The concept of Off-Leash Doggie Parks is appealing. A reasonably well maintained, fenced in place where I can run around really fast with my ears flat against my skull, sniffing pee mail and chasing after my best buddy, Hank Bacon, while he plays flingyball.
The reality of a Doggie Park is not appealing. Case in point – My Sunday Morning.
Diana and I went with Hank Bacon and his Mom, Kristina. We went to a well-known park in a largish city east of Seattle around 10:00 am on a lovely, sunny morning.
We always go to the Small Dog area. I’m little. I’m only 11 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 13 lbs. Hank Bacon is taller – and weighs more, but he’s not that big either. The rule at the dog park is for dogs under 16 inches at the shoulder and not more than 20-25 lbs.
Seems reasonable. But if you do a quick calculation – dogs 2x my size are allowed. That calculation is considerable.
We had the place to ourselves for almost ½ hour. Soon two Shi Tzu’s came to play. They were really nice and friendly. After the prerequisite sniff greeting, they ran around and played with their human and Hank and I went back to flingyball and flingyball player chasing. No big deal.
Next, two standard American Eskimo dogs arrived. Their owner left them on leash while in the pen area. They growled low in their throats, their fur was up all and their tails were in the extremely confident position, way up on their backs.
We sniffed each other and they growled louder. I started to bark nervously and ran back to stand by Diana. Hank Bacon stopped paying attention to flingyball and came to see what was going on. His ears went back and he very stiffly greeted them.
As soon as the Eskimo’s were released from leash, they went for me. They chased me and I started to run because it seemed like fun - at first. I didn't know. I'd never been attacked before.
Diana and Kristina saw immediately what was happening and intervened. Diana called me and I came back quickly. She grabbed my harness and clipped my leash on. Hank Bacon came right away - back to Kristina's side - and sat down while she clipped his leash on too.
The two white dogs kept coming and tried to run me over - even though I was standing still. One blocked my left, one my right.
In a flash of an eye, Hank Bacon stepped between them and barked. He barked so loudly and intensely they backed off, backed off for a second. Just enough time for Diana and Kristina to take complete control of the situation and rescue me.
The whole encounter took less than 30 seconds. Diana and Kristina scooped us up and we were out of there. Out of the enclosure that had seemed such a good idea, but had turned into a space I couldn’t escape from. Out of the reach of two dogs that should not have been there, should not have remained on leash becoming more and more aggitated, exhibiting aggressive behavior towards others, and out of the once perceived fun zone.
I’m probably never going to get to go back. Hank rescued me and I thank him deeply. I thank Diana and Kristina for having done their research and knowing the danger signs, for being so aware of our surroundings that they saw trouble immediately. I thank my lucky stars that things turned out as well as they did.
I, however, am still growling. I do not like the choice foisted upon me. Go to the off leash doggie park and risk possible injury or go to my local park and remain on leash, limited but safe.
Not fair. Not fair at all.
^ . . ^