Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Doggone it!

Let me get straight to the point, I’m not a big fan of dogs. They just don’t agree with my personality (I’m more of a cat person). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an animal hater, actually I’m more of an animal rights activist than the average Jane, in fact I’ve been a vegetarian for more than half my life! And I can’t stand the idea of keeping an animal locked up inside of an apartment without a yard or garden to play in, I think it’s cruel and selfish. Nevertheless, I do have major issues with dogs, especially dogs in the city.

Recently, my normally agreeable neighbor bought a little yappy dog, and boy does it have a set of lungs! So far it has woken me up with its shrill, eardrum-piercing, nerve-racking howls at the very indecent hours of 5:00 AM (on a holiday) and at 4:30 AM. But wait, there’s more… last night during my peaceful slumber, I was woken up in the dead of the night by the most gut-wrenching dog barks which then set off all the other neighborhood dogs for about 45 minutes. Mind you, I‘m not one of those city people who expects total silence, no siree. I have no problem with “city-noises” such as ambulances, police sirens, car alarms, beeping, shouting, gun shots etc. But things like dogs and roosters* in the city really tick me off. (* Yes, a few months ago, someone in the neighborhood was harboring a rooster which woke EVERYBODY up at the butt crack of dawn. Needless to say, they got rid of it.)
I realize I can’t exactly blame the dogs for the fact that they’re just doing what comes naturally to them, but I can blame their owners and I will. So here we go:

I find it nasty and unhygienic to bring dogs into bars and restaurants, it’s even worse when owners let them wander freely, licking the floor, sniffing around my feet or worse, cramming their noses into very private places on my body.

I find it rude, inconsiderate, and irresponsible to let dogs roam around city sidewalks without a leash and or muzzle. First, it is NOT safe for the dog, and second, it’s not safe for me! I don’t care if the owner says “È buono non ti farà niente”, I’d rather not have to trust him/her. And quite honestly, how can anybody predict what an animal will or won’t do? Come on, we can’t even predict what humans will or won’t do! Perfect example- several years ago I was randomly attacked by a dog on the streets of Garbatella. Out of nowhere, literally, a dog lunged for my neck. Luckily I reacted quickly, so all it got was my bony elbow. The owner had to kick the dog off of me, I kid you not. After pressing charges against the owner, I discovered his pet was a trained attack dog that he liked to take around for walks without a leash or muzzle because he said it was a “good” dog. Real nice! (Side note: I took him to court and won, but have yet to see a cent. I couldn’t work for 2 weeks because of this accident and since I work freelance, nobody paid me sick leave.)

I find it rude, inconsiderate, irresponsible, and disrespectful to let dogs poop all over the city. There is a pooper-scooper law in Rome yet nobody seems to acknowledge or enforce it. I usually do enforce it on my own, but I can’t exactly change the bad habits of an entire city or risk my hide by scolding the wrong person.

I find it cruel, inhumane, and rude to leave dogs at home by themselves for extended periods of time. No wonder why they howl and cry as if they were about to die- it’s no fun to be locked inside a tiny apartment for hours and hours on end. And it’s no fun for the people who are forced to listen to this howling for hours and hours on end.

I find it cruel, inhumane, selfish, and dangerous to bring dogs to large events like demonstrations or rallies. I highly doubt that the dog will enjoy an animal rights march as much as its owner would. Being surrounded by people who are making lots of noise, smoking up a storm, and stepping on your paws is not exactly fun. So keep the dogs at home instead of subjecting them to this torture.

I find it irritating and rude when owners impose their dogs upon other people. Just because you like dogs does not mean that everybody likes dogs. So when your dog is bothering, licking, sniffing up a random person, don’t just turn a blind eye. And when that random person says “I don’t like dogs”, don’t look at him/her as if he/she were Satan in person. You can’t expect everybody to love dogs as much as you do. So respect my space and I’ll respect yours.

I find it annoying and inconsiderate when people walk their dogs as if they owned the sidewalks. Meaning, I have to double-Dutch jump rope in order to walk past the dog because the dog owner has a 60 foot leash and the dog is spinning around me as I try to take cautious steps around it. Wake up people, and pay attention to your surroundings. This is a city, not the countryside!

That’s all my friends!


Kataroma said...

Wow- what a horrible experience, Romerican - glad you're ok.

Also not a dog person here. I can understand having a sheepdog if you're a farmer but why would anyone in the city have a dog?

I had a friend in the US and she used to "crate" her dog for 8-10 hours a day while she was at work -in other words lock it in a tiny little box - as otherwise it would rip the apartment to shreds. Not a nice way to treat an animal! Yet she professed to "love" her dog and insisted that it enjoyed the crate.

And don't get me started on people who liken their dogs to children. They're just not.

sognatrice said...

Oh my goodness, how awful! Thank goodness the owner was there to "kick" him off. Ugh.

I'm an absolute dog lover, and I agree with everything you've written here. Unfortunately a lot of caretakers don't realize what a responsibility it is to have a dog and end up treating them inhumanely in the process--and annoying, or worse (as in your case), a lot of people.

Incidentally, I feel much of this could apply to children as well--I love children, and I would hope many parents do too, but that doesn't mean you can have them running around a restaurant sniffing people's crotches so to speak (the crying, though, I'll cut more slack for than for a barking dog).

Romerican said...

kataroma- OMG crating is beyond cruel. Why don't these people just get a goldfish instead?

sognatrice- I'm glad to hear you're a considerate, respectful dog owner. Power to you! And yes, those dog rules are 100% applicable to babies too (=

Calabrisella said...

are you ok? i dont know what i would have done if a dog attacked me!.... ho Dio!

Romerican said...

welcome Calabrisella!
well, my career as an "elbow model" is over, but i'm fine! kidding (=
i just have a scar on my elbow and i'm even more terrified of large dogs than i was before.