I’ve been in business long enough to have had plenty of gossip spread about myself and the business. Mostly it’s best to ignore it, as it’s generally so fanciful it boarders on ridiculous. Everywhere I’ve lived has been a hotbed of busy bodies and gossips, and while this can sometimes be a good thing (folk noticing ‘strangers’ in the village, helping lost dogs get home or stopping potential thieves by the constant curtain twitching!) It can also cause a lot of problems.
Also I’ve found the dog world to be very unpleasant on occasion. There can be lots of bitching, putting down other professionals and spreading rumors in an attempt to discredit and sometimes destroy a rivals business. Luckily it isn’t always like that but it does unfortunately happen and with the explosion of new dog walkers, it happens too regularly.
One of the best ones I’ve heard is about me apparently punching a dog in the face and screaming at the owner of the dog after it had attacked my dogs. Hilarious!! If that was all the details to the story then yes, it’s pretty bad. I must be a raving lunatic and must never left alone with a dog ever again! However when you flesh the incident out with more facts, it becomes a very different story. Yes, a staffy went for my dogs as it had several times before. Yes at one point I did scream at the owner and yes, I put my hands on the dog. Now for the fleshy facts!!
Christmas Eve, 2015. I was still on maternity leave and my daughter was 4 months old. I rarely went out with her in the pram, I always carried her in the wrap, on my front.
This day I was walking in Burnopfield with my 4 month old daughter and my dogs. My lot were up ahead and as they rounded a corner, a staffy and a black dog were there. The staffy chased my dogs, growling and pouncing on them for the 3rd or 4th time that year. Owner was up ahead, mostly just ignoring his dogs, smoking. I lost my cool and shouted to him to control his dogs (as is the law!) and he ignored me. I then shouted at him that I was sick of his dogs going for mine and he said something about them ‘being friendly so he didn’t need to control them’. By this point both his dogs were jumping up at me repeatedly. Asked him again to control his dogs, he just laughed at me. His staffy then caught Thea’s leg and made her cry. That’s when I really lost my sh*t!!
I said if you don’t control them, I will. I put my hand on the dogs face and pushed it off me. He then threatened to punch me for touching his dog, accused me of punching it. I said I will if you don’t get it down off me. That’s when the big man came up to me, threatening me (a 5ft tall woman out alone with a baby!) saying he was going to punch me to the ground! Luckily my brother in law showed up as he was out walking his dog. Big, brave man backed off and denied threatening me. I rang the police, they went out and warned him to control his dogs and quit the threatening behaviour (I have an incident number and everything!)
Different story when you throw some facts at it, isn’t it? After that, he told people that it was him who had called the police and that they had cautioned me! He then spread those rumors to another dog walker, who has then repeated them to others. Hmmmm! Pretty sure that’s slander??
If you don’t control your dog in public and if they are a threat to my daughter, expect some backlash. I love dogs, (more than I like most people!) they have been my personal life since I was a child and my professional life for 11 years, but if a dog is not being controlled and I feel threatened, I will do whatever necessary to protect myself and my daughter. It doesn’t matter if your dog is ‘friendly’ and ‘just wants to say hello’, you cannot let them race up to people and jump all over a person. At the very least it’s absolutely shocking manners! You are responsible for your dog. Don’t let it down by not training it properly. Remember that a person is well within their rights to protect themselves from an out of control dog, the law is on their side – click here for information on the law.
I defy anyone to say they wouldn’t do the same. I would punch the Pope if he was a threat to Thea’s safety!
So remember boys and girls, if you hear a rumor and you assume it’s true, then you’re making an ass out of u and me!
Thanks for reading, look after your dogs and yourselves!