My grandfather was a mailman. This may explain why I attract the attention of so many dogs as I go on my way. Running or riding past a fence is quite an affront if you happen to be of the canine persuasion. It is their territory and they guard it ferociously. It is their job. That and sleeping in the patch of sun that comes through the trees. I get it.
Our dog, who was as patient and loving as any I have encountered in my travels across the galaxy, still had issues with those who dared make the mistake of walking in front of our house. If you happened to be wearing the uniform of the United States Post Office. So much so that there was a time when she was sitting in her chair, staring out at our front lawn, when she spied a mail carrier approaching her turf. Enraged, she began to bark and paw at the window. With each step that the postman made to the mailbox, our dog became more unhinged. I had just walked into the room when the window broke. For a moment, no one moved. Not me. Not the mailman. Not our dog.
The mailman moved first. He quickly shoved a couple envelopes into our box and moved on. I looked at our dog. She looked at me. With a certain amount of resignation. "Did you just expect me to let that guy come and trifle with our empire?"
She didn't really say that. Dogs don't talk. But I could feel her profound disappointment at being in trouble for doing what came so incredibly naturally. For my part, I was more interested in keeping her from leaping through the shattered glass and continuing her pursuit in whatever shape the shredding and the drop would allow her to. Happily for all concerned, the pause was long enough to keep her inside the house, and though she was still agitated, her focus had shifted.
Which is why I tend not to exacerbate the situation when I run past a dog who is working to protect their masters' domain. I understand that it's nothing personal. It's just a job. It's not an easy job either. There are constant threats to their sovereign territory. It might look like they are simply passing by, but they won't be fooled. They put on a show of teeth and snarls. Don't let that tail fool you. This is for real. Until the sun hits that certain spot on the yard. Then it's time for a break. Vigilance takes a lot of of a pup.