Wednesday, 1 February 2017

icy petals

In Austria we've just had the coldest January for 30 years. Today is 1st February and there's a thaw.

This morning I jogged and walked doggedly through a fresh fall of snow in a park in the Vienna Woods. I say doggedly because I was approached three times by strange dogs which were barking, growling and one, a little ratter, bowled into me full tilt. Fortunately I was wearing my heavy duty Berghaus leggings and nothing was damaged.

There is an area the size of 6 football pitches where dogs are allowed to run free, but for some reason best known to themselves many dog owners prefer that their dogs gallop about on paths and trails used by walkers, runners and cyclists; paths and trails where dogs are supposed to be on a lead, or at least muzzled, according to the rules.

Whenever I see a dog running towards me I immediately stop running and stand my ground. I have refined this tactic since the day I was body-checked in the same park by a flying Rottweiler in charge of a drunk. I am now able to rattle oncoming canine teeth with a swift movement of my shod foot if I think the animal is planning to bite.

The 5 most heard names of park dogs are: Here! Stop! Halt! No! and Sigmund. 

In the park I saw a reward poster stuck on a tree. It offered €10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a dog-poisoner.

Maybe the dogs think it's me?

Or maybe, as one dog owner more intelligent than the rest quietly explained to me: The thing is they don't like the colour of your jacket. 

It's orange.

I always thought dogs were colour blind. But clearly I must be wrong.

So it goes.


  1. Stand your ground Gwil, that's what I say.

    1. I'm doing my best. For the record, I checked images of doggy eyesight. Orange appears grey to a dog. I must remember to inform the critic of my jacket colour when I see him. Provided his pet is on a leash, that is.

  2. Often the owners are more dangerous than the dogs, a dog is never more fierce than it's owner ! We have incidents like that and I say just like Weaver, you must stand your ground absolutely and it's not the colour of clothes, it's often the size or the smell of it. An unstable dog with weak owners or aggresive owners, can't take a meating of any kind, but the woods and trails are public ground and you must be able to take your rounds without being chopped to pieces by some odd dachshound with fangs. Still, it's hard enough to stand your ground if there is a monster standing on the way, we have had dogs and miss not having them.

    1. Today picking my way through a sea of ice I had a close encounter with a growling K9. I thought it couldn't get across the icy woodland path to me, especially as its owner was calling it away from me, a call the K9 completely disregarded. And so yet again I had to stand my ground. Finally I had to take command the dog with a firm No! and so it stood there bemused but continued growling at me. This time I was wearing a black jacket. The owner arrived and pointed to the path behind me and said: It's only growling at you because it just saw a dog up there. I then recalled seeing a black labrador creeping quietly along minding its own business a few minutes earlier . . . / The owner of the dog must establish that he is the leader of the pack from the first. For instance the dog must always follow the owner through a door and not the other way round.