Saturday, September 27, 2008

Poor dog, poor lady, poor Matt

I decided to take Claren for a quick walk tonight because the house was a little too crowded for me.

Tonight was a party to remember Gram's death two years ago, and it wasn't at all bad -- I just wanted to be alone for a moment or two and relax.

Instead, I am now torn between empathy for a woman and empathy for her dog. And I am not sure which should be paramount: the woman because she is a human being or the dog because it is totally innocent.

As I was walking down the bike trail, I saw at the other end the local crazy woman and one of her dogs: a black Lab. Claren saw them, too, and started to pant as she does whenever she sees another dog.

I turned down into one of the exercise areas on the bike trail and let Claren go to the bathroom, planning to stay in the exercise area till the lady passed.

But when I turned to pick up after Claren, she started pulling on my leash. I looked over and the other dog had run up and was sniffing. That other dog was still leashed and had a choke chain, but the woman had let go for one reason or another. Luckily, the dog was only interested in sniffing.

The woman finally caught up to her dog, and mumbling to herself she dragged it off.

I resumed picking up after Claren when I heard god-awful screaming from where the woman went. It sounded like a little girl and it often wasn't words, just screaming. The woman was screaming at the dog to walk and the dog had dug in its paws, wanting, I guess, to play with Claren.

Do I call the Humane Society or something on her? She has had a hard life, I know, and I imagine her dogs are the only friends she has. But on another walk the same thing happened. She let go of the leash, allowing her dog run at me and Claren, either because she couldn't or didn't control it. That time after she dragged it off, I saw her kick the dog.

I hurt for her -- how alone she must feel -- but the dog is the real victim. All it is doing is being a dog, and for that it is punished cruelly.

I am honestly not sure what to do. Plus, I feel guilty because I realized that Claren has had no other dogs to play with in months. But, even though I get lonely a lot, I can just email a friend -- something I doubt this woman has.


Anonymous said...

There's an Annie Lamott story about her and her son and some other people seeing a man on a beach abuse his dog. The other woman stood up to him, but in the end, the dog was only hurt more by their intervention. It is a tricky decision. I guess the best we do is all we can to be nice to the things/dogs/people we can be nice to and pray for the rest. And you not indicating you were disturbed by the dog's initial approach was probably the best thing you could do for the dog.

Matt said...


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