Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Choose Your Battles Wisely" Is Probably Really Good Advice.

Really good advice tends to be wasted on me.

So I'm taking this opportunity to publicly announce that Retractable Dog Leashes and I are now mortal enemies. Henceforth, they are officially my Evil Nemesis and I will not rest* until I've eliminated them from the landscape.  And because I'm so brave and courageous,** I'm not even launching this as a sneak attack. Retractable Dog Leash people; from here on, I'm in your face!***

 An example of my Evil Nemesis.****
You're probably wondering why I'm so incensed about Retractable Dog Leashes (hereinafter RDL's).***** Honestly, there are certainly more pressing issues I might choose to take on.  I get that. But I have my reasons for choosing this as my CAUSE, and I'll get back to that.  In the meantime, my loathing for RDL's is born of the following facts:

-RDL's provide no actual benefit to dog owners/walkers.
-RDL's provide no actual benefit to dogs.
-RDL's require an extensive list of "Do's and Dont's" to avoid hurting yourself/others/your dogs. (scroll down a bit on the "directions" tab of the link.)
-RDL owners have never read the list of "Do's and Don'ts".

Let's get a bit more specific.  Maybe you think it might be good to have a leash that allows your dog to run ahead of you a bit.  "Oooh", you think. "I can hit the release button and Fifi can run at her own speed while I amble along at a relaxed pace".  Well, sure...that'll work for about ten or fifteen or 20 feet, depending on how obnoxiously long of a leash you've bought.  Then Fifi gets drawn up short when she hits the limit.  I'll admit there's something mildly amusing about watching Fifi's ass slide out from under her while her yappy little head becomes a stationary object, but how often can you indulge your sadist funny bone before it becomes old?  And if you're planning on running with your dog anyway, is there really any advantage to you or your dog to be gained from being further away from each other?  Your dog is not stupid enough to feel like he's suddenly alone running free.  He's still tugging on his leash because you'll never be fast enough to keep up with him.

Or maybe you think, "Oh, this'll be good because I can stand on the sidewalk while Bigfoot drops a load in that thicket of underbrush I don't feel like navigating".  This is stupid because you'll either A.) have to navigate it anyway in a minute to scoop up Bigfoot's poop, or B.) you're planning to leave it there, in which case you now suck for reasons in addition to being a twit who needs to be twenty feet away from your dog. Repeat after me: If you're in a place where you need to have your dog on a leash, you're in a place where you can't walk away from his steamers.

I'm not going to comment on the problem of the leash suddenly retracting and popping you a good one in the eye. Or the dog taking off while the leash is wrapped around your finger/hand/wrist and amputating the offending extremity. These are your problems and I'm not going to waste time worrying about your problems.  We're here to talk about how you're causing me problems.

You, the clueless RDL user are causing me problems because you're walking down the street talking on your cell phone or yakking with your friend while Behemoth the Giant Mastiff runs brainlessly and randomly back and forth over the sidewalk as I approach and he knows perfectly well he can wrap that twenty foot lead around my ankles.  He knows perfectly well that you think the whole "let's get innocent bystanders involved in walkies" is so cute. Or that you're so involved in everything but walking your dog that you'll be oblivious.

 The final straw came for me yesterday when I was walking home.  As I'm crossing the last intersection before getting to my house, I encounter a woman walking her dog.  She's crossing the intersection at a ninety degree angle to me.  And when she gets to the curb, her dog (a piddly little dachshund), balks.  All twelve pounds of this little dog sits down and refuses to step up onto the sidewalk.  So the woman, who clearly has difficulties with the concept of who is the "Alpha" in this relationship, walks twenty feet further while letting out her RDL.  When the dog refuses to follow her, she sits down on the sidewalk and tries (without success) to convince her dog to come to her.  She clearly thinks this is fucking adorable.  I think I've carried fifty pounds of groceries for the last eight blocks and I shouldn't have to play limbo or jump-rope just to get the last 100 yards between me an my house.

I realize that this is a completely futile crusade I'm launching here.  My clandestine glaring and facemaking won't have any of their desired effects no matter how intimidating I manage to make them. And direct confrontation on the street isn't terribly effective either.******  But, in the long run, I'll probably be less disappointed when this futile crusade yields less results than I would be if I took on any of a large list of other futile crusades. I have very limited expectations.

That's some wise battle choosing, right?

P.S.  I realize there are other symbols available to denote multiple footnotes but I totally forgot how to make things show up as superscripts, so you're stuck with multiple asterisks.  Maybe relearning that bit of info would be a worthy cause for me.
*"will not rest" is totally just a figure of speech. I'll probably go to bed shortly after I publish this.  In fact, I'm kinda tired and I may just finish writing this in the morning. One really shouldn't initiate hostilities without a good night's rest.

**What?  Like the massively powerful Retractable Dog Leash lobby is gonna put a hit out on me? Oooooh, I'm so scared.

***"in your face" is also probably a figure of speech. I'll probably satisfy myself with clandestine glaring and/or making faces behind your backs. But it'll be really confrontational clandestine glaring and face making.

****Dear "Great Choice",  I don't hate your product in particular; I hate the entire product line regardless of manufacturer.  You just happened to have one of the best pictures available online.  Please don't sue me.  You should be honored.  Really.  Please don't sue me.  Or sic the massively powerful Retractable Dog Leash lobby on me.  And don't sue me.  Please?

*****You probably don't give a shit about why I'm so incensed about RDL's, but humor me, please.

******I've run into this guy a few times in the neighborhood and he says something snotty every time we encounter each other. Next time it happens I'm gonna follow him around the neighborhood while chain smoking.  Confront that dude!


Phiala said...

I use a RDL frequently. When I'm walking in my low-traffic neighborhood, or at the park: anywhere there's lots of interesting things that Grendel wants to sniff at and I don't.

But I use a fixed leash in crowds, and I always clean up after him, and my 199-lb wolfie has no doubt who's the alpha.

You've really made a "people are assholes" argument, not a "RDLs are evil" argument.

Nathan said...

How dare you throw the old "When RDL's are outlawed, only outlaws will have RDL's" argument in my face!

Phiala said...

You can take my RDL when you pry it from my cold, dead, dog-eaten fingers.

And also, he's a 100-lb wolfie. Those extra 99 pounds were an accident.

Random Michelle K said...

I'd like to point out the Nathan and Phiala live in VERY different areas, and that Nathan is probably right that there is absolutely no reason for anyone in a densely populated urban area to use an RDL.

So I think that Nathan's embargo really applies only to urban areas and city scapes.

I mean, it's not like Nathan every visits rural areas anyway, so we can do as we please.

Janiece said...

I'm with Phiala, on every count, as my poochie is also 100lbs, and enjoys his RDL in the open space behind our house.

But to the vet, to the groomer, etc? Fixed leash.

So yeah. People are assholes.

Nathan said...

I can glare menacingly across great distances.

Warner said...

12 pound animal, try the ever popular tail step.

I also can't stand the d-mned things and never used one on my dog.

Nathan said...

tail step?

Is that meant as a restraint or as a "Giddyup" technique?

Warner said...

12 pound animal, your choice, both work.

TimBo said...

I like the part of the directions that says: "To avoid cuts, burns, and amputations..."

Amputations? The things can cause amputations? And they're allowed in public? I have no doubt these are covered by the second amendment. Maybe the answer to the smoke hating guy is to use an RDL to amputate his feet.

WendyB_09 said...

What ever happened to training a dog to heal properly on a
fixed lease? Most areas have lovely classes available and at the end of the classes there is no doubt who the alpha is.

My 90 lb shepherd was trained well enough that I could stop her in her tracks on voice alone.

I used to dogsit for am couple that had a very large dog that only owned a retractable leash. Poor dog could never figure out why I kept it on a short leash...control baby, control!

Nathan said...

What ever happened to training a dog to heal properly on a
fixed lease?

The problem with a fixed lease is that while the landlord may be guaranteed income over a defined period of time, he'll find that his apartments are going for well below market value before long.


Phiala said...

My wolfie will come off a rabbit and sit in place, off-leash, by voice alone. He'll heel in the proper place like the good boy he is, if told that's what he should be doing.

But I still like the security of having a leash, and a retractable leash allows for less-formal walking and sniffing.

What it boils down to: I'm not an asshole (about dogs), and my dog is very well-trained. Many people: not so much.

WendyB_09 said...

All typos courtesy of my iPhone.

Lease should read leash. Thanks for catching that Nathan.