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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.

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