“You will be the asshole of the dog park.”
I remember when I heard these words and I thought I’d never be that person. These were uttered by the guy teaching Joan and I how to take care of Shimmer. But, he was right–off leash dogs can hurt a greyhound easily. It’s a language thing. Shimmer, raised in a kennel with other greyhounds, never learned Dog. He smiles when he likes a dog, the dog sees it as a snarl, and then, suddenly, there’s snapping jaws and an owner screaming, “No Benji, no!”
At first, I used to yell at the owners of unleashed dogs and risked being the asshole of the park. I knew their dog had the best of intentions, but I also knew how everything was going to play out. There’s every chance a dog could get seriously hurt.
Without fail, every owner was defensive because their dog had never done this before and my dog was vicious and how dare I and so forth. I would say at least I had control of my dog. Only not like that. I was seriously risking the “asshole” moniker.
So, I changed. When I see an unleashed dog I yell afar to their owner and ask them to please leash their dog. I explain that Shimmer was a rescue and wasn’t used to other dogs, and he was kept in a dark kennel, and just let out twice a day to train, and do you know what they do the dogs in there, and… By now the owner has usually leashed their dog, apologized, called Shimmer beautiful, and is shirking away.
I’m not the asshole of the park. I’m “that weird greyhound guy from the park.”