Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dog Park Dilemma

A couple of weeks ago I took our dog, Tink, to the local dog park. She loves to go and it makes me feel like a good pet owner to take her! We used to go at least once a week, but lately we've only been about once or twice a month. She perks up and does flips anytime she hears me utter the mere phrase "dog park."

Going to the dog park is always a great adventure because you don't know who you are going to meet there, or what might happen when 40 dogs are bounding about at breakneck speeds. It's a microcosm of humanity and their four-legged friends. I have been peed on by a dog, jumped on by a great dane, and had mischievious mutts run off with my tennis balls as I played fetch with my dog. Minor irritaions that can be overlooked; although, I didn't really appreciate being marked as territory with urine. Luckily, I was able to wash my jeans off with a hose, but was contemplating retaliation before I found the strength to resist the urge.

BTW the owner of the offending pooch upon seeing his dog in the process merely said in a quiet, dead-pan voice, "No Bobby." What? Can't you at least yell at your dog and make an effort to stop him? Would it be so difficult to express to me that you're sorry your dog used me like a tree?


And that's what brings me to the point of this post....yes, there really is one. The last time I went with Tink to the park, we encountered a large, pure white dog. It was either a husky or malamute, or possibly even one of those wolf hybrids that some people want to own as proof that they themselves are rugged, wild-at-heart individuals. Initially, the dog would just get near my dog and chase her for a few seconds. Tink hates to be chased or bullied by other dogs and usually turns around, faces off with them, and barks to let them know that she wants them to cut it out. She's about 35 pounds and a medium sized dog. However, this dog would wander off and then come back to try and assert him/herself over Tink. Eventually, it was clear that this dog was not playing. It came back around while I was playing fetch with her, pinned Tink to the ground and wouldn't let her go. When things were broken up, Tink was bleeding and hurt. The dog had bitten her ear and broken the skin on her neck. It wasn't a serious injury; but, it also wasn't dog "play."

Once I saw that her ear was bleeding, I grabbed her collar and started to lead her to the nearby hose. The owner of the white dog was just standing there and her dog was nearby. I asked her if she could hold onto her dog for a minute while I cleaned the blood off Tink. She looked at me blankly and made no move to get her dog or apologize for her dog's behavior. I got the hose and as I tended to the wound the only thing she said to me was, " I don't know why you brought your dog in here!" At first I was just shocked that she would say such a stupid thing. After about two seconds of staring at her, I said, " OK...your dog just attacked mine with no provoaction and actually injured her....and you want to tell me that my dog shouldn't be here? Are you kidding me? I can't believe that you would say that to me!" She didn't reply to me and simply walked off with her dog and eventually left.

The problem with the dog park is that there are only two options...the small dog section and the large dog section. My dog doesn't quite fit either category. The small dog section is usually inhabited by chihuauas, jack russells, yorkies, poodles and other truly small dogs. The large section has just about everything else. There are many other dogs the same size as mine in the large dog section, so it's not like my dog is running only with great danes and rottweillers.

What made me so ticked off was that this woman seemed completely disconnected with what happened. At no point did she say "Gee, I'm sorry that my dog bit your dog," or maybe even ask, "Is your dog OK?" Instead, she seemed not to care. What's worse is that she appeared not to realize that her dog had done something that could prove dangerous to other people or animals. What would she have said if her dog got loose and attacked her neighbor's dog? "I don't know why you had a dog! Don't you know that my dog likes to dismember other dogs! How stupid can you be?"

The whole thing has left a bad tase in my mouth that I can't quite seem to get rid of. My poor dog would love to go back, but I am not sure that I could contain myself if I encountered this woman again.

Still looking for the good in this bed of weeds......

P.S. Tink's fine and her ear has healed.

1 comment:

Foxxey said...

My God, Since her dog attacked yours without reason, I don't see the harm in you having turned the hose on her...hahaha. I bet that would at least have made you laugh at a crappy time. I'm glad your dog is ok. I've also had silly encounters with owners that should have been at the end of the leash instead!