I Should have Bitten My Tongue

I really should have bitten my tongue, but when then is misunderstanding, prejudice or injustice, I am afraid I just can’t help myself.

hidden garden statue

There I was walking my dogs along a suburban footpath early one Sunday morning when a small dog of mixed designer breed came rushing out of a door, onto the street, towards me and my dogs, barking loudly. Ordinarily, that shouldn’t, or wouldn’t, be a huge concern, as the dog was small, but having been traumatised by a particularly vicious dog attack a few years ago and having not one, but two dogs to protect, one of which was not mine, my anxiety level rose significantly.

Was this approaching dog friendly or aggressive?

Quickly, I realized I couldn’t save both of the dogs should this canine, rapidly hurtling towards me at breakneck speed, suddenly become aggressive, so I had a, ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ moment thinking: Which dog should/could I save?

A horrible thought if there is one.

My level of distress then escalated to panic mode, when I heard a heavy wooden door thud so sharply against the wall, the house it was attached to must have wobbled on its foundations.

Photo by Markus Spiske on

The owner of the small dog, (I assumed), was running out of the house towards me, hysterically screaming and wailing her dog’s name, in full-on adrenaline mode.

Instantly, I was on guard and suspected this dog must indeed be of an aggressive nature, because why else would the owner be SO distressed? Consequently, I reacted by waving one hand madly around in front of my dogs, back and forth, back and forth, in some ridiculously vain effort to stave off a head-on dog attack.

I realise now, I would have looked quite silly as my one flailing arm would have afforded little protection against the jaws of a rabid animal, however small. [Believe me, even aggressive chihuahuas have caused human deaths!] Dogs are able to manoeuvre much faster than one person waving an arm, especially if that one person is trying to hold two dogs on leashes, at the same time.

As I have, unfortunately, experienced before.

Nevertheless, I continued the next-to-useless arm-waving and added in an,”Uh-ah, Uh- ah, keep away,” for good measure. Perhaps it was those words, “keep away,” that incited the crazed owner of the dogs, who by this point was valiantly trying to scoop up her precious pet, while continuing her histrionics.

Naively, I thought an explanation might diffuse her tirade.

Sorry. My dogs have been attacked previously and I….

Before I could say another word, a torrent of vehement abuse spewed forth from her mouth, questioning not only my mental state but my actions in triggering her dog! It seems I was responsible for not only her dog running out of the house but most, if not all, the world’s current problems!

Flabbergasted, I retorted that I did nothing wrong and that I was merely trying to protect my dogs as they’d been attacked before, (because sometimes you have to repeat yourself to people who don’t hear the first time😉

The tsunami of name-calling and abuse continued unabated at which point, the husband, or at least a male of some description, in designer pyjamas and coiffured hair appeared at the door, his bare, and overly hirsuit, chest puffed out like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Mr Universe competition.

Keep Walking,” he shouted authoritatively at me.

It’s not …

I SAID – KEEP WALKING!” – he commanded more loudly and sternly the second time, like I was some belligerent greenhorn army recruit that needed to be intimidated into submission. His index finger was pointed in the direction he wished me to go.

Now – this is where I should have bitten my tongue and just walked away, ‘as instructed.’

I really should have. But that would appear submissive.

Instead, I heard my own slightly shrill rebuttal of the unjust accusations which involved mutterings about speaking to the local authority regarding unrestrained dogs running loose on the street.

I then heard not one, but two doors slam.

Later, over a cup of herbal tea and soothed nerves, I reflected that I could have/should have handled the situation better and now feel embarrassed enough to avoid that street, in the future.

I really should have bitten my tongue. Shouldn’t I?

Du fanger flere fluer med en dråpe honning, enn ei tønne eddik.
You catch more flies with a drop of honey, than a barrel of vinegar.

Norwegian Saying
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122 thoughts on “I Should have Bitten My Tongue”

  1. So you encounter an out of control dog owned by a couple of bullies and it’s you fault? Not at all. Report it to the police and let the bullies tell them where to go!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Graham. Apparently it was my fault for walking along a public footpath on the opposite side of the road to their house! Weird, isn’t it, how some people react. Their dog had a pretty pink bow around its neck so perhaps it was somebody else’s precious they were minding and they panicked? But I am probably trying to excuse their volatile behaviour.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda, I’m appalled at the barrage of verbal abuse you suffered in this incident. As if it wasn’t bad enough with his wife having a go at you for followed by the husband to then interject and order you away is horrendous and frightening. In such a state I think I would also have continued to talk, explain … always hoping that commonsense and civility would prevail. I hope you found some inner peace after this disturbing outing. kram xx ps. I l like the quote and hopefully it works in most circumstances.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Annika. The couple’s reaction was certainly from left of field! Although I doubt that talking to them would have made any difference as I noted whilst walking away muttering that they went inside and shut the door. The Quote is food for thought for me as to how I might approach folks like these and hopefully break through their hard shell, so they can hear what I am saying. I note also that some people don’t want to listen, as they are quite afraid they will be wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You write in such a way that I felt panicked too..ha. I would have done the same exact thing and then gone home and wrote about it…


    1. Writing is an excellent way to process strong emotions, Heidi and I hope it also informs and triggers healthy debate. Thanks for the supportive comment that you would have acted in a similar way to me. I don’t think it is the ideal response, but at least is wasn’t aggressive or submissive. I think it is important to be assertive but respectable. Especially when it involves neighbours you need to live in close proximity to.


  4. Amanda, thanks for sharing this story about a social event many folks can relate with –
    and one idea for a follow up – just an idea – is to bring them a card and some doggie treats (or a pie or a loaf of sourdough bread and some olive oil) but perhaps a neighborly gift and a little card could assuage much here and change the path to a friendship
    – – I am not saying an apology – because it doesn’t sound like you were in the wrong – but sometimes good friendships come from this kind of thing – or can….


    1. Oh Yvette! I love the way you challenge me to react with kindness and thoughtfulness instead of indignationand frustration. But this guy was so intimidating, so unreasonable, I don’t think I could do what you suggest. This is the first time I have ever encountered them and I hope the last. If, on the other hand, if they lived on my exact street and not a half block away, I would really think about try out your suggestion. You must have a great relationship with your neighbours?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi – we do have great relationships and have worked at it – but they also have made it easy and we have to had the rude encounter you did
        – however, back in 2001- we did get a mean typed letter from a neighbor who lived in back of us
        quick story?
        okay – I ll keep it quick
        so we had a black lab and chow collie dog –
        well the black lab was a whiny dog and partly our fault for “below average” training (even tho labs are so easy anyway) but when she was out on the patio (we had a pool that was fenced off and then a big area for the dogs and toys etc )
        well she always preferred to be in and would have this yelp every few minutes – well I guess one night we had dinner and had music on and that went on for an hour.
        The typewritten later (think I still have it in the attic) was complaining about the dog’s noise and was mean.
        well, I sent over an apology and I think some baked goods (I think I was a sugar pusher at the time – lol)
        the guy invited us over – and he was a 70 year old retired man who design stoves at GE back in his day – so cool
        he also gave us a “teak wood” music tower – one of a kind item that had little wooden balls drop in and it played different notes – I gave it away and regteeed it for a while – but oh well –
        anyhow, I knew how annoying “that” black lab could be and so it was was to reach out and apologize

        and if you are not up to it – I understand
        but “a soft answer turns away wrath” and a little kindness goes a long way
        and you know – they could be really great people and they just need to know how absolutely awesome you are – because they have only seen your startled and momma brea protective side so far….


        1. My instinct tells me it would not be well received in this case but I will definitely keep it in mind in the future. Your graciousness paid off for you! But who could have an issue with someone with soft answers and baking? Thank you for providing me with an alternative view. A visit prefaced by an anonymous letter to these folk might actually work wonders.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. well just ponder what is best in this situation
            – and I do have one more quick story
            – a while back we were walking my son’s dog (12 months and still learning his walk stride) with our black lab and we went around this cul-de-sac and we have never seen a dog on this street and we picked a route that had less chances of seeing people or other dogs –
            anyhow, we were leaving the street and coming out of the front door came a man and a really strong little dog (maybe a boxer? ) and it started our dogs – and Amanda – it was so quick and they started going right toward the dogs before we could use a command or tug the leash
            well my leash got wrapped into my husband’s and then they were pulling us and my spouse grabbed the basketball pole that was there (thank god for that being at the end of their driveway) and we just all paused – it was like a scene from the three stooges and at one point – I asked the guy to bring his dog back inside – he seemed to be clueless that we needed some help – and then we got the dog’s attention back and got untangled and left – we did laugh but we also had some post stress from it.
            it was such a weird thing to have the dog come out of the door at that moment and startle the pups –
            and so I really could relate to what happened in your case – these things happen so fast

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I agree – it happens so very fast! You don’t really have too much time to think, it is more an automatic reaction. Thank goodness for a basketball pole and that dog was not aggressive. Dogs can slip through an open door or gate so quickly. We spotted the dog, an American Staffy that attacked our dogs a few years back, probably one third of a second before it body slammed our dog to the concrete path. Noone could have stopped it.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. ouch- that was super fast.
              – and another lesson we learned – our brown lab walks so much better with his little muzzle on – so we will not skip that anymore.


            3. Hi – I had to look it up and yes- that is what we have – the thin canvas kind of simple one – I guess a halti – and so good for training


            4. I also prefer to use a halti to walk one of our dogs. I agree that they walk better using it. Some people are concerned when they see it and our granddog doesn’t like when we are putting it on, but for a headstrong dog, it can save your wrists! And the dogs quickly forget about wearing it when they walk out the door of the house. There are far too many other interesting things outside to take their attention.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Hi – I agree that some people might see the halti and think “Huh?”
              and good point about the wrists – totally forgot about that strain that can come from a pulling dog.
              when I first walked our brown lab – he was lumber excited (mellow and not pulling) but he would kind of leap and arch his back – I called it a reindeer arch or reindeer leap – hard to explain.
              But later I pieced it together that he was so used to the halti on walks with former owners he must have felt “free” and alive and that is why he was so joyful. It was super funny to see – I think I got video of it once. Anyhow, that waned and now he sniffs and pees a drizzle here and there – hahahaha

              Liked by 1 person

            6. No dog having pressure on their nose but the walks are still enjoyable, even so. I can imagine the Lab’s reindeer leap! What a fun dog. I also can hear he is now a refined senior who takes things slower.

              Liked by 1 person

            7. yes – he is not senior at a little over four years – but he tested positive for Lyme when he was three (that might slow him down) and we give him a special meat and sardine diet to help – but he also is just on the mellow side and the family that gave him up would have kept him (because they loved him so much and he he has this fun habit of being at your feet when we cook- we can shoo him away but he slips there and just quietly waits – it is cute and the former owner sent us a photo of her at the stove with Elway at her feet)
              but the reason they gave him up (besides getting another Great Pyrenees dog – to go with their goats and cats and chickens) is because they gave away his sister – a white Lab who was a little wild and she at live chickens and all that –
              so after they gave her away – elway started to roam and leave the property (even crossing the electric fence) and they had headaches from going out to find him three times in one weekend
              and Amanda – they later said that they think he was going to find his sister (sad, huh)
              anyhow, he was made for us and it was a God appointment –
              and he is mellow but when we go on hikes in the woods – he seems to have a new fervor and acts like a spring pup


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