A Woman Shamed Me When I Was Walking My Dog

Michelle Jaqua


I have a routine of taking a morning walk with my dog. We walk down to the river about a mile away, turn around and then walk back home. There are typically other dog-walkers, runners, and people alone or in groups also walking the same trek.

I don't wear a mask when I walk outside. Me and my husband are healthcare professionals and work several days a week at our local hospital. We usually have between 5-20 COVID positive people with whom we come in direct contact during our shift. We always follow precaution guidelines at work, and out in the community, like the grocery store.

I believe in masks and that they are one of the ways to keep down the rising numbers of COVID cases.

However, I don't wear a mask when I'm walking my dog outside. I know there are a lot of opinions out there, but I don't like opinions. Opinions are based on how people see their own truth. I'd rather get facts based on science. And according to our country's guidelines, and I'm quoting the CDC here, "Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others".

Yeah. Exactly.

So, anyway, I was outside walking my dog this morning, sans mask. I got to the river and as I usually do, I greet people with a friendy "Good Morning!". Once I did this and I got freaked out, so I don't do it so much anymore, but I still see someone sometimes and give them a hello.

I was on a wide path walking my dog and a lady with blonde hair, probably mid-fifties, approached me.

I held my dog closer to me so she didn't scare the lady (my dog is part Pit Bull, part Mastiff, and can be intimidating). As the woman got closer to me, I gave her a casual smile and said, "Good morning".

This woman didn't say anything back to me. Instead, she side-eyed me, curled her lip and SNEERED at me.

The look of disgust on her face threw me back on my heels for a second. I couldn't decipher why she gave me a nasty look. All I'd done was say good morning to her. My dog wasn't out of control, I didn't have snot coming out of my nose, and I don't think I'm hideous to look at.

Then it occured to me; it had to be because I wasn't wearing a mask outside. However, here's the ironic part: She wasn't properly wearing a mask either. I mean, that's how I knew she sneered at me, I could see her mouth.

Yes, she did have a mask on, but it was below her chin. Her face was completely exposed.

Now I understand if I got dirty looks or restricted from entering a public area because I wasn't following the mandates of mask-wearing at indoor public. But I was outside, six feet away from others, following CDC guidelines. This is where I say, "Hey! If you don't like it, then where a mask. But don't shame me, especially when you aren't wearing a mask either."

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Michelle Jaqua is a freelance writer who lives in the beautiful state of Oregon. She writes about a variety of news and happenings in the Pacific Northwest, along with some PNW history and fun facts. Subscribe to her page and get her posts in your email.


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