I beg of you, control your dogs!!

Look, I love Maine. I love this whole damn state. I was born here, lived most of my life here (with the 2 1/2 year exceptions of California, Pennsylvania and Mississippi), and in fact, I’m a 5th generation Mainer with my son being the 6th generation.  In particular, I love rural Maine. I’ve lived mostly in very small towns (population under 3,000).  Most people in these towns have at least a little land where we like to roam, and where we like our animals to roam, too.

BUT, if you live anywhere near a road, then people may be walking or biking or running near your home and your roaming pets, right?  And should you have *some* control over those pets?  YEEESSSSSS!!!

Let me explain my rant.

This morning, I started out on a 10-mile run.  My first since my surgery. so I was nervous and a little excited.  I took off with my little bottle of Gatorade (my new love) and my sports beans in my pocket.  The temps were only in the low 50s and it was cloudy—-perfect running weather!

The first 5 miles were, believe it or not, blissful.  I was really enjoying myself. My body felt good, I wasn’t overheating, and my music was pushing me right along.  At the 5-mile mark, I turned and headed back home.  I took a little walking break, but still felt good.  As I started to pick up a little speed again, I saw a dog out of the corner of my eye.  It was in a person’s yard, but running toward the road….toward me.  dog-chasing-man1

Before I go on, I should probably tell you that I have a fear of most dogs.  When I was a kid, a very large and mean, 3-legged poodle bit my foot as I biked past its home.  I don’t think I yelled, but I do remember crying and trying to shove my foot down the dog’s throat.  It didn’t bite through my shoe, but I’ve been afraid of most dogs ever since.

So….back to the large black dog chasing me.  Its buddy, which looked to be a golden retriever, ran after me, too.  They were barking and although I was pretty sure they wouldn’t bite me, they still scared the hell out of me.  (If you’re a dog person, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, Holly, they probably just wanted to play!  Golden retrievers are just big, playful goofs.”  Yeah, well, this was a dog I didn’t know and this was not the time to find out if it was really a flesh-eating goof.)

Then the cars started to drive by…and the dogs were in the road, still nipping at my heels.  I yelled at them, slowed way down, looked to the house where the dogs lived and yelled, but no one came.  I kept yelling and trying to shoo them back to their home so they wouldn’t be run over, until finally I just started yelling, “Get your dogs!  Come and get your dogs!!”  EVENTUALLY, I heard someone yell for the dogs and I booked it out of there.  I was so freaked out and angry that I was actually able to run up the next hill which I’ve never been able to do before.  Well…at least the experience was good for something.

Seriously, though, this has happened to me too many times.  It’s nice to live in a sparsely populated area where our pets can run around and have as much freedom as possible, but damn it, I live here, too!  I shouldn’t have to be afraid each time I go out for a long run.  I shouldn’t have to scream and scream until you finally come out and call your dogs.  I don’t want to have to carry a weapon….although I think carrying my phone with Animal Control’s number is now in order.

And *that* pisses me off, too!  Because I love where I live. I love that I can run and run and only carry a water bottle and typically not worry about too much danger, just worry about stepping in deer and cow poop. I don’t want to have to carry a phone or pepper spray or anything remotely like that.

So please, please have some consideration for those of us that live near you or just happen to run by your house.   We love it here, too.  Let’s find a way for all of us to have our freedom, ok?  Let’s try to find a way to get along, damn it.

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