He Might Be Friendly But I’m Not

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Okay, This One Was Friendly

Okay, This One Was Friendly

“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.



About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Here is another point of contact in our tastes! In my Facebook page you’ll very seldom see any pets, occasionally one slips in, but those are very special occasions. And I was really anxious about unleashed dogs myself, when my children were toddlers. As you say, little children have often food in their hands or allover their mouths, hands and clothes… And you can never say how a stranger dog can act/react. Moreover when my daughter was a toddler, she was afraid of ANY animal, any race or size, even kittens… (no, it’s not my fault, I love pets, and my other child never had this problem) So I’m definitely with you!

    • I think fear is a very natural and wise reaction. Sometime, I’d rather Mark to be scared (of strangers, of something dangerous) because yes, fear exists for a reason–potential danger!

  2. 100% on board with this. I am not a pet lover and seeing dog poop around, or having people let their free range pets jump up on people, makes me peevish. My youngest has been begging for a pet for the past year but it’s not going to happen, kid. (Maybe fish, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.)

  3. I love dogs or any pets (I owned several hamsters, and still do, and I dream of adopting a dog) but I feel very anxious when I encounter an unknown, unleashed dog in the street. I’ve been bitten last year by a small crazy dog at a café’s, just because I appeared to have… toes! Fortunately it was a “petite merde” kind of dog as I call them 😉 so I still have all my toes left… Anyways, I love dogs, as long as they’re well educated and they mind their own business. It’s always the owner’s fault anyways…

  4. I’m a pet lover, I’m practically sure you know that. But I would never impose my dog to someone else, especially if this person is not fond of animals. And even if I love dogs, for example, it’s not like a pleasure to be into a dog friendly house where the dog and cat can go every they want and jump on my knees with their owner just laughing at the scene.

    But anyway, just for fun : I have a dog, two horses, I used to have a cat and a rabbit, and some other dogs, and some other rabbits. lol

    • Horses… wow! Funny thing is, I have zero issues with my friend’s pets. One of them has two beautiful dogs, and one time, I ended up on her couch with a book and the two dogs for company. They provided some much needed comfort that day, first time I ever “cuddled” with a dog and it allowed me to understand why some people are really into their pet.

      I think some pet owners just forget that the entire world don’t revolve around their cat/dog/turtle/tarantula. Mind you, parents can be the same with their kid. No everyone feels like holding your baby…

  5. Well I am a dog lover. In fact I am one of the biggest animal lovers you will find, but…I am also aware that every person is different and that not everyone likes animals. I understand it and I respect it 100%. I do agree that people need to be more aware of their dog being off the lead but, like you said, I also agree it should be about common sense too. I know people are going to be more afraid of my rottweiler than of a chihuahua so I am more careful about her.

    • I thought of your recent article about pet abandonment, and this is one of the reasons why I would never adopt a dog or a cat or whatever “because they look cute OMG!”.

  6. I’m one of those crazy dog people. But when I’m out with Elliot, I mind my own business. He’s always leashed. The problem is he’s cute and small and looks like a puppy (he’s not). People try to pet him without asking and he snaps as he doesn’t like strangers reaching towards him and I find myself apologizing . Seriously, is it too hard to ask permission?

    The other problem is with unleashed dogs. Elliot goes crazy and barks at other dogs. So if an unleashed big dog is headed over, we get between Elliot and the other dog. The person is always like “Don’t worry, he’s nice.” “Oh yeah? My dog isn’t.” And the person can’t tell me with 100% certainty that as my dog is barking aggressively at his, his dog won’t feel threatened and snap. Elliot has already been attacked by a big dog once. Don’t need it to happen again.

    • I forgot to add in the first part that I’m glad you’re teaching Mark to not pet every dog that passes. You can never be too sure when it comes to animals.

    • I like your dog based on the description 🙂 Not that much into people and petting? That’s my boy!

      Yes, I can imagine it goes both ways. I hate it when people jump on a dog for a petting session without asking the owner. Plus, I mean, it’s your dog, right? I don’t go around touching people’s car, cool handbags or whatever (I know, a dog is NOT an accessory, it’s late and my metaphor sucks!)

  7. Martin Penwald on

    Algorithme de pensée du clébard de base :
    « Si ça ne se mange pas, si ça ne se boit pas, si ça ne se baise pas, pisse dessus »

  8. Urgh, when I was a little kid, I was so scared of dogs I’d run away the moment I see one. I even got chased by one on the street and I remember I ran diagonally through the street to escape. I totally understand you, as much as dogs are cute, not everyone thinks that they are cute enough to be petted and massaged by every stranger on the street.

  9. But dogs and cats are so cute 🙂

    I never unleash Akira mainly because he’s a jerk and never comes back when he’s called. He’s also known to pee on people, run after fur boots just to roll on them or snatch someone’s picnic and growl at them (jerk is the word) !

    Oddly enough, French boyfriend thinks it a fine idea to unleash the Tasmanian devil in public places. When it happens, it really stresses me out because I would hate to be surprised by Akira odd behaviour if I did not know him. So yeah, I understand your complaint.

  10. LOL i am one of those people ! Those overly friendly dog person lol ! Nope not un-friending you!
    Though i see your point. When i used to have my dog, i preferred to always keep him leashed as he was way too friendly and i understand people might get scared of getting bit ( i was bit as a kid). Though i love dogs, i don’t see myself having another one until my kids are older and willing to do those pesky nightimes dog walks and pick up poops.

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