Did she really say that?

Sometimes people say things and I immediately wonder if they meant to say it out loud. A few days ago Miles and I were walking through one of the parks in London. I won’t mention which one in case that person actually stumbles upon this posting—I know the odds are against it, but stranger things have happened.

During this afternoon stroll we encountered a mother and child. My guess is that the boy is around two. Miles hasn’t been around many children. You may find this odd, but when we lived in Boston we hardly ever saw kids in our part of town. We lived near Boston College and the only youngsters we bumped into were college kids. Miles more than likely cannot topple a college student. However, with a toddler I’m assuming the odds drastically increase.

When Miles meets people on the street he gets excited. And I haven’t been too successful teaching him not to jump on people. My apologies if you’ve experience this. What can I say, he loves people.

Back to the other day, the child was ecstatic to see a dog. They started to approach. I instantly started to back away, keeping Miles behind me. The mother stopped and I did my best to explain that Miles gets excited and likes to jump. How horrible would it be if Miles hurt the kid? She smiled at me and I thought the situation was over. But then she said, “That’s fine, we’ll find a better dog.”

I’m the first to admit that Miles is not perfect. Each day he does something that causes me to scratch my head and wonder about his intelligence. He doesn’t always listen. He’ll sniff the same lamppost every day like he’s never smelled it before. And yes, sometimes he barks. But to have a stranger tell me that she’ll find a better dog—well really! I’ve never told a parent, “You’re kid is cute, but I prefer the one over there who isn’t screaming its head off.” That would be rude and quite mean. Miles isn’t perfect, but he’s mine and I love him.

On my walk home I wondered if she meant it the way it sounded. I couldn’t decide. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t given me a second thought. I wish I could say her kid wasn’t all that, but he was pretty darn cute (how can anyone say anything bad about a child) and I loved his little jacket, hat, and mittens.

And speaking of adorable, here’s my dog. I think he’s the best!

004014 1514 Thoughtful Miles


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to rescue the cat from my dog.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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70 Responses to Did she really say that?

  1. I completely understand and know the feeling! I truly do think they know what they say because it usually is accompanied by a certain look. I love my dog and I wish people would respect that, because I certainly haven’t said to them that I wish their kid would not slobber on my dog.

    • TBM says:

      She did look me in the eye when she said it, which made it a little creepy. I also worry about Miles when around kids. He’s getting older and is fragile. I worry about broken bones and other injuries. Give your dog a pet for me. They really do make our lives enjoyable–no matter what.

  2. Aww, poor Miles – I hope he doesn’t have a complex now!! My first thought is what an ignorant *#@&% because at least you had the courtesy to warn her that your dog likes to jump! You could have just let Miles flatten the kid LOL :). Just tell Miles from me that he is wonderful and not to listen to bad, nasty ladies like that!

  3. Palm Trees & Bare Feet says:

    Wow, I agree that was kind of rude. And even though Miles isn’t used to children, and doesn’t necessarily know how to act around them, doesn’t mean that he is a “bad” dog. My boyfriend’s dog, Hannah, who recently passed away unfortunately, never knew how to act around children either. She would bark and seem very scared when approached by kids, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t a sweetheart – which she was!

    Miles is adorable, and if his only flaw is jumping on people, then you are a lucky owner, because I know dogs with much worse problems!

    • TBM says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your loss. That’s never easy and my thoughts are with the both of you.

      I wouldn’t say jumping on people is Miles’s only flaw, but no matter what his flaws are and how many, he’s still my dog and I love him. And thanks, I think he’s pretty darn cute as well.

  4. Beth Ann says:

    Oh my. Why DO people say the things that they say??? I do think it was weird and rude but hey—-we can’t all be perfect like you and me. 🙂 I think you did the right thing and the thing I would have done too. I am always very aware of my cats when there is a kid around because they are not used to little kids and you just can’t predict what either one will do , can you. The cats I used to have, especially, because one could be a little aggressive and I would always be scared he would scratch or heaven forbid, bite. I always ask a dog owner if it is ok to pet, etc. because they are all different and I have had folks tell me that the dog isn’t feeling well or whatever so I would so much rather ere on that side than cause a problem. I am still shaking my head at your “mom” . Better dog—phooey!

    • TBM says:

      Yippie–you actually ask the owner if you can pet their dog. I do this as well. That’s how I was taught since you never know. Not all people are the same so I don’t understand why people think all dogs are the same. I know when Miles is in a grumpy mood–and it happens more since he’s getting older. When he’s grumpy I would prefer everyone leave him along–and I want to get the walk over with so he can get his rest. And recently, he had some teeth removed. I didn’t want anyone petting him since he was sore. But I still had to take him out for exercise so there were possibilities of discomfort for him.

      I can’t imagine my cat around children. He still bites me when he gets upset. If kids tugged on him, there would be tears all around I think.

  5. Geoff W says:

    What an interesting response. I hope she didn’t mean it like that. Pic #2 is the best. I’ll have to post a pic of the dogs I live with, a two year old could probably ride both of them!

    • TBM says:

      I hope she meant, “we’ll find a kid friendly dog.” I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially since I know I don’t always say what I mean and end up in embarrassing situations. Miles grew up with a St Bernard and for a day or two, Miles was actually bigger. Not anymore! It was fun to watch them play together though, since Miles was so much smaller. I would love to see your dogs!

  6. jmgoyder says:

    What a stupid remark that woman

  7. aFrankAngle says:

    Definitely an odd comment … but hey … .Miles has nothing to worry about because there are plenty of others to jump on!

  8. lol well, she was right that she needed to find a dog “better” suited to her parenting skills 😉 i mean, really! does she not _ask_ about a dog before just allowing her 2-yr-old to approach it? i thought we were always supposed to ask before approaching someone’s dog just as a precaution. not all good dogs are good with little kids or good with strangers.

    • TBM says:

      As a dog owner, I appreciate people who ask. And it’s not just Miles, sometimes I’m not in the mood to hang out and talk. Sometimes I just want to wander with Miles and think or not think but be alone.

  9. ilargia64 says:

    Well!!! Do not worry: there are people like that, and may be she even meant that….Probably it is the same with her neighbours, her doctors, her child teachers….If she can not get what she pretends from them, she rejects them and looks for another one, without even giving them a second thought..
    She was looking straight into your eyes, but the question is: was she able to “look” at you?Was she able to “listen” to you? Because you advised her very kindly! She should teach her child that the wise thing is to ask for permission before petting any pet..Thay are alive and they have feelings and bad days and fears…!!!
    A wuf from Sigh!

    • TBM says:

      I remember my mom always telling me to ask before approaching animals. And I still do that. I know youngsters don’t always remember or listen. Miles does have bad days or moments. Oh well, you can’t please everyone and my biggest concern is making sure Miles is safe and unharmed. He’s not in the park to entertain everyone, but to play and work off his energy so I can get work done 🙂

  10. sued51 says:

    How odd…LIke TBM, I hope she meant “kid friendly” or appropriate for her child. You were being very thoughtful…and she was…not thoughtful.
    Hope after writing the post you can forget about her…WE think Miles is cute and appreciate your consideration!

    • TBM says:

      I really hope she just misspoke. That makes more sense. And I hope they found a dog who loves kids and who does’t mind having a little one tug on its ears and tail. Miles is not that type.

  11. Caroline says:

    Hmm I wonder what she meant. I actually don’t think she meant it the way you interpreted it but I understand that you felt like that and that it would be very hurtful indeed. . I feel if she had meant it in a negative way, against Miles, she would have said it different. Saying a “better” dog, I feel was meant in relation to the kid. Meaning – a dog who is more suited and wouldn’t throw him over. You must have made it clear that he has a lot of energy. That’s how I think she meant it. A dog which can be approached better as he is calm and relaxed.
    Nobody can really think that they would find a “better” dog than Miles in the sense of nicer/cuter… They can’t. 🙂 I’m pretty sure it was disappointment talking because the child couldn’t just get close.

    • TBM says:

      I really hope you are right Caroline. Some dogs are fantastic with kids and I’ve seen many of them in the park. I did feel bad about letting the child down since it is hard to explain to a little one why he can’t pet the dog. And yes Miles has tons of energy. People will argue with me and say he’s a puppy. He’s ten and I’ve lived with him for seven of those years. I should lie and say he is a puppy and that’s why he jumps on people.

  12. bocafrau says:

    That’s so not a nice thing to say. I’m on the opposite side of the coin, my little one loves dogs, all dogs and it’s been a trial trying to teach her that you first need to ask permission from the owner and let the dog sniff your hand. She just barrels right ahead and goes straight for the dog…

    • TBM says:

      That can be dangerous, but it is a hard point to get across to a small child, especially ones who love dogs. I hope she learns soon. Keep trying. I keep hoping I can get Miles not to jump on people. I think you’ll have more luck than me 🙂

  13. A better dog? Unbelievable. She just didn’t think before speaking. I’m sure she meant “one more suitable for children.”

  14. Carl V. says:

    I tend to want to give people the benefit of the doubt in these situations and assume they did not mean what they said in the way they said it. And if they did, then their loss. Your dog is a cutie. Mine is an incredible jumper and though we have tried to train him to stop the only time it is successful is if the person is also trained to give him the same commands and so it never works when he meets strangers. So we end up doing things similar to what you just did in regards to putting ourselves between Charlie and the people and trying to explain. Don’t want my dog somehow scarring a kid for life (emotionally or physically) in his enthusiasm.

    I was listening to NPR the other day and the guest was talking to the announcer about the ways our brains process things and he said something to the effect of, “right now while I am talking you are probably thinking ‘I wish he would shut up’, ‘I wonder if I left the oven on'” etc, going on to list a few other things and she laughed and responded “all of the above”. She obviously did not mean that as she was enjoying the interview but we often say things we wish we hadn’t said and didn’t mean.

    • TBM says:

      Ah Charlie, love the name and his enthusiasm. It would be horrible if Miles injured a child and then the child ended up being terrified of dogs. I’m with you Carl, and I do my best to avoid this situation at all times. Kids and dogs are great–but you need the right kind of dog.

      And I can feel for the woman on NPR–I am the queen of saying the wrong thing. The better half teases me all of the time. Also, I tend to get my tone wrong. Sometimes I sound annoyed when I’m not. The other day someone asked me to sign a petition. I tried explaining that I wasn’t a resident so I wasn’t sure of the legality. But I was informed later that my words and tone came across wrong. I felt horrible but it was too late to correct. At the time I was asked I was hoisting a large bag full of groceries on my back after making my way through an extremely packed store. I’ll admit I was irritated but not by the woman. She ended up getting the brunt of it though.

  15. Carol says:

    I don’t imagine she meant it the way it sounded.

    Our dog is a jumper too. He just loves people, but I will say he when we’re walking and a kid wants to pet him, he acts like he’s perfect. When our friends walk in the house, he can’t help “attacking” them.

  16. pattisj says:

    Her thoughts were probably focused on her child, and she didn’t want to chance a bad experience for everyone. In that light, she was looking for a better doggie “meet and greet” for her child. My grandchildren were afraid of dogs, having not been around them; and a niece was bitten on the face when very young.
    How many times have we said things that didn’t turn out exactly as we meant? I know I have.
    I love that sweet face in the third picture.

    • TBM says:

      I can completely understand if she was worried about her child. As a parent, I would be super protective. And I would like to think she just misspoke and didn’t mean any harm. Your poor niece—that must have been terrifying. When I was a child a rabid dog tormented our street one afternoon. Two of my friends were bitten. It was a horrible day and I can still remember it 30 years later. The children were fine and were treated at the hospital. Both have scars though and one of them was bitten on the face. I’m still hesitant to approach dogs without permission. You never know what will happen.

  17. Poor Miles – he´s better off staying away from some kiddies, you never knw where they´ve been 😉 Seriously though, weird thing to say. Luna, one of my dogs, is not good with kiddies because one of our neighbours (a young bully boy) has thrown stones at her since she was a puppy and we didn´t catch on until a while after – so she´s nervous of children. Honestly, some people!

    • TBM says:

      Poor Luna! That’s horrible. His parents would have heard from me. Why anyone would hurt an animal or tease them in such a way is beyond my comprehension.

  18. Jo Bryant says:

    I’d like to think Caroline got it right…but I guess you’ll never know. I have to be careful with Chevvy. She is a sweetheart but not kid or other dog friendly…except with a couple of dogs she knows. Other owners approach with that ‘ohhhhh let’s let our doggies play’ bowl up and do it way and it really makes me nervous. She needs to be appraoched calmly and they look at me like I am a looney when I step in between to give her time. As for people she is a jumper [and nervous around new people] so I am always explaining that to looks of ‘don’t be silly’, because she looks like a puppy they tend to treat her that way. it gets a bit frustrating at times. Gives Miles a {{{hug}}} from me and tell him I think he is just perfect the way he is. And remind yourself that you are just doing your job…keeping him safe and to hell with the rest.

    • TBM says:

      My big problem in London is that a lot of dogs are off their leads and approach Miles too quickly. He’s losing his eyesight in one eye and he gets freaked out. Then he starts to growl, the other dog starts to growl and the owner looks to me. Some owners get offended when I step in the way and protect Miles–I feel bad about that, but like you said, my job is to protect my boy. I know his temperament and I know what will set him off. And yes, give Chevvy a hug for me as well. No matter what, they are perfect for us.

      • Jo Bryant says:

        Chevvy has taken to being even more cuddly lately. She comes up beside me and her front paws go on my chest…she stretches out licking my face as she goes. Makes it very hard to do anything other than laugh and cuddle. Her point exactly I think.

      • TBM says:

        Miles has the same way–he can get me to stop everything and cuddle. Atticus has a different approach. He’ll bite until you give him a pet. Still effective.

  19. Lucid Gypsy says:

    What a rude woman how dare she? she would have seen the sharp edge of my tongue!

  20. Lucid Gypsy says:

    And Miles is gorgeous, Bostons are so cute!

  21. Well, I think Miles is one handsome devil! Just look at that face. Very wise. 🙂

    Reggie doesn’t like meeting people on the street. He gets very afraid so I try to respect his wishes. Luckily most of the kids in the neighborhood ask before they try to pet him. I always tell them that he’s shy and doesn’t like to be petted. I feel bad but better safe than sorry!

    Is Halloween a problem for you? One time a kid dressed as Darth Vader came running toward him wielding a light saber and Reggie freaked. Started barking and growling. I had to drag him away. The mom looked at me like he was a bad dog, but you know, it was her kid who scared him.

    • TBM says:

      I wish more people would respect that not all dogs want to meet people or other dogs. My number one concern is Miles. His walks are just that, his. I want him to get his exercise and to enjoy the time. Not worry about all the big people, buses, dogs, ect.

      And poor Reggie! Halloween is not big here so we don’t have to worry about that. I would jump if someone ran towards me with a light saber. Of course he freaked out. Can’t blame him at all. I’m surprised the mom didn’t apologize. I would have. You can’t always control children, especially when they are hopped up on sugar, but common courtesy, in my book, would be to apologize that the kid scared the heck out of your dog.

  22. lynnsbooks says:

    How very rude! You just can’t believe some people. Maybe she really hadn’t realised she’d said it out loud! Imagine if that actually happened! Think nicey nice thoughts!!
    Lynn 😀

  23. petit4chocolatier says:

    I understand fully what you are saying. I am not understanding her though.
    Your little dog is so cute!!!

    • TBM says:

      Thanks. the problem for me is that he also thinks he’s cute and that everyone wants to pet him. I try to explain that not all people love dogs.

  24. That comment was just mean! He looks adorable. Like people, I think dogs are more fun if they have character any way! Is he a French Boxer?

    • TBM says:

      Miles is a Boston Terrier who actually moved to London from Boston. However, he was born in Colorado. His passport is pretty impressive 🙂

  25. letizia says:

    LOVE the photos of Miles 🙂

  26. LOL Miles! Love him. What a … oh I’de better not. I’m not that fond of kids. I would let Miles topple me anyday! I have had huge dogs give me a big public cuddle before and I don’t mind it. There are those ‘precious’ people though. Maybe she has never experienced a puppy cuddle.

    • TBM says:

      I love when dogs want to meet me and if they are friendly. I had a dog get my muddy last weekend in one of the parks and I didn’t mind at all. I know what it’s like to be the owner trying to apologize. Miles would love to say hi I’m sure.

  27. nrlymrtl says:

    OK, I know you already have a ton of responses here, but I have to say that some people just aren’t pet people and they don’t get how such statements come off. She also might have been thinking that she needed to find a better match of a dog for her toddler, due to his size, etc. Your Miles is exceedingly cute, by the way.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks. I do try to remember that not everyone loves pets. I can tell the ones who don’t in our neighborhood and I do my best to keep Miles under control so he doesn’t run over to say hi.

  28. i think she was rude as well and wish you had said, “that’s okay. miles is waiting for a cuter kid”.

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