So I'm out walking my dogs today and I'm heading down the path towards the pond near the park. School let out and a couple of boys are heading up the path towards me. Two moms, a stroller, and a leashed dog are about 30 yards behind them. The boys, about 8 years old each, look up and see us and suddenly start yelling, "Mom! Mom! The huskies! The huskies!"
I figured they were excited to see the dogs and the mom would tell them to ask if it was okay to pet my dogs. This happens all the time. There's probably over a hundred kids in the area that have at one time or another thrown their arms around Kimo or Annana's neck and hugged them.
That's not what happened though. Instead, mom stops in her tracks and starts to back up. She tells the boys to come back to her, that they'll go a different way. At this point I had stopped walking. I know some people are really averse to having dogs cross paths along a relatively narrow trail corridor (though it is about 15 feet wide). I ask the boys what's wrong and he tells me that they try to keep away from my dogs because my dog, Kimo, bit his dog in the nose.
Having no idea what the kid is talking about, I ask him when this happened. He says a while ago. The lightbulb goes on.
"Did it happen about four years ago?"
He says it did, putting him at about 4 or 5 years old. Clearly second-hand information that needed correcting.
"Actually" I explain, "your dog jumped the fence and bit my dog. That's what happened." I had totally forgotten about this but, it's true. Not long after we moved in, Kristin was out walking the dogs and this family's dog leaped over their picket fence and attacked Kimo. Kimo defended himself -- and their dog may have gotten scraped -- but the end result was the owners of that dog (the boy's mom and dad) paying our vet bills.
So I yelled to the mom and told her it was fine, to keep coming and that I would stand off on the side with my dogs and let her pass. I knew at this point she was probably telling the other woman she was with all sorts of nasty untruths about my dogs. So when she got close I asked her if the dog she was with "was the one that jumped the fence and attacked my dog four years ago." A minor detail that I wanted to make sure was known.
She said it wasn't, that they don't have that dog anymore, but that "the incident really affected our other dog and I try to keep her away from them." Them was a reference to my dogs. She and her dog and kids passed without incident. My dogs stood on the grass and looked on. Her dog didn't even glance towards us.
It was at the them remark that I remember a brief run-in with her husband years ago, about 8 months after their dog jumped the fence and bit Kimo. I was walking down the sidewalk and he came out and essentially said my dogs were a nuisance and that I shouldn't walk past yards that I know have dogs in them (every yard is stylishly fenced by the way, this is a rather tidy neighborhood I must admit). Nearly one out of every three homes in the development has a dog. To not pass corner homes with dogs is an impossibility, not to mention it was his dog that jumped the fence. Not mine. I told him flatly to quit the "blame the victim" campaign and kept walking. I've walked past the house nearly every day for four years since and, again, never even thought about it.
But now it makes perfect sense. These parents are out of their mind. First, even though they had to pay our vet bills, they acted like it all our fault and tried to keep us off the sidewalk near their house. Then they apparently brainwashed their kids who were clearly too young to remember the incident that our dogs are mean and need to be stayed away from. And last but not least, they seem to think that this 20 second incident that happened over 4 years ago has given their other dog post-traumatic stress disorder.
All of this because of a relatively minor scrap the dogs got into years ago. An incident incited by a dog who is no longer even around.
I feel so bad for their kids. What's going to happen the first time the kid comes home after getting picked on at school or... GASP! with a black-eye from a fistfight? I'm surprised she just doesn't home-school them to better keep them away from all those mean kids who might be a nuisance. It's clear she can't handle living around other people unless everything is perfect. That's right, don't just act reasonable and pull in the leash on your dog, it's best to walk a completely different way. What a message to send to the kids. Run and hide. Stay home. Tell others to keep away. It's safer that way. Wouldn't want them to be "traumatized."
There are a lot of reasons Kristin and I don't want to have kids, but not wanting to have to deal with parents like these is in the top ten.
Kind of glad her boys didn't want to pet my dogs. I'd hate to see how she'd react if Annana managed to slip him the tongue, as she's known to do.