Leashing dogs to run errands? No thanks
Why I gave up on bringing my dog along for short tasks
I beelined outside of the store exit doors with my eyes glued to a nearby mailbox. A lady was pacing while staring down at my dog—and she was moving way too close for comfort.
“Don’t touch my dog,” I said in a tone loud enough to be heard but not yelling. It was the kind of tone that made it clear I was neither asking nor was it going to end well if she ignored me. Another woman in the parking lot looked from me to her, and quickly scooted into her car to leave.
The mailbox pacer turned around and looked up at me.
“I wasn’t going to take him,” she said. “I have a big dog of my own.”
I nodded and looked down at my dog, who met my gaze. She let out a small, grumpy growl to let me know how she felt about being tethered to this big, blue box of steel.
I squatted down to take the knot out of her twice-wrapped leash. My dog put a paw on my thigh and let out another grumpy growl. (It’s the same growl she does whenever I return home, basically letting me know she didn’t appreciate me leaving.)
The lady laughed. “Oh, she’s about to be free now. Does she bite?”
I ignored the woman, loosening one knot and moving on to the next one. I could feel her eyes still on me, just staring at me and my dog. I waited a beat. The woman was still standing nearby. Finally, I’d had enough.
“Did you have something you needed to do?” I said, looking up at her while unhooking the leash.
“Yeah,” she responded.
“Then can you go do it,” I said.
She gasped. “Why do black people* act like this? Why are y’all so mean? God bless you then!” She huffed and walked into the drug store entrance close to the mailbox.
I walked away, with my dog trotting happily along. I had neither the interest nor the time in defending the entire black population, black dog-owner population nor justifying why her hovering over me had zero to do with skin color.
What I did do after I walked away from that mailbox was make one permanent decision: I am never bringing my dog with me on a short errand again. No matter how much more fun it would be to give my dog the chance to accompany me, help her avoid dog tantrums and tangling my blinds from snooping as I walked by, and scheduling her walks at the same time I could knock off something on my to-do list, the problem is leashing a dog for any amount of time means you have to put too much trust in strangers.