Thursday, June 22, 2006

Animal (non-)communication

This morning I left for my walk with Mr. K, the dog. He is a very high-energy guy, so we go for about two hours – a long walk to a huge off-leash park where he really burns off the steam. Mr. K is a very sweet dog – exceptionally so – but he looks a little intimidating to some people. But he’s generally well-trained and a sweetie.

About five minutes into our walk, a nice man stopped me and asked me – in Spanish, of which I speak not a word – for some directions to a nearby neighbourhood centre. I only knew what he was talking about because he was showing me the address on a business card. I pointed him in the right direction and turned around to continue my walk. I quickly turned back again because I thought he could use more help. As I called out to him and he turned around to me again, Mr. K lunged forward and charged him, catching me off guard and pulling me off my feet and onto the concrete sidewalk, where he continued to pull me on all fours. The pain of this forced me to let go of the leash, I guess, and the dog was loose and proceeded to growl, bark, and jump all over this poor, poor man. Who was terrified, of course, which made Mr. K even more suspicious of his motives with me…etc. I eventually managed to grad hold of Mr. K and apologize to the man, who was very kind considering what had just happened.

This kind of egregious behaviour toward random people on the street is appalling- and embarrassing. Also, my knees and one hand are torn up and bleeding, and there’s a kind of road rash down one calf. I’m pissed. It hurts like hell, for one thing. It will add still more scars to already badly scarred knees. (Knees which prompted a physiotherapist to say to me, a few months ago, “I guess you can’t be a model, eh?” Nice.) It will interfere with exercise, with my getting around (by bike), and with the wearing of skirts, which is a key strategy for me in this summertime heat.

So am I just being petty and vindictive by refusing to exercise Mr. K today, as is my inclination? Not giving him his usual cookies when we got home after our ten-minute debacle of a walk? I mean, I scolded him harshly after I got hold of him during the incident. But this outrageous behaviour seems to warrant more. The question is, though, does he get it? Or is it pointless and cruel for me to spend the day ignoring him, since he’s probably completely forgotten what happened? Or can’t make the connection between this incident and the questions of why we’re not walking today and he's not being fussed over?

Argh. I suspect that any trainer would tell me it does no good to withhold affection at this point. But my torn up knees and hand and I, we can’t quite get over ourselves. Perhaps half a litre of gelato will help.


I hit upon three strategies for working myself out of my unproductive snit:
1. Blogging it. This actually helped me feel better, folks. Scriptotherapy, anyone?
2. Telling Mr. K what a bad dog he was, over and over, in a neutral-to-praiseful voice. This was highly beneficial to both of us. He wagged at me. And I found it cathartic.
3. Taking myself and my oozing knee up to the gelato place, with Mr. K. He got to run around a bit in the park that's directly on the way there. I got to eat the world's most orgasmic foodstuff, frutti di bosco gelato. Also it exploded into super-World-Cup-street-party just as I hit Italian Street, because Italy won their match. That was satisfying for both Mr. K and I, in different ways.

And now, it's off to work I go.


Texter said...

Hi. I've been reading your blog as of late, and savoring the entries. Thank you. This post took me back @20 yrs when as a young girl I walked my aunt's dog. I too was dragged on the sidewalk for awhile - what pain - and yes, the scabs / rash down the leg! What pain. Unfort., it happened early enough that it turned me off to dogs (or maybe that was already my inclination - I prefer cats). I'm sorry about you and Mr. K. I do think animals know when they've done wrong and are capable of embarrassment and remorse. I hope you two work it out!

Hilaire said...

Hi, texter, welcome! I checked out your blog - looks fantastic, thank you. Thanks for your commmiseration. Mr. K and I are all better now, though I am not going to let him live this one down. :)