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When I’m Walking My Injured Dog – Mind Your Own Business

My dog had surgery in December.

He had scar tissue removed from his hip area and the result was a shaved butt and back with a bandage around his rear end (difficult to keep clean) and drain tubes sticking out.

We were a sight!

We live in an apartment complex with probably 100 dogs. And while I took my dog out at quieter times (5:30 a.m., 11 a.m.) people were still out and they noticed.

And sometimes they’d say directly to my dog:

“Oh, poor baby. What happened to you?”

People love dogs. People have big hearts. People care.

But I generally don’t want to talk about my dog’s health problems with strangers.

My dog Ace

And, strangers, here’s why:

Maybe it’s none of your business. Maybe my dog’s health issues make me sad.

Maybe his problems are difficult to explain. Maybe the location of his wound is embarrassing.

Maybe I don’t know what’s wrong and I’d rather not talk about it.

Maybe you should mind your own business.

If I had just had surgery I wouldn’t want random strangers saying, “Oh, poor baby. What happened to you?”

Most likely I wouldn’t want to explain.

With my dog, I just wish random strangers would not ask me what’s wrong with him or what happened.

It’s different here on the blog where I openly write about personal issues and encourage feedback and questions. That kind of support is helpful.

It’s another thing when I’m just trying to enjoy a little walk with my best friend and people want me to explain.

I’m sure some dog owners would love to be asked about their dogs’ problems and would love to talk about them.

That’s fine.

It’s just that I don’t.

Can any of you relate to this on either side?

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Monday 8th of February 2016

Recently my dog, Dahlia, suffered from vestibular disease, something that I found out affects a lot of older dogs (and cats!). During the worst of it, she was very unbalanced, fell a lot, walked in circles, and had a horrible head tilt. It was clear from watching the way she staggered as she walked and occasionally fell over that something was wrong with her. I had more than one person come over to ask what was wrong with her. I know some were looking at me like I was a monster. My own brother looked at her and said "Why didn't you put her down?" Well, vestibular disease is something that dogs recover from (2 months out and she's about 95% normal). And I had never heard of it before. So I'll be honest -- I was glad people ended up asking me even if they thought it was because I was a terrible person. It gave me a chance to educate them on something that COULD happen to their dog someday. The day it happened, we thought she had suffered a stroke and were going to have to put her down. We were thankful that it was "just" vestibular disease. So if I can educate someone on the possibility of its happening to their animal, then I'll gladly take their sneering looks and their "why would you put your dog through this" questions.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 8th of February 2016

I'm so glad she's doing better now. I have heard of vestibular disease but am not very familiar with it.

Nancy's Point

Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Most people who ask are probably animal lovers and likely genuinely care or are just curious. A simple solution might be if people merely added right up front, do you mind me asking? Or something like that. That would give an out if you didn't feel like talking about it. I never thought about this before. Great topic. Thank you.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

And the good news is most dogs don't mind when people ask about them! They'll take any attention they can get. (most dogs anyway)


Monday 1st of February 2016

There is something about dogs that just screams "hey, feel free to come over and talk to me" for some reason. Usually I don't mind, but if my dog had an injury that's probably the last thing I'd want as a conversation starter.


Monday 1st of February 2016

I've never even thought about this, but thanks for bringing it up because I will now. I am so sorry you are having to even face these sort of questions because of your Ace's medical issues. I hope you see some improvement soon.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 1st of February 2016

Thank you so much


Monday 1st of February 2016

My dog was in a cast for months, and I used to get a lot of comments. Some I really didn't mind, like a little girl who was also in a cast whose parents said, "Look, the puppy is like you!" The girl then had a great time petting my dog and bonding with him over a shared injury. It was adorable. The only comments that really bothered me were the judgmental ones. I had a pet store employee come up to me and start telling me off for letting him walk when his leg was broken. My vet had actually said it was good for him to walk a little bit because it would help press the broken bits of bone together. Plus, that damn leg took MONTHS to heal! At least four, I think. A couple times a week we'd carry him to a pet store and let him limp up to the rawhide bins, get a treat, and get sympathy pats from strangers. It was all the poor dog had!

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 1st of February 2016

Aww, poor little guy!