What's so great about dogs? No really ... what?

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMarch 27, 2013 

No offense, but I hate your dog.

I don't think your dog is as cute as you do. Or as smart. Or as entertaining.

And, if I'm being honest, I'd rather not be around your dog.

With all due respect to the great French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, hell is not other people.

Hell is other people's dogs.

And right now, other people's dogs are everywhere.

They're at restaurants where they once were rightfully banned.

They're on airplanes, where I'm still somehow not allowed to turn on my iPod prior to take off, yet a dog is more than welcome on board for various reasons, the most ridiculous of which being that the mere presence of said animal assuages the anxiety of its owner.

Be a grown-up and take a valium like the rest of us.

And it's really only a matter of time before some Shih Tzu is launched into orbit because its astronaut owner can't stand the thought of being away from the little furball for too long.

But these are only a few of the previously dog-unfriendly venues where our four-legged friends are being dragged by their insufferable owners, who seem all too glad to inflict their dog and its behavior on the rest of us in a manner previously reserved for parents and their children.

I would be remiss not to mention and applaud the thousands of responsible, sane and considerate dog owners. I'm related to and am friends with many of them, but there are those who take it too far, making half-serious claims (or totally serious claims, in the case of the truly delusional) that their dogs are like their children.

Reality check time: Your dog is your pet. Your dog is an animal.

And animals don't have birthdays, so enough with the Facebook invites to your dog's third birthday party. Yeah, I get it, he's 21 and legal now. Yay, math!

But I wasn't always so down on dogs. In fact, my canine contempt only really began when I started running about three years ago.

Since then, I've been barked at, chased, spooked -- but thankfully never bitten -- by dogs of all shapes and sizes to whom I am merely a Nike-clad chew toy.

Many of these close calls have occurred on the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge as I try to navigate the span's 3-foot wide pedestrian walkway and maneuver around dog owners who have insisted on putting me, themselves and their animal in a potentially dangerous situation.

The ASPCA and the LiveStrong Foundation urge runners to appear non-threatening and give the animals some space, so they don't feel crowded or intruded upon, none of which is possible as I try to squeeze past the dog and its owner on this tiny sliver of asphalt.

And that's assuming there's only one dog. I've personally witnessed a couple pushing a baby stroller while running over the bridge with no fewer than four pit bulls in tow.

Sounds safe, huh?

You might trust your dog, but I don't. You might know your dog, but I don't. You might like your dog but, let's be honest, I probably don't.

This week, a playlist comprising eight songs about man's best friend.

Look out, turtle owners. You're next. Wasting all that lettuce ...

  • The Beach Boys, "Pet Sounds" -- Like growling, barking, chomping on the flesh of runners ... you know, pet sounds.

  • Matt Pond PA, "Running Wild" -- What dogs should never be allowed to do. Unless it's in a fenced-in yard. Then, it's OK.

  • Real Estate, "Suburban Dogs" -- Mostly well-behaved, like our family's dog Shiloh.

  • * Wye Oak, "Dogs Eyes" -- Avoid looking into them, say many runners-safety organizations.

  • Modest Mouse, "Wild Packs of Family Dogs" -- My worst nightmare.

  • Taking Back Sunday, "We All Love Our Pets" -- It's everyone else's we hate.

  • Fun., "Walking the Dog" -- A peaceful, tranquil exercise that doesn't get anyone hurt, if done responsibly.

  • Pearl Jam, "Leash" -- Keep your dogs on one. A tight one.

  • Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

    FOR MORE PATRICK DONOHUE COLUMNS

    "Rich man's problem: Having so many choices makes us very indecisive, indeed"

    "Another whiny 'I'm getting older' column from the 20-something crowd? Not exactly"

    "'Risky Business,' 'Pulp Fiction' would be nothing without music supervisors"

    "Set the mood for a dinner party with Punch Brothers and Feist"

    "Hey guy, look at what you're wearing ... no really, look"

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