“Don’t worry, he is friendly!”
Oh, really? He could be made of gold and be a member of the royal canine family for all I care. Get your fucking dog off me. I’m on my way home from the supermarket, the three-pound bag of carrots I’m carrying is heavy and I need to get through, thank you very much.
Gee, Mark is friendly too, but I didn’t let him drool all over people when he was an infant.
People and their pets are a fixture of suburbia. Rain, shine, freeze or sweat, residents walk their best friend around the neighborhood. Most pet owners are perfectly reasonable folks who say “hi”, curse a bit when they pick up dog poop and look away when Spot or Blackie is doing his business on his favourite tree. I admire them, it takes dedication to take a walk your mutt when it’s dark and cold.
But some people are just…
There are the folks who think petting their dog is a big honour. Problem is, I don’t want to pet your dog. Yes, it’s cute, fluffy, hairy and I’m sure he is a nice dog but I’m on my way to the bus stop and frankly… I don’t like dogs much.
Admitting you aren’t into pets is often a bit like telling people you’ve just built a nuclear weapon in your basement and are planning to start World War III. Even the Internet—you know, the place where everyone has an opinion and want to share it—can agree on one thing and one thing only: pictures and videos of kittens or pups doing cute stuff are “inspiring”, “heart-melting” and a “cuteness overload”.
I find them boring.
(If you need to unfriend me at this stage, please do so. Sorry, eh.)
I respect animals, I occasionally find them cute, but I’m not overly into them. Same as, you know, I’m heterosexual but I don’t spend my days staring at guys and running my hands through their hair.
It is precisely because I respect animals that I don’t have pets. I don’t think I’d be a good owner and I have zero interest in becoming one. It’s a big commitment, financially and otherwise, that I don’t want nor need. Plus, you know, Chinese household (insert random joke about Chinese eating dogs here, I’ve done them all).
I’m perfectly happy with wild squirrels and rabbits in the neighborhood, and the occasional visit to a zoo or a pet store. “Dog!” “No Mark, it’s a rabbit.” “Dog!” “Uh uh, it’s a big cat.” “Dog!” “For fuck’s sake, Mark, it’s a bird, it has feathers! What do they teach you at school?”
When Mark was a baby, there was nothing I feared most in quiet suburbia than an unleashed dog running toward us. Yeah, yeah, I know, “he is friendly”, “he just loves kids”, “he wants to say hi”. I’m sorry but I don’t know your dog. He is bigger than my baby and I can’t predict how either of them will react. Beside, kids at the park often have food in their hands, a half-eaten cookie or a mushed banana, and I don’t want a dog to bite for it.
I know firsthand that not all dogs are nice. In many countries, wild dogs are an issue, including in Latin America. Feng was bitten pretty badly walking on a beach in Salvador. China deals with wild dogs differently (picture)—oh, there goes my Chinese and dog joke quota.
Mark didn’t care much about dogs for a long time, but now he loves them. I taught him that it’s not okay to touch dogs in the street, first because the owner may not want to stop for Mark to pet the dog, second because some dogs are not “nice”.
In theory, a by-law specifies that dogs must be on the leash on public pathways. Most people unleash their “best friend” and let them run wild, and I can’t complain about it. I understand this is the perfectly place to do so, plus I think we have way too many restrictive by-laws and that common sense should prevail. Same as I don’t see the problem lighting up a cigarette when I’m alone in a park and if I dispose of the butt properly.
But you still have to make sure you have the situation under control. Like, you know, I would put my smoke out if someone comes around, both because I don’t want a lecture and I don’t want to bother anyone.
So please… keep your friendly dog away. Otherwise, I’m going to be a bitch.