Monday, July 26, 2010

The most hurtful thing you can say to a dog owner?

I think I had my second encounter with a dog hater today. The woman was around forty and for some reason she was hanging by the door that leads to the bike room (where the residents of this building can keep their bikes so people won't steal them). I don't know what she was doing there, because these apartments are for students only and she looked nothing like a student in her posh flower dress and high heels. Anyway. Papu usually barks once or twice if we meet strangers on our way out. Sometimes she barks like crazy, but since we live in the second floor (or first floor depending how you count) we are usually out before anyone gets annoyed. I know she shouldn't bark at all, but we haven't exactly done anything to stop it because

a) the hall is usually empty
b) nobody is bothered because people here are used to barking dogs

And you probably guessed it; Papu started to bark and since the woman wasn't moving anywhere and other people were making noise in the bike room, she kept barking. When we get close to the woman she said "what's wrong with your dog?!" ("mikä sun koiraas vaivaa") and since I didn't bother to answer she continued "train your dog" ("kouluttaisit ton koiras"). Her tone was really aggressive and the things she said made me seriously upset. It was hard not to cry when we finally got out.

Papu means the world to me and I have done my absolute best to take care of her. Life has not been so easy with her and I have tried so effing hard that you have no idea. God knows how many times I have cried over her because the things have looked so hopeless. And after all that pain and tears and misery, suggesting that I have failed with her is the most hurtful thing anyone could ever say to me. I know that Papu is still very far from the perfect dog she could be, but I'm doing OK with her. She's OK too. We are getting there eventually. I'm not a failure as a dog owner.

And I love my dog no matter how loud she barks.

But that woman obviously wasn't a dow owner herself. Dog owners know that other people's dogs are a very sensitive subject. Their like babies, and you definitely can't say to a mother that her kid's shitty even when it's completely true.


  1. I know what you mean. I live in an area where there are lots of "macho" people who would only own a big, tough dog. I've often heard things like "what's wrong with your dog" about my little princess pug. She needs special care so that she doesn't over heat. She can't be left outside alone. She gets excited when there are kids around. She likes to be on my lap at all times. etc, etc,etc...
    She's not a big tough dog and we like her that way, thanks! :)

  2. Next time you encounter someone like that, tell them Papu is doing exactly what she's bred to do: guarding you against strangers and notifying you that there's someone new around.

    Charlie does the same thing when he sees someone, even if he eventually recognizes them.

    But yeah, that lady was just mean. Sorry you had to go through that. :(

  3. That wicked lady probably is just mean spirited and you just happen to be there for her to be mean to. She would probably say hateful things to anyone to bothers her. Do not give her the power to make you feel bad. Feel sorry for her that she is so bitter. Minpins are a very special breed! I have one that came from an abused home. He took a lot of work but that is what makes you love them even more. Hugs!!!

  4. Papu was doing what she and all dogs do...bark at "strange" people that they do not know. She is perfect and you are doing a good job as a loving "mommy".

    My question is, "What's wrong with that old lady...hanging around the bike room...?!!" Just ignore her and keep on doing what you are doing with Papu.

  5. Aww, that sucks. I know from experience that it's hard to teach a dog not to bark, especially when they're bred to do so. And since Papu is so small and she isn't aggressive, more like scared, it's ridiculous to be offended by a tiny dog barking.. yes, it hurts your ears if you're not used to it ;), but that lady obviously wouldn't hear it again anyway?? Totally pointless comment.