Thursday, October 18, 2012

...And Your Little Dog's, Too...

Charlie horse and I drove a wedding last week, one with a pickup in Memory Grove. As usual, I showed up early. I hate surprises, start tweaking if I'm late, and generally like to be in control of my surroundings, so I arrive with ample time on the clock to most of my appointments.

Such was the case up in the park. I waited outside the gates for a while, mostly because there was a plethora of free-range children running around, which I had no desire to engage with. I killed time, dinked around on my phone, scoped out the situation, and made sure the celebrants weren't going to whip out sparklers, firecrackers, or rocket launchers.

Nope, just your average bottles of wedding bubbles. Mildly annoying, totally harmless.

I parked there long enough for an older man on a bicycle to ride up and ask me if I needed him to open the gate for me.

"Nope, I have an opener," I replied.

"Oh, I know the code," he returned as he pedaled away up the trail.

That was nice. Sometimes I have to open the gate for folks, like a few weeks ago when I opened it for the confused UTA Flex (Para) Trans bus driver. He seemed to think that the random opening and closing was some type of windmill for him to tilt at using his bus. I opened the gate to allow him to pick up a passenger at Memorial House, and explained to him how to get the gate to re-open so he could eventually leave. I'd hate to think of him trapped up there, wheelchair bound customer strapped in the back, egging on the driver to try and summon the courage to charge the gates...

I've gone totally off piste here, sorry. So I decided to take Charlie for a little walk since we had time, up to the top of the grove where we do the turn around, then back down so when we parked we would be facing the correct direction to facilitate our newlywed's getaway. As we began our leisurely stroll, a little Jack Russel mix charged us. So I did what I always do; a tried and true method that works effectively and returns the result I'm aiming for.

I looked at the dog, pointed my finger at him, and loudly said, "NO!"

The dog, who up until that time had been making a beeline for Charlie's legs, swiftly executed a "U" turn and ran back to his owner.

I've used this repel method for more than eight years. It has never failed to stop a dog, and I have never had to use a whip on someone's beloved pet. Or its owner. And I've had much larger dogs than this motley creature think about attacking my co-worker.

 Because there are dogs at the barn, our horses are not afraid of dogs. However, they also don't tolerate any crap from dogs, either.

After the dog made his retreat, the owner yelled at me. That's not an unusual response. Typically it's "Sorry," or, "He's never done that before."

But this man yelled, "He has as much right to be in this park as that horse!"


And then he said, "And something, mumble, something, {LEARN TO ARTICULATE AND PROJECT, PEOPLE!} abuse!" and he pantomimed like he was banging on a drum, but I think he was trying to mimic the motion of the lines (reins).

O-kay, buddy. Because you're an idiot, I'm going to ignore the abuse remark. Instead, let's take a moment to talk about your pooche's "rights":

Your dog has none.

YOU have the right to take your dog up into Memory Grove, and once you get past the *bridge, turn your canine good citizen, who does not menace, bite or otherwise harass any human, other dog, or, in Charlie's case, horse, off leash. Then it can roam under your direct supervision and pee on things to its heart's desire.

And if you feel that your dog's "rights" (of which he has none) have been violated by me telling him, "NO!", allow me to lead you down the inevitable dark conclusion of this chance meeting had I not instructed your dog to back off:

Your twenty-something pound ball of indignation and fury (the little-dog complex) would have found its way to Charlie's cannon bone, getting in one good nip, then all two-thousand pounds of Charlie, with no qualms whatsoever and without breaking a sweat, would have crushed your dog like a bug.

Compare their match to, say,  Hello-Kitty vs Godzilla.

And it would be within his "rights" to do it, as Salt Lake City has a leash law, which supersedes the location of an off the leash park. The onus is on you, the owner of the attacking animal. In other words, your dog started it, but my horse will finish it.

So go ahead and yell at me all you want about your aggressive dog's "right" to be off leash up in Memory Grove, sir. Next time, maybe I won't warn off your pet. Because it also happens that my horse has the "right" to defend himself against an attack. And after the inevitable squishy bloodbath, you will have the smug satisfaction of telling all of your PeTA loving friends all about how you invoked your rights.

You and your little dog's, too.

* The off leash boundaries, and rules pertaining to it, of Memory Grove Park are posted on a sign as you enter the property.  Of course no one ever reads the fine print. Except me.


Natalie said...

I confess, I'm a rule/sign reader as well! Love your carraige stories!

Christine said...

People can be so frustrating at times! I hope the owner does stumble across the fine print and recognise that everyone has 'rights' based on what is written in a public area they decide to make use of.