Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You Mess With Me, Ya Get Bit!!

I was in line the other day at the grocery store. It was pre-weekend madness on a Friday afternoon - everyone was in a rush to get whatever food they needed for whatever meals they were making. I was grumbly, irritated and just wanted to get my coffee creamer and get the hay outta there. The woman behind me was obviously not as concerned with personal space as I was: she kept reaching across me to put her items on the belt and in doing so, bumped in to me. I shot her a side glance, notifying her that she's quickly getting on my (expletive) list. I expected a "pardon me" but got nothing. So I tried to ignore it.

As she reached into her cart to continue her annoyingness, she hit me with her gargantuan duffel bag/purse/twin-sized mattress combo. This time, I shot her a more direct glare. Eye contact. That'll teach her.

Much to my surprise, even after two threatening glares, the woman kept on loading the belt. Reaching across me again, she brushes my arm with hers. Ewwww! "Excuuuuuuuse me!" I snapped. She looked at me with bewilderment and continued on her path to being the most obnoxious person in the world. Her next move sent me through the roof: lacking complete social decency, she coughed on the side of my face!!! I lost it. "Are you kidding me!?! Can you take a few steps back and just freaking wait! Stay out of this space [an area defined by my flailing arms in circles around me]!" All eyes were suddenly on me, like I was the idiot because I was making a scene. But I warned her!! I glared at her, spoke with irritation, sighed heavily, rolled my eyes...all signs that she was flat-out making me mad! Why am I the crazy one??

When people tell me they yell at or correct their dogs for growling or snapping, I feel for the dog because obviously they didn't understand their dog's message. A dog's growl is like my "excuuuuuse me!!" and before I even said anything to this woman, I was glaring at her with the stinkiest of eyes. Yet she persisted. She wasn't reading my signs.

Looking back, I know for sure that if J were there he would have seen my signs. He would have literally wedged himself in between the woman and me, thereby removing the boiling pot from the stove. That's because J's good at reading me. He knows when I'm warning someone, when I'm about to explode, and when I've had enough.

It may sound crazy, but trust me: a growl is a blessing in disguise. The dog is telling you something. Take the time to understand why they growled - discovering the problem will often help you cure the symptoms.


  1. Splendid post!!!!!!! I'm bookmarking this. So many people are so stupid about dogs. There's a huge rumble going on in Boulder now about dogs on trails and the no-dog gang (they aren't large in number, but they are noisy) believe, as far as I can tell, that if dogs 'have' to be on trails they should be seen an not heard---no matter what. I'm afraid a warning growl would be seen by them as the mark of an "aggressive dog". Not. Thank YOU!!

  2. Great post.

    Suzanne Clothier wrote an article on misunderstanding dogs' reactions in an article called, "He Just Wants to Say Hi." It's a good companion piece to your post. You can find it here: http://flyingdogpress.com/content/view/42/97/