unprofessional... inappropriate... incompetent... and unapologetic...

before I start in on a quick edit let me remind the person or two that decides to read this...
I am not only a dog person... I am also a dog owner

for 8 years I had two dogs...
four years ago Roscoe died... which leaves me with a very mature Brutus
Brutus has mellowed with age
but when Roscoe and Brutus were around... they were like adolescent brothers... somewhat mischievous adolescent brothers
so... I know a little about dog behavior
and dog mis-behavior

my dogs barked at people... they may even have gotten angry or aggressive a few times
being the city there was a certain feeling that this was not an entirely bad behavior for the dogs to occasionally bark when my wife was walking the dog... the barking was curbed and controlled... but not entirely forbidden
the dogs usually tapped into something about the person that made them feel as if that person may be sketchy

I worked to contain them and I was apologetic when they were out of line

if I anticipated that they may be ready to bark and an undeserving passerby
I would preempt it

I understand that dogs will be dogs
but I also understand that dogs can be trained and should be kept under control

on with my rant
need to get this out and get on with my day

there are always two sides to the story
it would intrigue me to be that fly on the wall who could hear the other side of this story

and unapologetic...

so... there are some home projects that need to be done
with a 100 year old house there are always some home projects that need to be done
just got off the phone with a contractor to see if they can take on a job that I fear is over my head
well... not so much over my head... maybe more than I want to tackle

I feel that these guys could knock it out not only more quickly... not only more quickly but also cleaner and crisper
sometimes when I get involved in a home project it plays out like a Disney film
but really... there is no comedy to my comedy of errors

while that job may be too big
there are other jobs that are within my reach

right now we need some toilet repair...
the boys were wrestling in the bathroom and broke the toilet seat
on top of that the upstairs toilet is not working right... it keeps running after it is flushed
easy enough... it needs a new flapper
while replacing the flapper... I will replace the lever... the lever is all gross and corroded

funny... I just replaced the other bathroom's flapper and lever
maybe I should come to know that one needs replacement that the other is not far behind

having just bought a flapper and a lever for the downstairs bathroom leaves me confident that Old School Hardware in Mount Pleasant would have the items I needed
or at least some of the items needed

I was not sure if they would have the replacement toilet seat
leaving me wondering if I will have to march all the way up to Bed Bath and Beyond for that item... which had me debating between walking and riding
driving? driving would be totally unnecessary
on of the main benefits of having a neighborhood hardware store is not having to get into the car

on foot it was... out the back gate and up the alley
weaving through the neighborhood of Mount Pleasant I see my UPS guy
we pause from our tasks of the day and exchange hellos
I ask him what his twins were for Halloween

his twins were born roughly around the same time as my older son
which makes it easy for me to have a rough idea of how old they are and what sort of stuff he might be going through

there was a pause... and then the information was delivered

Spider Woman and Obama

there was hesitancy in telling me what his son had dressed as...
his daughter's costume choice was shared without so much as a stutter
but his son dressing as Obama came out with a delay

it can be delicate to discuss politics with people whose views are not known to you
how would he know how I felt about our current president?

the Obama costume immediately redirected us to a conversation about politics
Health Care and our need for Health Care Reform was a notion that met much agreement

luckily we were had a shared understanding with each other and parted as friends
we ended our pleasant conversation and then each returned our attention to the tasks of the day

switching my focus forward I start marching up the block
down the block was a woman walking two dogs; a Bernese mountain dog and what looked to be a pit bull
the large hairy Bernese mountain dog was barking

it did not look like this was the owner of the dogs
it appeared to be a professional dog walker
as I walked up the block she took the dogs to the grass along the sidewalk
then she said something
moving forward I did not pay much attention to her and her utterance
it was all a bit mousy
I thought that she was talking on her cell phone
she had some wires dangling from her ears

the dog continued to bark
I then realized that the dog was barking at me
then this young woman in her urban hipster "I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel in the inside" gear starts in on me
all the while the dog is still barking at me

what is this all about?

first the dog barks at me
now the dog walker is barking at me

never had I seen or heard any effort by the dog walker to curb the dog's behavior
yes... she held the leash... but she did not seem to be communicating with the dog
there is more to dog walking than being able to pick up hot steamy poop

this young woman with her mousy way starts telling me that she had asked me to "hold on"
sure... I had heard her say something... but it did not seem to be directed at me
it seemed like she was talking on the phone

"hold on" is a pretty common collection of words when it comes to phone conversations

I told her that I had not realized that she was talking to me... while this large dog pulls away from her and then lunges for me

somewhat spooked...
okay totally spooked... I take a quick step back and try to continue on my way
away and free and clear from this barking dog

heart rate up... totally spooked that a 100 plus pound dog is looking at me like I am public enemy number one
the dog walker follows a step behind with this barking dog right at my heels

adrenalin bringing on the flight or fight response
I choose flight
not running... but trying to move about my way
with the young woman and dogs following me I stop

dogs are instinctual... if you run... they will chase
I prefer to meet the conflict of the woman and the conflict of the dog face to face

so this young woman in punk rock attire continues... apparently it is my fault that the dog is barking
she tells me that I am large and intimidating
she tells me that I was trying to stare this dog down


I am just walking down the sidewalk in my neighborhood
trying to get to the hardware store... stopping to make small talk with my UPS guy
somehow it is my fault

the dog is still barking
the dog walker has done nothing to tell the dog to stop barking
never has there been anything more than the holding of the leash
I am not comfortable in this situation... I feel as if this woman is threatening me with the dog
like a weapon

okay... this young woman had the look of a dog walker
not just her Indy Rocker fashion sense... but the sets of keys dangling from her belt
and of course the two dogs by her side

so... I tell her that I am afraid that this may not be the job for her
if she can not control the dogs... then maybe she should not be a dog walker
(or at least not walk this dog... which I did not say... I was just trying to get away from this aggressive dog and its psychotic dog walker)

so... there is this woman fighting to contain this very large and powerful dog
as I try to back away she continues to try to talk to me
all I want to do is get away from this barking dog which this young girl can hardly contain an aggressive animal who looks like a hungry bear
then it happens
as I am backing away from this girl who is still trying to tell me that she told me to "hold on" the dog lunges again
this time pulling the girl to the ground

okay... case and point
this is not the job for you

she is back on her feet and I am pleased that she did not let go of the leash
I have moved from backing away and gone back to taking rapid strides away from her and this large dog with big teeth
she hustles to keep up

what are you doing? you are crazy! get that aggressive dog away from me!
what do you think you are doing?

oh... I am just walking down the block

still coming my way I fake left... I go right....
she follows left... she follows right
I take an aggressive few steps in front of a fast moving car
trying to get distance on her
if she were to follow she would get flattened

she changes her direction... perhaps proud of her attack
not realizing that she had been unprofessional... inappropriate... incompetent...

she continued talking to me
I am sure that I was still responding to her line of logic
ending my side of the conversation by saying that I live in this neighborhood
which should make her confident that we would see each other again

ohhh.... man....
my heart was racing and my blood was pumping
the adrenalin was flowing through my body
I had experienced FIGHT OR FLIGHT
to which I opted for FLIGHT

one dog maybe... but definitely not two
as a luff as the pit bull may have been
had barking gone to biting I thought I would have two dogs tearing at my flesh

my heart rate remained uncomfortably high for the blocks remaining to the hardware store and for the blocks walking home

the girl with the dog are behind me and I make it to the hardware store
they have the flapper I am looking for... but the toilet lever I wanted was out of stock... so I grab a plastic model instead of metal
then grab a wooden toilet seat that would end up not being the right size toilet seat
who knew that there were different size toilet seats?

outside Old School Hardware with my camera around my neck and my toilet repair supplies in hand I witnessed and documented with the camera a worker with Capital Bike Share working to refill the vacant bicycle station
after snapping some photos I spoke with him briefly about the rally and the overflow
sure enough... there was overflow... and frustration

then with my toilet repair kit and toilet seat (yes... they had several toilet seat options... I bout wooden instead of cushioned... but of course... in the wrong size) in hand I headed for home

the elevated heart rate had me feeling uncomfortable
rather than doing a several block loop with the camera looking for cyclists I headed straight for home to finish my tasks for the day before rushing out on the bike to get the kids

then sure enough...
well... almost sure enough
there she was... or maybe it was someone who looked just like her
there was a young woman walking a dog... a different dog... maybe a different girl
I stopped and looked at her
she walked away... she noticed me but did not seem to respond

maybe it was her
maybe it was a clone

is there a uniform to the dog walker?
maybe they work for the same company
a company with a dog walker uniform policy

either way there is no communication from across the street
I go back down the alley and into my house
still feeling a bit uneasy
my heart rate still not settled down to normal

hopefully if I see her again we can sort this out
in no way do I feel wrong or in need of being apologetic
but her... she needs to do some thinking
she needs to know how unprofessional... inappropriate... incompetent... her behavior was

and then... she needs to think of the course of her actions
what if... and what were her intentions

what if I had been bitten?
what if that dog or dogs had attacked me?
what was her intent?
does she understand the potential consequences of her action?

a nip would be unacceptable... a full on attack
to catalyze the attack instead of dispelling it?

she might have well been pointing a gun at me
that is how threatened I felt

oh... and her logic
it is my fault that I am 6'4" tall and maybe a little less than slight
sadly... I have gotten this from other dog owners who could not control their dog
and as far as staring down the dog
when a person... a dog... a bird of prey... or whatever comes down the block I watch it as I approach
especially if that person... dog... or bird of prey is behaving in a manner that I feel may be threatening to me


enough on this
time to breath
no need to get my heart rate up again

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