A lighthearted title, a not-so-lighthearted post. This subject has been bothering me a while and I realized since it was troubling me and has been for a while, why not blog about it.
It’s clearly no secret Isaac does not like other dogs. I thank my lucky stars every day that he’s not mean to Lucy because when Isaac meets any other dog, he is downright nasty. I’m talking snarling, snapping and I’m sure if I weren’t able to hold him back, biting.
So what, besides the obvious of Isaac’s behavior, is actually bothering me? The judging.
Isaac needs his daily walks because he has so much energy. But on said walks, we obviously occasionally run into other dogs and it causes me a ton of stress and yes, embarrassment. I feel as if everyone judges me for my dog’s bad – and scary – behavior. I want to scream, “he came to me this way!”
Is that selfish? I don’t know, maybe. But I’m also defending Isaac. Something happened that made him mean to other dogs; no dog is born this way. Maybe it was just the fact that he was attacked as a puppy. I don’t know. But it’s hard to explain to random strangers within the five seconds we cross paths that he’s a foster, that he’s been this way since we got him, that he got attacked as a puppy, etc.; all the people care about is potential danger to their dogs, which I get, I really do.
What sparked this post? Today on our walk I saw a black lab walking towards us. We were on the main street of our town with no way to cross to the other side during “rush hour” traffic (in quotes because Central PA doesn’t have real rush hour) so I knew I had to brace myself for a nasty confrontation. When this dog and his family got within five feet, I quickly said, “he doesn’t like other dogs.”
To which the mother said “oh great” right before Isaac proceeded to lunge and snarl at the other dog, practically taking a bite out of his neck.
The “oh great” comment is what got to me. I understand it; I don’t know what other reaction she should have had. But I felt as if I were being blamed and judged for Isaac’s behavior when in reality, I don’t know even who to blame! If I knew why he behaved the way he did maybe I could solve it.
There’s no real point to this post, just a need to vent. And express my sadness that whatever Isaac experienced before we got him made him angry at, and maybe even scared of, other dogs. All my other fosters I’ve been able to “fix.” There is no “fix” for Isaac right now, just continued love.
An obvious question to address, though, is whether we ever feel unsafe around Isaac. The answer? Never. Never ever. I can lay on him, hug him, kiss him, pet him, clean his ears, etc. and he has never once made a mean move toward myself, Marty or any other person. So I know his temperament is kind, there’s just something in him that is set off my other dogs.