Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scenes from a dog park - day 3

There's only one other guy in the dog park. I've seen him once before with his brown Lab but didn't talk to him that last time. Don't know his name, don't even know his dog's name - which is unusual. The Lab is ball obsessed. The guy kicks the ball. The Lab brings it back and drops it at his feet. Repeat.

"I just found out about this last week," he says to me as I near him. "Easy for me to exercise her now. I don't have to walk, just kick."

Stella is watching the Lab. Stella is not a fetcher. Much too strenuous and what's the pay-off? More fetching? Yeah, right.

"How long have you had her for?" I ask.

"Almost a month." The Lab looks about a year old. "I got her from Animal Services."

"I thought she looked familiar." I explain to him about me volunteering there. We talk a bit more. Despite his mirrored, cop sunglasses, he seems decent enough. And his dog looks like it's being well treated.

Then he steps in some shit.

"Fuckin' hell," and he wipes his shoe off in the grass.

"The park's getting messy," I say.

"People don't fuckin' pick up," he says.

"It used to be a lot cleaner but this year ..."

"It's the damn dog walkers. They come in here with 10 or 12 dogs, don't pay attention to what they're doing. I seen one woman come in here, she lets the dogs go and then sits and talks on her cell phone for 10 minutes, rounds the dogs up and leaves."

"Not very long."

"I don't trust those dog walkers. Everyone of them'll rip you off."


"If I ever had to get a dog walker, I'd follow him around for a day, make sure he wasn't just driving around for an hour with my dog picking up other dogs and then dropping my dog off again. They're all fuckin' assholes."

"Uh huh."

"I saw this guy, four days ago, Monday afternoon, five days ago. His van pulls up outside that gate over there. All these dogs jump out and he lets them in here. They're shittin' all over the place. He's not pickin' up half of it. I can see them shittin' and he doesn't even notice. He's fuckin' yelling at the dogs to follow him or something. Marching them like soldiers or something. So I go over to him and I say to him, 'Hey, you got too many dogs with you. You're not picking up their shit,' and he says, 'You gonna make me?' and I say, 'Yeah, I'm gonna make you. I'm gonna come over there and punch you in the fuckin' face if you don't fuckin' pick up your shit.'"


I can't see behind his sunglasses but I imagine his eyes to be seething little pupils behind slivered eyelids.

"Yeah, I wanted to punch that guy in his fuckin' face. Fuckin' knock him out. So, he picks up the shit, calls the dogs back and leaves. He's been here like 15 minutes. That's it. Leaves after 15 minutes. I wonder how much he fuckin' charged for that."

"Yeah, too much."

Stella's made her way half way across to the other side of the park in search of new grass to graze on.

"I have to go," I say pointing to Stella. "Talk to you later."

"Yeah, good to meet you," he says then he calls his dog, pats it on the head, leashes it and leaves the park.

A few months later, in mid-winter when the deep snow narrows the sidewalks to a single pedestrian wide, I see him approaching in the semi-darkness. I'm going home from work and neither of us have our dogs with us. He doesn't recognize me. As we near each other I start to step to the right to let him pass when he snarls at me, "Move to your right," and if I hadn't already taken that step to the right and he had said that to me, I might have just stood there in front of him, blocking him, challenging him. What then?

1 comment:

Caveat said...

Maybe the City should hire him for poop patrol...they can give him a poo-poo-proof vest - a hat, too although it might be too late for that.