I had a very disturbing experience this weekend with a dog owner at Sauvie Island's Walton Beach. I saw the dog owner walk onto the beach with a big dog and noticed she had little control over the dog, which ALWAYS makes me worry when my little one is around. As she got closer I saw that it was a Pit Bull. I'm not afraid of Pit Bulls (everyone knows Pit Bulls need the right kind of owner- dedicated and super hard working to keep up with such an active dog. I don't think anyone would be afraid of Cesar Milan's Pit Bulls! Who didn't love Daddy! lol), I'm afraid of any dog not properly trained or that the owner clearly has no control over,no matter the breed.
So this is what happened. She walks onto the beach and the dog is pulling her around. The woman clearly had no control over the dog. The woman decides to set up camp about 30 feet from where my 2 year old daughter was playing in the shore. I could hear the woman pleading with the dog to get it's ball. I mean, if you have to beg your dog to get it's ball, you've got some things to worry about. So I glanced over at the dog and the poor thing was shivering with her ears down. As I looked at her, children near by shouted, and the dog looked in their direction franticly. And everyone knows a scared dog, is a dangerous dog. The woman, tired of the dog not heeding her command, says "Dumb dog" then proceeds to pick up the ball and throw it in the water.
By this point I was fuming. I couldn't contain myself and had to say something. I was worried about my daughter. I'm sorry, but there were MANY dogs on the beach that day, and not one of them looked the way this dog did. The other dogs were playing and relaxed- this dog was not. So I turn to look at the owner and she quickly says, "Is there a problem". Clearly she knew there was one, and I take it by her defensive attitude she assumed I was a Pit Bull Hater or something. I said "It just looks like your dog isn't having a good time." And she defensively says, "Have you ever owned a dog before?! What does a dog that's not having a good time look like?! Um, if she wasn't having a good time she'd be growling." Ok, so this is were I want to have an all out argument with this crazy lady, but I didn't. She raised her voice for the people nearby to hear, and I'm thinking she wanted to be a "Pit Bull Activist" which is why she was so defensive, but you can't just rescue or adopt one and not know how to handle the dog. And what's even funnier is her response..."if she wasn't having a good time she'd be growling" UM EXCUSE ME, but if a dog was not happy they would not be growling! If it was aggressive it would be growling!
Once I saw where this crazy lady was heading with her irrational argument and complete defensiveness, I dismissed her with an "OK", turned my back on her, hovered over my daughter as she ran back and forth in the shore, and gave the woman some time before I would have moved us elsewhere. It took about 8 minutes of her throwing the ball into the river for the dog to retrieve (which by the way, was the only way for her to get the dog to do what she wanted it to do- entice it with throwing the ball!) before she picked up and walked farther down the beach.
So my question to you parents...how do you feel about dogs in play areas??? Parks too! And how would you handle it!? I just have to say, I'm not afraid of dogs attacking my daughter, it's as simple as a dog to just go speeding into my little one and hurting her.