Saturday, February 9, 2008


Okay, so I lied to the guy. I don't like lying but there are some occasions when a little lie is a safe move, like when the man with puffed up chest and the alpha male monkey stance is standing ten feet away with one of two snarling German Shepherds at the end of a leash.

Duncan and I enjoyed a nice leisurely late afternoon walk under a deepening blue sky with stripes of pink and gold clouds cutting across it. It was warm today–in the upper 50's–but I haven't felt quite right so I spent much of it asleep on the couch. The snow has mostly melted and the grass is one wide soggy marsh so we kept to the sidewalks and it was only toward the end of the walk as we were coming through the baseball diamonds that I saw The Shepherds–off leash, of course–and their people walking far behind.

I stopped, my heavy stick tucked under my arm and my camera in my pocket, and waited for their owners to leash them up. When they finally noticed me we continued on our way.

"I'd like to ask you why you called the cops on us," he said in a thick accent that sounded vaguely Chicago-esque.

"Someone called the cops?" I asked, feigning shock at the audacity of whomever had been discourteous enough to do such a thing.

"Yeah, animal control was here three times last week," he said, and added, "It's a good thing we know all of them." Wouldn't you know it. Just my luck. "She was very nice," he continued. "She warned us three times but didn't give us a ticket although she might next time."

"Well," I said, "Next time maybe you should keep your dogs on a leash."

Then I got the whole story. They've been coming here for fifteen years, they know all the dogs and people and have never had a problem. Their dogs are quite friendly, always under their control and have never hurt another dog. Period.

"Yeah, well..." I interrupted. "I've been charged four times by your dogs and you may have control of them but I don't so naturally I'm afraid. You admitted they don't like male dogs..."

"Not males," he cut me off. "Just Goldens."

Oh, that makes me feel a lot better. The park is certainly safer now, thanks.

When he told me I should've just communicated with them, I explained that I tried but was met with aggression and silence to which he was unable to respond. We went back and forth, even joking as all three of the dogs slurped up nice moist goose turds. His wife never spoke but stood back with the barking, growling female, who it was explained, was rescued from a highly abusive situation.

It wasn't a bad conversation and although nothing was really resolved I feel like progress was made. I'm still taking my stick, I'm still careful and I still want his dogs on a leash. Duncan and I will do our best to stay clear of them but maybe, hopefully we can work toward some sort of peaceful understanding. I remain optimistic. And if that doesn't work I can always lie about the next time I call animal control.


Lori said...

I'm glad their dogs never hurt anyone... but that does NOT mean that they won't. Perhaps the reason they haven't is because other people with dogs that their dogs "don't like" simply avoid them. I wonder how many terrific dogs (like Duncan) no longer frequent this nice park because of them? I'm glad you talked to them, though, and I'm glad you didn't 'fess up about the call. AND I hope they do get a ticket. ('Cause I'm sure they wouldn't like MY male goldens, either, and if one so much as lifted a lip at sweet old Sprocket, they'd get more than a stick!) (Well, probably not the dogs, but the owners for sure!)

CJ said...

Nothing pisses me off more. Long before I had a dog I experienced dogs charging me and nipping at my heels and a distant owner saying "oh he/she won't bite". Only dust after I pop a cap in it's ass, I thought. But I have let mine out thinking no one was around and sure enough someone will walk out their front door and my Golden will charge. I only let them out at the dog park now.

Amber said...

I could bring Alex to the park...
I can almost bet that after an encounter with her those dogs would be on a leash! Nah I wouldn't do that...I'd hate for anything bad to actually happen to any of the people/pets that visit the park. Good luck with whatever happens next.

Ruth said...

You should have put a warning on this one. I got dry heaves reading "...slurped up nice moist goose turds."