So it’s close to midnight on a school night, and I’m watching four kids on roller-skates in front of my house. I like kids. I like roller-skates. I like midnight. (Come on, I’m not a total curmudgeon. After all, it won’t be me dragging these kids out of bed in the morning.)
What I don’t like is their dog running around in the street without a leash, making it impossible for me to take my canine squad out for the last walk of the night. Navigating kids on wheels is a trick in itself. For Pants, anything that rolls is the arch nemesis, but throw a barky stranger without a lead into the mix, and that’s like opening a portal to hell in front of my own driveway.
“Hey, guys. I’m taking my dogs out. Do you need a leash for your dog?”
“Oh, she’s fine. She won’t hurt your dogs. Right, Daisy?”
Daisy charges me. Affirmative, Daisy. You’re real cool.
“I’m really more concerned that Daisy is going to get hurt.” I decided that was a kinder way of saying: “Daisy will lose at least one leg if she fronts like Nicki Minaj on my dogs.”
The oldest girl skates home to get a leash — or so I thought. I harnessed my pack, and we checked out the window. No kids. No Daisy. Coast was clear.
A minute into the walk, I heard Daisy barking her bossy rant as she barreled straight toward us from several houses away. Oh, mighty meatloaf. Sweetie was mid-poop, but I managed to drag them back to our house just in time to slam the door on Daisy’s hellfire.
Sweetie groaned. Poor girl. Sorry, Sweetie. Hold that thought.
“Ma’am?” I heard from outside.
Through my storm door, I concluded this was the mother of the year coming to collect her awesome beast. “Yes?”
“The girls said there was some trouble with Daisy?”
“Yes, she needs a leash or to go home. I’m trying to walk my dogs.”
“She’s a nice dog, I promise. Sorry if she scared you. She has no restraint sometimes.”
Oh, for crying in a bucket. ARE YOU FOR REAL, WOMAN? And then I heard the words fall out of my mouth like an avalanche…
“Look, I just want to walk my dogs. Legally. With their leashes on, which is exactly what your dog should be wearing. I don’t even know why your dog is pissing in my yard right now since you live all the way down the street!”
“I don’t know why you’re so mad. I just wanted to let you know it’s ok to walk your dogs around her!” She attempted to pick Daisy up, but it wasn’t working. Daisy was too busy trying to get inside my house while my dogs were taking turns through the door going, “You peed on OUR bricks! You will pay! You’re so going down, Daisy!”
“It’s not ok!” I yelled back. “It’s NOT OK.”
And then the woman says, as she’s desperately trying to grab her dog, “Maybe you shouldn’t have dogs then!”
Not wanting to continue this episode of Jerry Springer on my front lawn, I took a deep breath and shut my front door. Pants was still promising to exact revenge. Sweetie was giving me fierce eyebrow. Poindexter was staring at me, like, “You’re going to kick her ass, right? Did you hear what she said — she said you shouldn’t have us?! I will poop so hard in that yard…”
I waited a minute. Then I opened the door as the woman was still struggling to get her dog. I wanted to hit her. Instead, I grabbed a treat and an old leash and went outside.
“Daisy, come here. Look. Come on…it’s ok. See what I have?” She belly-crawled over and grabbed the treat while I leashed her up. She was a nice dog. It wasn’t her fault. Handing the leash to the woman, I told her, “You can keep it. We don’t need this one. It’s an extra.”
She accepted the handle, “Thanks. I’m sorry about this. I’ll have the girls use it when they take her out.” And then as she got to the end of the driveway, she turned around, “I am really sorry.”
Just like that, I felt badly for wanting to hit her. Mostly.
The thing is: We’re supposed to learn from one another, even if it’s a little rougher in delivery sometimes than we’d like. I can’t go in front of a room full of kids with my dog one day, preaching compassion and empathy and how to help one another become better companions to our animal pals, and then the next day yell and scream intolerantly at a neighbor. As frustrating as they might seem, these moments are the best opportunities to educate.
See you around on your leash, Daisy.
(Just don’t pee in Pants’ yard, deal?)