What do a dog, IQ and a loon have in common? It’s a bit of an odd tale. (And I couldn’t resist retelling this story with a bias that runs the risk of offending an increasingly large demographic of pet owners. I’m betting on their sense of humour!)
Here I was at a beautiful national park back in June before the influx of visitors. That meant I had a secluded beach area all to myself. There was just a loon meandering around the lake. It was a special moment!
I noticed the loon seemed to be heading in my direction so I dug out my camera gear and watched it swim nonchalantly in my direction. I could feel my excitement building. It was short lived.
My peaceful moment was disturbed by two women driving up beside me and asking if I had a dog. It seemed like a ridiculous question since there was no dog in sight. I said, “No,” without looking up from my camera. I was focused on the loon.
Then she asked if I minded if she let the dog loose. Before I could finish my sentence about not disturbing the loon, the dog was running free without a leash which is prohibited in a national park. I was grateful they at least headed in the opposite direction.
The loon continued to swim closer and I enjoyed its rare beauty. It swam past me and I picked up my tripod and camera, and walked to the furthest spot away from them. I should have anticipated they would follow me.
The dog came first and started barking. The owner yelled instructions at “Tonto” but the way she did it raised serious doubts whether her admonitions would have any influence on her pet’s behaviour. The dog ignored her completely.
Fairly quickly, the relatively large dog was growling at me and acting aggressive. I didn’t know what to do so I stopped.
Meanwhile the hapless owner was trundling towards us, loudly proclaiming that her dog never barks – all evidence to the contrary. If this somehow was meant to be reassuring, it ended up having the opposite effect. Would the next declaration be that Tonto never bites anyone? At least until now.
The dog circled around me growling and I was worried it would attack. A tripod and a camera are useful tools but not particularly effective weapons against a dog attack. Eventually the woman arrived yelling more instructions that were completely disregarded. The dog finally took off. I quickly left without receiving so much as a mild apology from the owner, though by then it didn’t surprise me.
I relayed this story to a responsible dog owner who quickly put it all in perspective – occasionally dogs and owners share an IQ.
I am curious to know what you might have done … or what I should do in future encounters like this.