BARRK. BARRRK. BARRRRRK. GGGGGRRRRRR. RUUUFFFFFFF. ARRRR. ARRR. ARRR.
Aww. Bless. What a lovely dog. Look at him with his cheeky little fangs. Doesn’t your heart melt when he strains at the leash, muscles rippling across his shoulders, legs outstretched, claws ripping at thin air? I’d love a dog like that. People really warm to 50kg of burning hatred. What a charming ice breaker.
Recently on my Garth hill session, I came across not one, but two of these dogs. They made the terror dog of Zuul (from Ghostbusters, pictured) look like a poodle. The two owners – who appeared to be the most affable friendly ladies around – assured me that the two dogs were ‘fine’. ‘A bit boisterous’ and ‘Wouldn’t hurt a fly’. I’m actually pretty convinced they wouldn’t hurt a fly. Flies are very hard to catch on the side of a mountain, whereas a cyclist running with a bike on his shoulder is pretty blood easy meat and represents a very jolly juicy target for overly ‘boisterous’ bone crunching jaws. As it happens, I’m not that bothered by angry dogs, being the possessor of a pair of stiff cycling shoes with a walloping chunk of metal screwed into the base and able to perform an ap chagi with a reaonable amount of welly . But nonetheless, I don’t particularly fancy bickering with an owner as their beloved Fang is licking his wounds in a bush.
The Garth is probably an exception. It’s a decent lump of rock an grass with plenty of space for people to walk their pets. But recently, I’ve experienced or seen this problem regularly on the confines of the Taff Trail, around the banks of the Taff near the coffee houses and in particular around the notoriously dog-centric environs of Hailey Park; all of which are shared use spaces with plenty of room for everyone.
So what I’m basically asking/suggesting/requesting, is that if dog owners wish to walk their dog in public spaces, please keep a close eye on them and respect the fact that not everyone will share the same love of little Zoltan (and cyclists; play fair and take your time around then, giving plenty of room). As ever, the parental refrain ‘everyone play nicely’ seems to work nicely.
I love dogs actually, and wish they were all like Frankie (pictured below on the summer outing to Morzine). He’s the Cardiff JIF official mascot, enjoys chewing tennis balls, running around like a nutter and cyclo-cross training with the team.