Some people are people watchers….while others (like myself) can fall as easily into a similar category called dog watchers. Being a dog watcher doesn’t entail babysitting someone’s dogs while they are on vacation ~ but they are people who like to sit at the dog park (or other random places people and their dogs congregate) and watch dogs.
I guess I watch the people just as much as the dogs, but I always find observing the human and the K-9 interaction so interesting. I know this isn’t the case with everyone just as I know everyone doesn’t share my fascination for forensic science or chickens and farming, but it is still something I find myself drawn to do.
During the winter months there was much less going on at the parks and other places I go but the weather is starting to warm up bringing people and their K-9 companions out to exercise and soak up the sun.
There is nothing more that I love than to watch a dog and human who obviously love each other …either walking in the park, playing ball, jogging, hiking or having fun doing anything that they both enjoy….I seriously find a huge amount of joy in this. The language between human and dog may be unspoken but easy for me to read in both human and K-9 body language.
On the flip side when you see a dog that is fearful of a human or obviously not having a good time, I find it absolutely heart wrenching to watch.
This comes to mind today because after seeing this man, three dogs and his girlfriend at the park a few days ago, the image of this man is still haunting me.
I sat in my car waiting on a prescription to be filled and noticed a couple walking towards my car, one dog on a leash held by the woman and two dogs scurrying just along side of the tree line. One dog was a puss-gutted beagle and the other a black lab that had one of the worst coats I have ever seen.
What caught my attention was not only the fact the guy had the dogs off leash running in the park while lots of other people were in the park, but the fact that he was flapping his arms in the air yelling and screaming at the dogs while walking. The beagle seemed to just keep himself at a safe distance from the man and would periodically flash back a glance at the guy to make sure he was still far enough away to avoid being hit… but the lab was clearly terrified. Every time the man swung his arms and yelled, the lab sunk further and further into him self just as his tail sunk further and further between his legs…….he was crouched so low that I honestly didn’t even realize he was a full grown lab until they tried to load them into the truck parked directly in front of me.
I don’t know what the man was saying as he was walking nor could I figure out what the dog was doing wrong, but the only thing really clear to me was the fact the dog had no idea what the guy wanted of him……He didn’t know what he was doing wrong.
By the time they got to the truck, the woman got into the cab of the truck with her dog….the two loose dogs did everything in their power to get away from the guy. The beagle hung out below the car parked next door while the lab continued to flee from the man, darting from car to car for cover. My heart hurt while I watched them but I did my best to mind my own business until the guy drew back his leg and kicked the black lab. That was the end of me minding my own business.
I swung open my car door and slid out of the car in one swift motion……..shouting “Hey, don’t do that again or I’ll call the cops.” (While I secretly prayed the dogs would run away, as fast as their little legs would carry them.) He said, “Mind your own fucking business lady.” I said, “Do it again and watch what I do” while swinging my cell phone in the air.
Now I am no dummy, I know that people who abuse animals, 99% if the time also end up abusing humans if they aren’t already doing so…..I knew this guy could potentially come over and punch me or kick me like he had the lab…. and in the boxing ring compared to this big guy….I didn’t stand a chance.
I then said, “If you don’t want them, I’ll take them.” (Instantly thinking, maybe I should of said all of this before I told him I’d call the cops on him…) As soon as I got it out of my mouth the girlfriend rolled out of the passenger side of the truck, stood and took a long look at me as if to size me up in some strange fashion and quickly went to helping the boyfriend collect the dogs. I couldn’t help but wonder if he hurt her too……I stood in silence as I waited on some response from the man or the woman……they both swiftly took to ignoring me. (I wanted to make a mental note of his license plate but I was unable to see it with the tailgate of the truck down.) Damn, I’m thinking….run dogs, run!!
The dogs were finally caught and chucked into the back of an open truck bed much like someone would throw in a bag of mulch; the tailgate slammed shut and the truck sped out of the parking lot.
My heart hurt inside as I watched the truck drive off in the distance. I pressed my eyes shut and said a prayer for the dogs.
This behavior IS exactly why I prefer K-9 companions to humans any day. Some people are just idiots.