, we met an “all dogs love me” male! He totally swept away our suggestions that he did not get too familiar with Ray. We explained our concerns, and Ray’s history, and he decided to preach to us about dog characteristics and how one deals with them. We know this individual and would question his validation in anything relating to canines!
He did hold back for a few minutes, but then tried to coax Ray closer to him. Ray responded appropriately and moved closer and, as the man bent down to touch him, we saw Ray tense up and we immediately distracted him (Ray). I thought we made it quite clear that we were not happy with his approach, but I guess not. He than lay down on the grass and, again, was trying to get Ray to go to him. Ray was looking down at him and suddenly went tense and fixated the man with his eyes. Again we immediately distracted Ray.
What happened next was what triggered this Post. The man, who seemed to believe that he knew everything there was to know about dogs, told us not to distract Ray. He was very confident that he could handle him and, if necessary, would simply grab him by the throat! He was explaining that with “I hope you don’t mind”!!!!
I explained that I really did mind and, if he ever tried that with Ray, he could well lose a hand! The man was then distracted and we continued on our walk… but I was so amazed at the display of stupidity, thoughtlessness… and arrogance of this man.
He was stupid because Ray’s (any dog’s) reactions are so much faster than ours that, unless he was remarkably lucky, I would suggest a severe dog bite would have been the outcome.
He was thoughtless because having explained to him the programs and training over four years that has resulted in Ray trusting people, he could consider grabbing Ray’s throat and potentially putting Ray’s development back a few years!
He was arrogant because… well… all of the above!