Friday nights used to mean one thing to me and one thing only: Doggy Happy Hour in the park. I thoroughly enjoyed the new friends I was meeting, and loved all the socialization Pearl got for the cost of a bottle of wine and some cheap snacks. And, it was a 5 mile round trip walk for me which helped offset the calories from the wine and cheap snacks.
And then something changed. One of the ladies started arguing with me over anything I said. Her laser focus on me was disturbing. Like my dog, Pearl, I am a goofy, non-confrontational personality-type. If I were a dog, I’d be a Labradoodle (Pearl’s breed). She and I love to play and we both like to meet new people and wag our tails at everybody.
I stopped going every week, making excuses for my lack of attendance, and making other plans — something I wouldn’t have thought of doing on a Friday night.
Recently, I took all of June and July off, but returned last night. It was so good to see all the regulars and to meet some new people.
I walked to the park, as usual, and stood at the head of the park table after getting some good, healthy hugs from the people I knew. Suddenly, an ugly fight broke out between the dogs.
I hadn’t seen who started it, but only saw the aftermath — a whole bunch of dogs surrounding Pearl, who was laying on the ground on her back. Lots of barking and baring of teeth. I was scared because there were so many dogs and they looked like they were going to kill Pearl while I stood back and prayed they’d just back off.
A couple of the guys went into the fight, grabbing a couple by their collars and soon the altercation was all over.
By this time, I walked over to Pearl to see if she was okay. I looked her over and there didn’t appear to be any blood.
A few moments later, a lady I didn’t know (and I still don’t know her name), came over, got down on the ground, began stroking Pearl, and then asked me, “Is she always so aggressive?”
To which I replied, “Um, no…”
I then asked, “Did you see who started the fight?”
She admitted that she hadn’t but then started to talk to Pearl in baby talk about how it’s impolite to come to doggy happy hour and pick fights. She went on and on for what seemed like an eternity but was probably less than a minute. I looked down at her head (I was still standing, not really knowing the proper etiquette for talking to my dog after a fight), and observed the attempts to soothe my deeply troubled dog.
Her husband walked over and yanked her dog and stuck him on a leash.
She asked him why he had done that, and he replied that he was a bad dog who had started the fight.
Ah! So YOUR dog is the BAD dog, lady!
I waited for the lady to stand up and say, “Oh, gosh. Whoops. My bad.” I would have been so embarrassed had I been the one to make a false accusation against someone else’s dog especially after not seeing what had happened.
But she said nothing. Apparently, she and I don’t have the same sense of how to treat people.
After the fight, everything went back to normal especially since the bully was out of the mix (yes, that was a barb), and I watched Pearl much more than I had before.
This woman’s behavior bugged me so much, and I could not get over it.
And then there was my AHA! I had met this woman before and I disliked her at first sight. Because I like everyone I meet, this is an unusual occurrence, and noteworthy. I remembered thinking she was a know-it-all, pushy, opinionated bitch, and it turns out my initial gut feeling about her remain the same even a year later. At least I am consistent!
An hour passes, and I relax into catching up with the people I know best. The next thing I know one of my Doggy Happy Hour friends (I’ll call her Edna) says, “Your dog has very bad manners.”
I turned around to see what Pearl was doing and all I see her doing is running and playing with a couple of dogs. Her ears are flapping in the wind, and she looks very happy.
What? Is she supposed to let another dog run ahead of her or something? Is she not taking turns with the tennis ball? Is she hogging the stick?
Doggy manners? I threaten my kids with manners camp, should I be doing the same with Pearl?
This observation was spoken by a woman whose dog has never been neutered so he humps dogs, chases those who have not been spayed, and obsessively licks other dogs’ private parts.
I think that would be very poor manners, don’t you?
Doggy Happy Hour is supposed to be a fun way in which to spend a few hours every Friday and let go of stress from the week. I avoided going for a couple months, thinking that it would improve the situation but it hasn’t. Because of my personality, I am an easy target for some people to pick on. And now, my dog, too.
As Leo Buscaglia once said, “Your life is like a play. If you don’t like how it’s going, fire the actors,” or something along those lines. I think it’s time I walk off alone into the sunset and try a fresh set of actors. That may seem to drastic given the situation, but remember, this stuff keeps happening. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results?
Yep, I may be insane for leaving my Doggy Happy Hour, but I’d probably become more insane if I stayed.