In theory I want to love the dog park. What a grand idea – dogs running free, being dogs, having fun. Talking “dog talk.” This dog park is filled with all things wonderful for dogs. Grass! Mud! Puddles! Dirt!
Still I can’t lose that feeling of dread whenever I’m there. Sometimes it comes from behind – that low, guttural growl. The growl that “dog people” know isn’t really “play.” And I tense. Hold my breath. Wait for it to pass, pray it turns in to nothing more.
Most times all is well.
Today was different. Yes, the usual growls and tussles and play pushing the edges of “acceptable behavior.” But there was also Starr.
I noticed her first sitting next to her human. Furtive glances following the action. Her guardian replied when I inquired as to her shyness, “Yeah, she don’t like the dog park. She got attacked here about a year ago.”
It was like a blow to the gut. Wondering how she feels coming back here day after day – and hating it. Wondering why someone would do this to a dog. I watched her today. Always watching. Staying close. Finding safety.
Today wasn’t fun at the dog park. At least not for Starr.