Yesterday evening Ruby and I were trotting through lower Richistan, past a house that a young couple with kids is renovating, when the morons’ 80-pound German shepherd roared out of their front yard and attacked my little 25-pound corgi. I tried to grab her and pick her up off the ground, but every time I’d reach for her, the dog came after me. Ruby, meanwhile, being a shepherd dog herself, after a second of terrified shrieking, shifted into full defensive mode and launched herself at the attacker.
Fortunately, the pooch’s humans heard me screaming and came running to call off their dog. But not before the animal had harassed and terrified me and my dog.
One of their cute little kids hollered after me, as I was stalking off down the street having delivered to the parents a volley of…uhm, shall we say “vulgar criticism” at high volume, I’m sowwy!
God, but I am tired of stupid. What IS it about people that they think neither common sense nor the leash laws apply to them and they can do as they please as long as a cop isn’t standing there watching?
True: it’s scary living here. I was among the cohort who gentrified Phoenix’s historic (and now spectacularly overpriced) Encanto district. The ’Hood is effectively the New Encanto. And we have similar problems with transients, crime, and endless assaults on our quality of living by moneyed interests that own the city government. Encanto had (and still does have) many more transients than we see up here. Its Zip code had the highest per-capita drug use rate in the city, and the crazy (sometimes horrifying) incidents occurred so often that our office manager used to ask me, come Monday mornings, what new tale I had to tell. And I usually had one.
What were those tales? Ohhh…the day a burglar murdered an elderly neighbor by chopping her to death with an axe he found in her garage. The night a man tried to bump a lock in the exterior door of a room next to where I was sitting in front of the television (and was within about a second of succeeding when I realized what the noise was, ran to the front door, and screamed FIRE!!!!!!! at the top of my lungs). The cat burglar/rapist on the roof. The guy who watched a neighbor until he knew when her husband was out of town (which was fairly frequently), cased the house until he found the only window that wasn’t wired for a burglar alarm, climbed through it, and spent the night beating and raping her. Little things like that…
Consequently, I’ve had German shepherds all of my adult life. And I’ve had them explicitly as protection dogs. Only now that I no longer have the physical strength to handle a large, high-drive dog have I switched to smaller breeds. Here’s what I’ve observed about the breed, after several decades of handling its representatives.
First lemme tell you somethin’: if you bought yourself a GerShep to protect your kids and their buxom mother, you need to know about German shepherds. And you need to have better sense than to leave your dog out in an unfenced front yard.
The German shepherd has been harmed in many ways by overbreeding to develop “guard” tendencies. The result is often an unstable disposition, which can make for a very dangerous dog. Consequently, if you choose to own a German shepherd, you need to keep it under control at all times, and you need to be aware of its power and its potential to do harm. Yes: my shepherds have chased off home invaders (one poor guy is still running…said to be approaching Siberia about now).
Yes: my shepherds made it possible for me to walk around Encanto Park as a nicely endowed young woman without harassment. But I’ve also had a shepherd that tried to attack my mother-in-law and then me and then a veterinarian – the vet explained that some breeds are prone to a kind of mental illness that causes this behavior, and that once such a dog launches into an attack, it cannot be called off. This, he added, is the direct result of ill-advised breeding practices. If, like me, you’re a German shepherd fan, you should be aware that these conditions exist.
A German shepherd is like a .38. You don’t leave your revolver sitting on the coffee table. Similarly, don’t leave your German shepherd sitting around an unfenced yard and don’t let it off the leash in public. It’s a good thing to protect yourself – but not if you put innocent people’s safety at risk.