Okay. So, Sarah and I were running the perimeter of Berkeley Lake yesterday afternoon and, up ahead, I noticed a 60ish woman, her hair coiffed to perfection, her shorts, shirt surely no less than Nieman Marcus, a tiny yapper (don’t get me wrong, I love all dogs), on one of those retractable leads that allows the critter to roam twenty feet from the mechanism held in the hand that allows the operator–the human half of the dog/owner bond–to press a button and retract the extent of lead provided to the dog. Near the bank of the lake, a boy dangled a line into the water, probably the woman’s grandson, also covered–hat, shirt, shorts, shoes–in the obvious finery of high-end togs.
Now, if you don’t know, Sarah–my dog–is a precocious 97 pound female Alaskan Malamute who ascribes to the “…off with their heads…” philosophy with regard to other dogs, especially females, espoused by the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), whose conclusive imperative was “…sentence first, verdict afterwards.”
Suffice it to say, Sarah focused on the yapper. Doom imminent.
As is my practice when Sarah and I approach another dog on the trail, I wrapped her six-foot leash (attached to a sturdy harness that encircles her chest and neck), around my fist, thus shortening her extension from me to less than a foot. Coiffed grandma, noticing my approach, did not reel in her yapper who was yapping ferociously–it’s the wee critters who usually see themselves as giants amongst their peers–and, for me, it was clear evasive maneuvers were required.
Evasive maneuvers demanded distancing me and Sarah from the unrestrained yapper. The only distancing possible was/is to move off the paved path and onto the dirt/weed perimeter that abuts the fence separating the park from I70. Unfortunately, at that precise point where the distancing was necessary, a bog had developed–standing water, gooey mud, goose poop and God knows what else. But, it was the only option as, by this time, Sarah was asserting herself, tail up, ears perked, growls and barks, pulling against my sturdy hold of her leash. She smelled blood!
So, into the bog we went, the yapper inches from Sarah’s desire to chomp its neck, shake it hard and end its days on this earth.
Down I went, slip-sliding in the nasty mush, still determined to avert the mouth-to-neck connection with the yapper Sarah so desired. It was only then that the grandma pulled in her four-legged ward and ogled my slay in the mud.
“Was that my fault?” she said, hand on hip, yapper reined in. “I was watching the boy.” She nodded toward the child at the edge of the lake.
I rose, covered in muck, turned to the granny and said, “Thank you.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said she. “Was that my fault?” she repeated.
I turned, inventoried the damage–my New York Giants hat, shirt, shorts, shoes plastered with the offal I had just wallowed in–considered what I must look like to others I might pass as we finished our run. I determined I probably looked like I’d just, yes, wallowed in offal, shrugged, recommenced our run.
No big deal. I know, I know…shit happens. But, please, you DUNDERHEADED, IGNOBLE, MINDLESS, SELF-INDULGED IGNORAMUSES WITH NO FUCKING CLUE ABOUT THE NATURE OF DOGS AND THE NECESSITY TO ANTICIPATE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PROXIMITY OF ONE DOG TO ANOTHER IN A PARK SETTING–OR ANYWHERE, FOR THAT MATTER–GET A FUCKING CLUE! YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ANIMAL!
And, by the way, pick up your dog’s shit and deposit it in a trashcan. Please and thank you!