Tip # 10: On dealing with “good samaritans”.
When we raise dogs, it means we swear an imaginary oath to care for them. Over time, our dogs grow and become our best friends. And when someone assumes we are breaking that oath we’ve made to our best friend, it makes us go bat-shit. Personally, I think dealing with rude people should be seen as an art form.
I remember the deer-in-the-headlight days when I used to just stand there and listen while people would tell me my dogs needed water/food/were tired/hot/whatever in order to keep the peace. Living in a really liberal area where everyone likes to share their opinions (this is a good and bad thing) means dealing with situations like this frequently. But you know what? I take care of my dogs. They don’t need water because they just had some. They aren’t hungry because they’ve been fed. They aren’t hot because I would never leave them in the car on a hot day. I got tired of people thinking they could say whatever they wanted to me, so now I talk back.
Middle-aged woman: (walks over to our truck, says to me) “I think your dogs are hot”.
Me: (ignoring middle age woman who has walked over to my truck to tell me how to take care of my dogs).
Middle-aged woman: : “Hellooooo (peers into the driver’s seat window), I said I think your dogs are hot.”
Me: (Starts to explain creek, cold water, swimming… aborts idea, decides to tell her to get the fu*k out of here instead).
Me: No they aren’t, and I don’t need you to tell me how to care for my dogs…
Middle-aged woman: (cutting me off) “You’re ignorant and don’t deserve to have dogs!” (walks back to her silver Prius thinking she has done her civic duty for the day).
Me: Ohgetthafuckouttahere (suddenly, a Boston accent emerges).
Middle-aged woman: (turns around and says) “You’re a bitch. I have your license plate”.
Me: That’s great lady, shove it up your ass (makes dramatic ass shoving gesture with arm).
Me: (sits in passenger’s seat, mulling over what just happened. gets pissed on behalf of all good dog owners everywhere. gets out of passenger’s seat and walks over to woman).
Middle-aged woman: (gets into Prius quickly).
Me: (knocks on her window loudly) IT’S ME, FROM OVER THERE (points flamboyantly to the truck).
Middle-aged woman: (locks doors).
Me: Yeah, TOTALLY intrusive when someone comes over to your car, right? While I’m here, don’t EVER tell me how to care for my dogs or assume you know what I or anyone else needs to be doing.
Middle-aged bitch: (puts car in reverse).
Me: (Follows car, flicking off rearview mirror with both hands until Prius leaves the parking lot. Turns to see people eating lunch outside of store. Snarls for added effect).
You might be thinking “wow Nicole, you really went there“. I did. I’d do it again. They can go tell all their friends what happened so every one of them thinks twice about approaching someone random and thinking they know more about their dogs than they do.
If throwing the wild card isn’t your thing, here’s a less in-your-face approach:
Turn the conversation. Ask them this instead:
Do you feed this dog every morning and night?
Do you pick up this dog’s poop 3 times a day?
Did this dog sleep in the bed with you last night?
Do you take this dog to the dog park every day?
Does this dog go hiking, swimming, and on a million road trips with you?
No? Well then don’t tell me how to take care of my dog.
Lastly (and somewhat effective, yet least satisfying): ignore them. Engaging with strangers is always a gamble and you never know who is waiting around the corner. I usually listen long enough to hear what they have to say, and if the person obviously has no clue what’s going on, it’s better to just treat them as if they are crazy for even approaching you. A good death stare works wonders. I tend to go all bulge-y eyed in these situations because I have a lot of repressed childhood anger. I’m just kidding. Kind of.
Hopefully this provides a few entertaining options for your next encounter with a “good samaritan”. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Got any good stories of someone telling you you’re not taking proper care of your dog? How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear!