No good deed…
I am not a fan of people “walking” their dogs while they are on a bicycle. I realize there are certain breeds that need a ton of exercise who might benefit from running alongside a bike and that there are safe ways to do it, but mostly what I see are dogs panting and struggling to keep up. They aren’t happy with this form of exercise. They can’t pee, sniff flowers, or look up at you for reassurance in any unforeseen situation that might arise. Also, it’s dangerous.
Yesterday brought me almost face to face with a culprit. I was making a left turn at a very busy intersection on my way to the gym when I noticed a woman on a bike with TWO dogs on a leash. One was a good sized pitbull mix and the other was a puppy that looked just like the bigger one. She wasn’t riding. She was on the sidewalk straddling her bike with her feet on the ground trying to get them to move forward. Both dogs looked very confused. What the fuck?
While I sat there at the stoplight watching her struggle to control both dogs, my thoughts immediately went south. Idiot. What the hell is wrong with that woman? But right after those thoughts I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she bit off more than she could chew. Maybe there’s a reason she needs to get somewhere with those dogs and she has no car. Maybe she needs help.
Given that I had 20 minutes before my spin class, I decided to see if she needed help. I have a bike rack on my car and I could drive them all home. Or wherever. I made the left turn and parked my car on the side of the road and waited to see if she was coming in my direction. She managed to cross the street and started toward me on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. It took her at least five minutes to get close enough to me. While I sat there waiting on this busy stretch of road, I watched a runner go by them, which prompted the big dog to lunge at the runner. It seemed more out of curiosity than an aggressive move, but it was further evidence that she had no control of the dog. The puppy seemed to be limping and walking in circles completely clueless as to what it was supposed to be doing.
When she was almost up to my car, I got out, crossed the street and started walking toward her. There were about two car lengths between us, but I saw the big dog alert to me so I stopped.
“Do you need help?” I called.
Her tone and body language were immediately defensive, “What?!” I asked again if she needed help.
She yelled, “No, I’m not hurt!” We were competing with noisy traffic.
I said, “No, do you need help with your dogs? Do you need a ride?” I gestured toward my car.
“I don’t need any help. I’m training the puppy to walk with me on the bike.”
I held my tongue, which was hard, but there was a big dog staring at me and I wasn’t confident that she could or would hold onto it after I pissed her off with my rant. I walked across the street to my car mumbling all those initial thoughts I had.