This story comes from two sources: a witness and a participant. I didn’t witness it first-hand.
I love hanging out at the dog park because it’s usually such a laid-back place. The atmosphere ranges from tranquil to boisterous good fun, and so far, thank goodness, I haven’t had a bad experience. I haven’t even witnessed one. But they do happen.
I first heard this from Dee, who has the sweetest lab/Bernese cross named Shy (and she’s anything but.) I had left Dee and a group of people, including Ronnie, a few days earlier, and on my way to the car heard a horrible ruckus explode. I was late to get the kids from school, and too far to turn back, but when I saw Dee again a few days later, I asked her what had happened.
She thought, frowning. “Oh, that must have been the fight Ronnie got into!”
It had sounded like a dog fight to me, and I couldn’t imagine who had come along ten seconds after my departure to make such scene, but I said, “Ronnie got into a fight? Why?”
“Some guy was throwing a ball for his dog,” she explained, “and Holly was chasing it too… he told Ronnie to control Holly… and Ronnie tried, but you know how obedient Holly is… so Ronnie suggested he put his ball away in the park… and then the guy told Ronnie to put Holly on a leash so he could play ball with his dog, and Ronnie told him he doesn’t bring the dog to keep her on a leash… Then the guy walked away, but Holly was following him, I guess hoping he’d throw the ball again, so the guy turned to Ronnie and asked, ‘Why is your dog still following me?’ and Ronnie…” Dee started laughing. “Ronnie said, ‘I guess she likes the smell of s***!'” Then she noticed the Middle Child standing there, and apologized profusely for the language. The Middle Child, quite accustomed to inappropriate language from her parents, just rolled her eyes.
“He chose the wrong dude to pick a fight with,” I said. “This is Ronnie’s park.”
A day later I ran into Ronnie. “I heard you’re getting into fights these days. Do we have to ban you from the park?”
Ronnie looked puzzled. “What did you hear?”
“Dee told me– Shy’s owner,” I explained, because even though Ronnie knows more human names than anyone else, even he doesn’t know them all. “The other day, after I left, I heard a lot of yelling. She said Holly was chasing someone’s ball…”
“Oh yeah, that’s right!” Ronnie started to laugh. “What an a******! I really lost it with that guy.” His version of events matched Dee’s almost exactly, maybe a few more details and a few more cuss words. “Some attitude, eh? Like the park belongs to him.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “I told Dee he picked the wrong guy to mess with. We all know it’s your park. Still, I thought I heard a dog fight. It sounded like you were yelling at a dog.”
Ronnie frowned. “What day was that again?”
“Last Wednesday,” I said. “You know, there was me, you, Dee and Shy, that woman and her two dogs…”
“Oh that’s right!” He laughed. “You did hear a dog fight. That woman’s dog, Kumon, all of a sudden she attacked Shy. I had to pull her off. That dog has issues.”
That bothered me more than Ronnie’s fight; Kumon is a human-friendly dog, and other than a constant need to jump up and lick my face, I hadn’t noticed any “issues.” I glanced at Our Best Friend, who has plenty of issues, and prayed that Ronnie would never have to pull him off another dog.
“Well, you watch yourself,” I warned Ronnie, “and don’t let me catch you fighting again!”
Ronnie got indignant. “I don’t fight! I’m an easy-going guy! But I’m not going to put up with attitude from anyone!”
I refrained from pointing out that the comment about personal odour was probably unnecessary, and agreed that, of course, no one should have to put up with attitude from anyone at the dog park.
As I walked back to my car, I considered how interesting it was that, when asked what I had heard, Dee remembered a fight from a day I wasn’t there, and failed to remember the attack on her own dog. Dog fights we expect; human fights at the park are a little more memorable. And it emphasizes my belief that, though you first come to the park for the dog, we return because of the people.
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