Saturday, November 27, 2010

Random Act of Kindness

Random Act of Kindness

Don't Worry!

I want to translate the phrase don’t worry, and I call for those who use it to consider using the translation because it's much more accurate.

The first time I heard this phrase was after the movie 101 Dalmatians came out.  We had an older, cranky Dalmatian. After that movie came out, wherever we went, kids would race up to our leashed Dalmatian as their parents smiled and called out, “Don’t worry, our kid is good with dogs.” 

I would respond, “But mine’s not good with kids!”  Luckily, our dog never bit a kid, not even the little three-year-old who tweaked our dog’s nose while his dad said, ‘aw, how cute.”

Then we got our little ten-pound, rescue, complete with a pathetic limp and a timid disposition.  I thought, “Now I don’t have to worry about people getting into my dog’s space!” After months of training, I introduced him to the dog parks last summer. 

Shortly after we started going to dog parks, a pit bull owner saw that I was hesitant about having his large dog play with mine and he told me, “Don’t worry, my dog is good with other dogs.”  Right after those words, his dog mistook mine for prey and crushed my little guy’s jaw.   After jaw surgery and eight weeks of a muzzle and cone, my little guy recovered physically.

However, when many people shook their heads and said, “You shouldn’t have brought a little dog to a big dog park”, they exacerbated the ordeal. When the pit bull dog owner refused to accept any responsibility or even to acknowledge his dog’s aggression, I was put in a really difficult position.  Of course, he explained his dog's behavior with another of my favorite phrases: “My dog never did anything like that before.”

This Saturday, four months after the incident with the pit bull, I decided to take our dog to a dog park designated specifically for little dogs, Normandale Park.  I sighed at the decision because the lazy in me would much prefer the three parks within walking distance.  But, maybe all those people were right; a ten-pound dog should not be in a park with big dogs. 

Normandale is a nice park for dogs.  Two enormous fenced in play areas for any dog, and then one smaller area for little dogs.  All areas are well gated and marked.  Being a Saturday, the two larger dog park areas were crowded and rowdy, but the little dog area was empty and peaceful.  A great way to reintegrate our dog into the world of dog parks. 

My daughter and I brought our dog into the little dog area and, for the first time in four months, we let him run without a leash.  It was nice to see him relax and sniff around, and I started to think about how I could fit this park run into our busy lives.  That is until two women with three large dogs nonchalantly let themselves into the little dog area.   My dog sat down and started to shake as three enormous dogs pounced all over him.

“Don’t worry, our dogs are good with other dogs,” they called out, but I didn’t smile and play nice.  I did the unthinkable.  I challenged the implied authority of the don’t worry. I explained that this was a little dog park and that I drove to Normandale just to use this one park designated for little dogs.

Offended, they told me, “Our dogs are friendly.  They’re not a problem.  Your problem is not letting your dog play with other dogs.”   All in a huff, they finally left the little dog park. As one woman was telling the other, “You told her!” their unleashed dogs bounded straight over to jump on a little kid in the children’s play area.  The father raced to pick up his son, but the women invoked their get-out-of-jail card, calling out in dulcet unison, “Don’t worry, our dogs are good with kids.”

As I watched their dogs pawing down the front of this child, I finally got it.  Don’t worry is code for I’m an asshole and I can do whatever the hell I want.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Guttery Great at Tony’s Tavern

A Guttery Great at Tony’s Tavern

This was a fun night at Tony's. The MC didn't show up, and so David moved the the table, set up the chairs, and we played. One Tony regular showed up, but otherwise it was just us. There was something so fun about the unexpected spontaneity of the evening. I love when things don't go as planned.