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Rumble in the Puddle

Last night, before I burned my retinas with jalepeños, Bill and I took Gracie for a walk to the park so she could hang with her pooches for a while. When we got there, the usual crew was hanging out, but everyone was standing around with their dogs on their leashes. The owners were cranky and the dogs were pissed.

On one side of the park there was a group of about 20 dogs all doing obedience and agility training. They were standing patiently waiting to do their thing and none of them were barking or sniffing of doing anything remotely inappropriate like humping random dogs—or legs. On the other side of the park was the rag-tag bunch of misbehaving off-leash mutts who just wanted to hang out, roll around in the mud puddle and run like the goofy dogs they are. It was like a scene out of “West Side Story”—the Sharks and the Jets were ready to rumble over turf.

Before Bill and I got there, there was a face-off with the dog trainer who was yelling at our group about allowing the dogs off-leash. Of course, they yelled right back about the trainer not having a license to set up in the park, and about the park being public property anyway. And, oh yeah, we’re homeowners and our association dues pay for this.

At some point both groups retreated to their corners to figure out what to do. The trainers set up all their equipment and got their Robo Dogs ready to work.

Meanwhile, the owner of two Australian Cattle Dogs unhooked their leashes. He figured that his dogs would come when called if they wandered to close to the Robo Dogs. Slowly, other people started taking off leashes or at the very least, dropping them so they had something to grab in case all hell broke loose.

Things were fine for a while until Theo, the 7-month-old Australian Cattle Dog grabbed Gracie’s leash and decided to take her for a walk. It was really cute. I thought about asking Theo for advice for walking Gracie since he seemed to have more control over her than I do…

Theo and Gracie were strolling around like this for a few minutes when a little terror terrier from our group suddenly rocketed toward the obedience class. And all 25 dogs followed. Gracie’s buddy Theo ran right in the middle of the pack, with Gracie’s leash still in his mouth—and Gracie in tow. Of course, when Theo’s dad called him, he dropped the leash and ran back. Gracie? Not so much. She barreled right through the group and started barking and dancing around like, “C’mon, let’s play. Forget this crap. Run with me! Run!”

A snot-nosed brat of a kid grabbed Gracie, presumably by the collar but actually by her scruff, and dragged her back to me. He totally lectured me about getting my dog under control. You can imagine how well THAT went over. Bill, trying not to laugh, gave me that look like, Don’t Beat the Boy. Of course, the dog trainer had to yell at me and lecture me about training my dog. The sad thing is, I have trained my dog. And even if I hadn’t, the last thing I’d do is enroll in her class.

We corralled Gracie and kept her near us for the rest of the night. She was okay with that—she sat down and held court while the other dogs came and sniffed and paid their proper respects.

And the best part of the night? One of the Robo Dogs couldn’t contain himself any longer. He wanted to be with the Fun-Having Dogs not the hard-working Robo Dogs. He broke free from the agility course and bolted right for our group. His owner, the previously mentioned Snot-Nosed Brat Who Manhandled My Dog came running after him. Embarrassed. As he should have been. Someone, I think Theo’s father, grabbed that dog by the scruff and escorted him back to The Other Side. Someone else couldn’t resist and asked the kid how the training was going.

After that, the leashes came off. Dog Training Be Damned.

I don’t think we’ll see them again any time soon.

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4 Responses

  1. Frankly, even I had a good time. But don’t tell Mo or Gracie!

  2. NO WAY! Comment from Bil!

    I think this post is a cool analogy for human life. I think a lot of us spend way too much time feeling like Robo Dogs…having to go to work, do our jobs, fulfill our numerous responsibilities, day in and day out. But inside, we all just want to be Fun Having Dogs! Rules, conformity, obedience be damned! We could all learn a little from Gracie’s attitude of, “C’mon, let’s play. Forget this crap! Run with me! Run!” I love it!

  3. I’m with Lesley — I want to run and play and not work and behave. Lucky Gracie!!

  4. When bad owners happen to good dogs…

    What a tool! (RoboDog’s Snot Nosed Brat Owner)

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