Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sometimes, I Just Walk Away

There's a baby in the woods.

We're at a dog park in Mankato, MN, and there's a toddler -- a human
toddler --- sitting all by herself on the wooded hiking trail. Absurd.
Am I really seeing this?

We head her way because, of course, a baby left alone in the woods
needs help. Then out of nowhere, a chunky brown lab slathered in mud
comes roaring over to stop us. He growls and barks madly at my dogs,
who, thankfully, respond by walking away and not reciprocating the
attack. And then there's a smaller dog, a beagle/coon mix, also
aggressively beating us back, keeping us away from our rescue.

In flash, I see three other children, an adult and a picnic table
strewn with food. Aha. The real story coalesces as I see the gang
stroll over to the baby, who is still sitting on the path in the
woods. Now mom is sitting, too (above).

The mom -- babysitter, aunt, sister or whomever -- with the worst
possible judgement is having a picnic with her kids inside a dog
park. With their dogs. Who are, understandably, protecting their baby
and their food.

We skirt the crowd (all the while calling and whistling for our dogs,
trying to get them to ignore THEIR dogs, THEIR kids and THEIR food),
and finally get on the walking trail. THEIR dogs, unfortunately,
follow us. And when we get out of earshot of the family, THEIR dogs
settle down and become great dogs, friendly dogs, happy dogs.

Once we round the bend and the family comes into view THEIR dogs turn
bullish again.

I notice others dog and dog owners come into the park and leave. They
assess the situation, deem it unmanageable and walk away.

We do, too.

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