It’s OK, My Dog is Friendly

English: "A Mad Dog in a Coffee-House&quo...

English: “A Mad Dog in a Coffee-House” by Rowlandson, showing a rabid dog terrorizing a coffee house in 18th century England (possibly Garrison’s or Jonathan’s, near the Exchange). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Um, no it isn’t ok.  I’m glad your dog is friendly.  That’s nice for you.  My dogs aren’t friendly, therefore your dog charging up to my dog is a problem.  You can consider your dog a member of your family (I do the same), you can call your dog your kid or your baby, but guess what?  It’s a dog.  Which means if your dog runs up to mine, and mine freak out, yours will too.  Because they’re DOGS.  I know you love your beasts, I love mine too.

Dogs in the city are generally pretty awesome.  They tend to be well trained, and tolerant of sharing “their” space with others.  Some are better than others.  Mine fall into the “other” category when it comes to dealing with other dogs.  They are not going to share the elevator nicely with your dogs, so when I see you on the elevator, I’m not getting on.  I do this in the interests of everyone’s peace and safety.  Trust me, they’re mine, I know them.  So stop holding the fucking “open” button on the doors, trying to convince me to get on with them when you see them freaking out, and there’s an elderly woman cringing in the corner behind her shopping cart.  It’s ok, they are my responsibility so I can wait for the next elevator.

Big Senile Dog won’t bark at another dog across the street or down the block, but he doesn’t want to pass right next to another.  For the love of all that’s holy, you people with ultra friendly pups, when you see someone else walking a dog who is clearly bobbing and weaving to avoid run-ins with others, don’t wait for them, or follow them so the dogs can say hello and “make friends.”  Sorry, my dog doesn’t want to make friends.  He wants you and your dog to get the fuck away from him.  I do my part, you do yours, please.  Go to the dog run.  Really.  If Cesar Millan is with you, fine.  Otherwise, let me move away.

Having a dog in the city is wonderful, but it’s tricky.  You do have to make sure the dog gets enough exercise, and you have to be aware of the many dangers.  Cars, bikes, poison, rats, the list goes on.  I’m sure there are equivalent dangers in the suburbs and in rural areas.  But somehow, we seem to have this privileged subset of dog owners who don’t think these dangers could ever, possibly apply to their beloved Rover.

Bucket-headed dog

Bucket-headed dog (Photo credit: Paul Kidd)

I’m always in awe of the sheer stupidity of some people.  Truly, the vast majority of city dog owners are great, caring, and responsible.  Their pets are well cared for, groomed, exercised, loved.  But then you have the few who think all the dog needs to be happy and healthy is unconditional smooshies and freedom.  There are leash laws for a reason.  The reason is to PROTECT YOUR DOG as much if not more than anything else.  You think your dog will always listen to you no matter what.  Mmm hmm.  These are the siblings of My-Kid-Would-Never, and their names are My-Dog-Would-Never.  Yes, they will.  Given the right/wrong circumstances, your dog will indeed get into a fight with another dog, scare a child, run into the street and become urban road kill.  I have seen this more times than I can tell you, and it inevitably ends with the dog owner sobbing because they “don’t know what happened, Mitzi has never run into the street before.”  I know what happened, Mitzi is a fucking dog and you treated her like a child old enough for higher order thinking!  **I am excluding

professionally trained service dogs from this, because they truly are amazing**

Now here come the cousins to My-Dog-Would-Never-and-Doesn’t-Need-a-Leash, My-Dog-Would-Never-So-I-Let-Him-Have-All-25-feet-of-the-Retractable-Leash.  Can I slap you now?  The freakin dog might as well be off the damned lead!  Large or small, if that dog runs into the street when a car is coming and the car doesn’t see him, that’s the end of the dog.  If you’ve got a little dog who startles another, larger, unfriendly dog, your dog is getting his butt kicked before you can get him in your arms.

City Dogs Are Friends

City Dogs Are Friends (Photo credit: ilovemypit)

If you’ve got a big dog at the end of that lead and they take off after a juicy rat, odds are excellent that you will either let go of the lead, get your wrist/arm broken trying to hold her back, or at the very least, you’ll end up on the ground.  It’s science (physics?), a big dog with four on the floor with 15-25 feet of running lead has a lot more traction than you do.  Hell, a 50 pound dog with four on the floor has more traction than many.

There are options for people with friendly, well trained dogs to be off leash and romp with other dogs.  There are dog runs throughout the city, and dogs can be off-leash in Central Park from dawn until 9am, and from 9pm until park closing.  By the way, just because you can let them off leash doesn’t mean you should.   If your dog is not friendly or well trained, those ordinances won’t magically make your dog friendly and obedient.

This has been a public service announcement from Mrs Fringe.

Polski: trufla nosowa psa

Polski: trufla nosowa psa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. Dog is one of those submissive, super-friendly, bounce into your face dogs, and he just doesn’t understand that not everyone wants to be bounced. He’s an awesome dog, and he’s smart as a whip, but he’s a DOG, and it’s up to us to help him learn that not everyone in the world is a friend, and you can’t just run up to them and sniff their butts without an invitation. Thanks for bringing up this important topic. We’d never let Dog off-leash with strange dogs around. We love him too much.


      1. Um, no, totally not my thing, but you do stand the very real risk of being hugged if we ever meet up. I am a serial hugger, but not terribly bouncy. 🙂


          1. Awwww…*checks prices on flights to NYC*. *sigh* We may have to wait awhile longer to find out.


  2. Well, I am aghast. In Brazil the business associations hire snipers to pick off street kids prowling at night. For owners, I’m thinking. You must love these dogs. Seems like everyone here has at least one dog, and they all run wild. So many people come and go the dogs get passed from owner to owner, and they have histories passed around like celebrities. There are only so many people to gossip about, so dogs get reps. All I remember about city dogs is the calculating look of hunger while they trotted wolf-like in the shadows…never taking their hollow eyes off of me.


    1. Thinking coyotero must be particularly juicy…
      Yes, we love our dogs. But let’s face it, if you truly love your dog, you don’t let him run wild on city streets.

      Costa Rican streets, a whole different story 😀


      1. Saw a beach dog in a swale a week or so ago. Went to look, it had a poisonous beach snake it was tossing in the air. Finally found pics. Went to Tamarindo’s park, Manglar Park, and didn’t consider the name much until we went in and found two full-size Turkey Buzzards tearing some small pet to pieces. Mean streets here…Joe Peschi to star in “Resevoir Dogs of Dengue Alley.”


      2. Saw a beach dog in a swale a week or so ago. Went to look, it had a poisonous beach snake it was tossing in the air. Finally found pics. Went to Tamarindo’s park, Manglar Park, and didn’t consider the name much until we went in and found two full-size Turkey Buzzards tearing some small pet to pieces. Mean streets here…Joe Peschi to star in “Resevoir Dogs of Dengue Alley.”


  3. Here here!

    I’m fairly glad I don’t live in the City, as my dog does not like other dogs in her face. Conversely, had she grown up in the city, she would have been better socialized and not mind it so much (my big mistake with her).

    I hate retractable leashes, regardless. And oblivious owners.


    1. Hi Jen 🙂
      It’s true, most dogs who grow up in the city are better socialized. Some, like Big Senile Dog, are too alpha to be worried about manners 😉

      oblivious owners, yup. That’s the bottom line. 🙂


  4. And to think my PSA of the day was gonna be “cats really like bamboo. Don’t let your kid buy a decorative one that he wants to keep in his room, cuz the cat will gnaw off every single leaf in an hour flat.” Anyway- very good stuff here. Seriously, people who treat their pets like spoiled children are doing the animals and everyone around them a huge disservice.


    1. LOL, once again we find ourselves on the same page 😀

      Poor bamboo plant.
      And yes, it isn’t really funny, animals are animals. Doesn’t mean they aren’t loved and valued, they just aren’t human.


  5. I can’t even imagine the time it must take to have a dog – let alone two – in such a place. A handful of kitten showed up on our balcony last night. I’m already worn out cooking her scrambled eggs and taking her out. Ticos here feed kittens to their dogs to keep them mean and in the mood to attack burglars or other unwanted guests, so it was a rescue mission. Need an attack cat to ride shotgun on your outings?
    On my Way…


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