mad in pursuit journal
3.5.04 Attack of the Springer Spaniels
What is it with people and their gigantic dogs? It seems like the only people who walk in parks anymore are people with gigantic, ill-mannered dogs.
Our warm weather continues so I decided to take my walk in a nearby park. About a mile from here there is a trailhead where you can park. The narrow path descends into a deep valley along a trickling brook. You are instantly out of suburbia and into the wild.
Yesterday it got wilder. I was ambling along when a huge spaniel came galloping down the path toward me. I could hear his owner shouting in the distance but he was on the hunt. I was his prey.
He caught up with me. I stopped. He stopped and lay down panting at my feet. I tried to move. He jumped up, barking. I stood still. He lay down. So, he had me captured.
His owner appeared. She had a second beast with her. She was red-cheeked and apologetic. She screamed at my captor till he moved back to her side. I began moving quickly down the path past them. The other dog now moved in for the kill, barking, teeth bared. I shot the owner a look. She called the dog back. She kept apologizing. I didn't say a word to her, but I gave her my meanest stare while I passed. I glowered.
When I got past them my heart was pounding. I don't know if this was because the dogs had actually scared me or because I was so damned annoyed at their flustered owner. I've never been afraid of dogs, but the older I get, the less tolerant I am of their rudeness. If they aren't capturing me, they want to sniff my crotch or lick my skin. I know their owners find them sweet, harmless, and entertaining. They want me to be amused by their slobbering companions. I am not. Why not be a good sport about it? Why not walk down a narrow park trail as a fellow dog-lover delighting in their antics? Because I am old and I don't have to.
I spent the rest of my walk observing how the trail -- with its last few inches of silvery slush -- was covered with dog shit.
When I got home, I checked the internet. There, plain as day, were the rules for that park: all animals on leashes, all poop cleaned up. I'm nursing fantasies about being a volunteer sheriff's deputy, patrolling the park with a badge and a book of tickets. He-he.
Well -- maybe I'll just write a letter to our town newspaper.