A bark and a nark in the park before dark

Unleashing Bella and Lily in the park wasn't my best idea ever

When was the last time you found yourself defending the indefensible? In public?

Embarrassing isn’t it?

I mean staunchly, loudly justifying yourself and your actions when you are stone-wall wrong —  and you know it?

Me? Just yesterday evening, actually.

Thought I was right for, oh maybe 25 seconds, was soon overwhelmed with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary …  and kept on arguing

Arguing? I got even more vociferous in my contentions.

I think they call it bluster.

Spent five heated minutes snarling and insulting, knowing I was in the wrong. Utterly so.

I hear the kids doing it all the time, have drawn their attention to it time and time again, and I’m there wondering how can they be still arguing away?

Like that famous line in Oliver Goldsmith’s long poem The Deserted Village about the village schoolmaster:

For e’en though vanquishedhe could argue still.

It all started with a gorgeous walk in the green, sunny acres of our local park. It was lateish evening and the freshly-mown park was quiet. And ours to enjoy.

Bella is quite biddable now. Prone to bark at bigger dogs, but easily calmed enough. Lily is another story.

Lily charges at everything: at her food, at her water, at us, her beloved guardians — overwhelming us with her tongue-slobbering affections.

She is a sinewy, shiny black blur of tail-wagging appetite and enthusiasm.

And boundaries are an issue.

We have to give Lily her food a second before Bella, and when finished, she will snout Bella out of the way and attack the rest of Bella’s food, unless we intervene.

Like I said before, Lily Savage we call her at mealtimes

But she is so cute and adorable, and vivacious, we know it is just her way, and she will desist when admonished. She will learn. So she gets a kind of pup’s pardon.

But she will do it again the next time.

And she is like that with other dogs: spots one of any breed, size or temperament and she will be on her hind legs straining at the lead, barking and bawling, trying to get up close and personal.

So there we were yesterday evening, myself and the two dogs in the park.  No-one around. So I let them off their leashes.

They were having a ball: running and sniffing and chasing each other, play-biting and tumbling over each other. Brilliant to watch as I strolled after them.

Then Lily spotted the huge German Shepherd across the full width of the park, and she was over like a four-legged Usain Bolt. And Bella after her.

Lily, especially was barking like crazy, right up at the big, scary-looking creature, who looked bigger and scarier as I got closer and closer.

And the owner was no shrinking violet either. He was really pissed off, giving out yards, by the time panting me reached the crime scene.

Lily and Bella looked so tiny yammering away at the hairy, though well-groomed German Shepherd, right in his face, a couple of backward steps every now and again to remain just beyond those slavering jaws of doom.

The  Shepherd was up on his powerful back legs, jerking at his tautened leash. If he had escaped his impressive looking harness, God knows what he wouldn’t have done to my pair of yapping gobshites.

I didn’t like the way the dog’s owner was shouting at me, calling me a clown, and all sorts, for not having my dogs on a leash.

He was a youngish guy, early 20s maybe, a scraggy red beard extending down from his chin, an oversized baseball hat, green parka.

I thought he was way over the top, and I was trying to argue that, “look at the size of my dogs, they are terrified of your one, and that’s what smaller dogs do … they bark to look big ….”

He was having none of it, and indeed it was a hard one to argue, with Lily’s eyes bulging with venom, inches from the drooling, straining German Shepherd.

And Lily the one who had led the charge of the light (very light) brigade across the park.

She didn’t look very scared, right enough.

So, of course, I changed tack

“Why do you have such a vicious-looking dog, anyway?”

“That yoke would destroy my little dogs, if you let him go”

“My dog is on a lead … and you’re a f—ing clown  … your dogs are the ones out of control …”

So far, so unpleasant.

It’s funny, but afterwards, I was thinking about how myself and this other owner must have resembled our dogs: snarling away, and circling, but no actual physical engagement, or combat. All bark and nark in the park.

As we are arguing, I was trying to call my dogs to order.

Bella came to me, reluctantly, and I had her lead on, but Lily was way too far gone. Ignored my calls.

Made me look thoroughly ineffectual.

So, naturally, I barked on. Yap, yap, yap!

Then another owner arrived on the scene. A tall, skinny, shaven-headed man with a little chihuahua-type thing on a dainty pink lead.

“He’s right, mate, you’re in the wrong there … your dogs should be on a lead ..”

Now I am battling on two fronts, trying to retreat without losing face.

“Look at the size of his yoke … my black one (Lily)  is only a little pup … she’s six months …”

“My one is only six months too, pal,” says the skinny man … “but she’s on a lead …”

By this stage, I have grabbed Lily and fought her into her lead, and I am trying to untangle her’s and Bella’s as I make towards the nearest exit … luckily enough, it’s the one leading to our estate.

I’m walking away now and the last thing I hear is the younger guy thanking the recent arrival for his help dealing with “that clown” and his “f——-ing little bastard dogs”

Do you think I should have Lily and Bella on their leads next time? For everyone’s safety.


Mission Mindfulness


Cup of Toast

Lucy At Home UK parenting bloggerDIY Daddy

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57 comments on “A bark and a nark in the park before dark

  1. Have often wondered if there was any truth in the thought that owners eventually resemble their dogs – it put me off ever having one. I could never find one that fit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a dog owner, I can empathise with you here.
    I’ve often thought that it’s no life for a dog, and animal that is bred to run free, has to be leashed whenever out and about. We’re lucky to live in the countryside with plenty of open space, and deserted lanes where I can allow ours off. The youngster (a black lab) is a friendly chap that LOVES to say “hello” to anyone and anything. The old girl (a deaf dalmatian) is altogether different. She’s okay with people. Love people. But, after once being attacked viciously by another dog, she has ever since taken a “snap first” first policy to any other four-legged barking machine. I keep her on the lead almost all the time and only occasionally if I truly know there’s no chance of another dog would I let her off. She deaf too, that just adds to the mele. But, as a dog owner, I am always disappointed most when I can see another dog walk ahead, coming toward me. They rapidly leash their dog. Duke (the lab) is far better with other dogs if both are off the lead. Why the race to leash them? I’m always chuffed to meet an owner with the same view as me and our dogs thank us for it. But, I’ve also come across the type you met. Those that have some moral high ground and use it to abuse us. Why? Does effing and jeffing make them feel better? That’s what annoys me. No doubt, had he been polite in the communication of his annoyance you may not have reacted the way you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dave. Glad you are sympathetic!! I guess it was the way I was addressed that made me so defensive. And had me bluster and yap. I really love letting the dogs run free, but right enough, the park is not the place for it. I took a chance and it sure didn’t go to plan!!! Luckily enough I have another place, two big fields that i can let me loose in — when the coast is clear! Thanks for your comment


  3. I don’t have dogs and I’d be horrified to face a dog off the lead in the park, unless it was a tiny, non barking type of dog. It’s sad that dogs are not allowed to run free in the park, but you know you were in the wrong. I think the issue here is the way the guy reacted, there was no need for verbal abuse even though you were in the wrong and you reacted in the expected way when reprimanded this way. If I had a dog that looked like me it would probably be an Afghan Hound. (I need a hair cut!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dog ownership – as a proud owner of a mad chocolate lab I have been put in many an awkward situation because of her antics – predominantly as a result of her eating things she should not be – on the flipside I always say that owning a dog as a child helped develop my social skills and there are lots of nice and reasonable and understanding owners out there too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are indeed, Tom. Most are … but lesson learned the hard way: while it would be lovely to let my dogs run free in the park, things can go wrong!!! So leashes on next time!


  5. I have had a similar situation happen to me once years ago. I had a small Chihuahua and the other dog was Huge but that dog was leashed and my dog ran at him like a madman on a mission to destroy. And that guy also yelled and called me names and tried to berate me to which I fired back. Our reactions are our choice but it’s also human nature to fire back when someone else’s reaction is a very negative one. I understand both sides, dogs need to be leashed in public places because of the safety issues, like that one but it’s also sad that we can’t let our dogs run free like they are meant to. And I totally understand your reaction to the negativity of the other dog owner. #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was bizarre seeing my little scuts charging at that big hairy alsatian. But lesson learned: dogs on the leash in the park! Could have been easier learned though!


  7. Rosie Doal

    I don’t have a dog and I must admit every time I see one off his/her leash, I do get scared. My kids are so scared of dogs and I’m trying to get them in the park more so they can get over their fear. Barking dogs scare me too! #GlobalBlogging


  8. I have been in your shoes. There is a bike path and a park down the hill from my house. It is usually deserted, no one there but me and my dogs. I often leave them off their leash. One time, another person came down the path with a big dog on a leash, and one of my dogs went crazy. Luckily, I caught up to him before he actually got to the other dog, and the woman walking the dog was much nicer and more understanding than the fellow you encountered. I don’t leave them off the leash anymore. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We have a rescue dog, he is a jack Russell cross breed and definitely a Millwall supporter#dreamteam@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not a dog person but I don’t like to see them off a lead around kids, one knocked my eldest flat at age 2 and he has been nervous ever since, though I appreciate we were just unlucky. Owning up to being in the wrong is never an easy thing, I think we’ve all carried on arguing in that kind of situation before. #DreamTeam


  11. I can’t stand it when people can’t put the dog on lead in the park x #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t a dog but I don’t really like them on their leash. Another thing is that some owners do clean up after their dogs. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone let their dog to their business on my little lawn and just keep walking. #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t bring up that aspect, but dog poo is something that really bugs me … it’s actually getting worse rather than better around where I live. Just no excuse for it, and it is appalling, really annoying!


  13. We have a miniature schnauzer who can be excitable with a tendency to run after dogs and jump up at people. He doesn’t bark though. He’s much better nowadays and although we know he’s friendly and just wants to say hello, not all people appreciate it! Never had your experience though, and find most dog owners to be understanding… every now and then we find a grumpy one or have an eye roll #TriumphantTales


  14. At least you can admit you were in the wrong, albeit not at the time. My husband will argue on, knowing damn well he’s wrong, until he’s managed to somehow change the subject to something else! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tracey Abrahams

    Alas I have to say im slightly on the side of the big dog here. I’ve owned a couple of staffies in the past, both girls were beautiful and soft as anything. I never however walked them in public without a lead and harness on. I have lost count of the times I had dogs off their lead come over sniffing and yapping at them only for the owners of these dogs to bound over and try to have a go at me for walking a dangerous dog in public. I may too have replied harshly to the owners in question for not having proper control of their own dogs.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I was in the wrong but reacted badly to being told off so harshly. Our two yap and that is annoying. They annoy me when they go off on one!


  16. We all make questionable decisions with our dogs from time to time, definitely leads for all! It would have been better if handled more calmly by the other owner, but people rarely stay calm where their doggies are concerned. Lola almost lost an eye to a chihuahua who was determined to bite her and because Lola was on her leash, she was struggling to get away from the Chihauhau who was free. Since then I worry about all dogs, regardless of size. And luckily Lola’s eye wasn’t as injured as first thought and we sought immediate veterinarian care. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We used to have a long coated German Shepard dog, although she looked menacing, she wouldn’t hurt a fly, my husband who has a shaven head was walking her when he came across a miserable elderly lady, she made a comment that our dog looked terrible and he looked mental too#satsesh@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well, I’m a cat lady, they are SO much easier to look after! I’ve never been a fan of dogs and I suppose I can only go from my own experience, of which wasn’t great when I was little. I’m always fearful when they are bouncy and excitable. So perhaps I would feel uncomfortable if they were off their leads in my vicinity. But then it seems cruel to not let them run free! Tricky! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales, do come back Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The message I received loud and clear was Keep Them On The Lead … and I have done since. You like cats and I like dogs .. two-mate-o, too-mat-o … you takes yer pick!


  19. Oh nooooo!!! Lily! LOL! Trust the new pup to lead the way to battle. GULP. Good job the bigger dog was on a lead. Alfie is exactly the same. He will charge at any other dog, no matter the size, given half the chance. I’m definitely in camp ‘keep them on a lead’. It’s safer all round. Sometimes the littler ones give it all the bark, and manage to attract every dog in the park. Trouble is, if anything actually kicked off, they are more likely to be toast. Hope you’ve all recovered 🙂 Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah … a lesson hard earned Annette. Lily is an absolutely sweetheart, but she is feisty when it comes to going at other dogs. So the lead it is in public places!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh it’s hard isn’t it? I have an overgrown lab puppy (nearly 3 but totally bonkers). She’s really good with other dogs but terrible with people, she thinks that they all want to play and bounds over much more quickly than I can catch up with her. She is mostly on her lead now which is a shame although fortunately we have large areas that she can safely bounce around! Thank you for sharing your story with #Blogstravaganza

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately Lily, despite her gorgeous temperament with humans, is not at all as well disposed towards other dogs — whatever the size, and she really has to be kept on a tight rein in public!!


  21. Daydreamer mum

    Eeekkk I have to confess . I am the world’s worst of digging myself into a hole by standing my ground so staunchly that by the time I realise I’m actually in the wrong there is no way I can back down I’m in too deep !! #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it becomes some strange thing of honour that you have to save face, rather than admit you haven’t a leg to stand on!!!


  22. Pingback: #GlobalBlogging linky week 78… | Shank You Very Much

  23. diynige

    Oh Dear Enda! What can I say, it’s one of those moments when you are put on the defensive but come back twice as hard. I have never been a dog owner or likely to be no matter how much my wife and kids nag me Brilliant read though Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  24. #thesatsesh tricky question. I’m not sure there is a right or a wrong…I guess when you have more than one you need to be aware of the pack vibes on single dogs but leads shouldn’t be the only way to walk a dog.


  25. Lucy At Home

    I’m not an animal person (sorry) so I can’t really say what the best thing to do here is… But it does annoy me when dog owners let their dogs charge at me (and particularly my youngest daughter who is terrified of dogs), barking away. And the owner cheerfully calls, “It’s okay – she won’t hurt you.” I should certainly hope she won’t, but that doesn’t mean I want her barking at me and scaring the living daylights out of my child. I often wonder how THEY would feel if I let me kids run around without any limits and they were to run up and start yelling at a stranger or bumping into them… rant over! Haha. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know … our dogs are yappers, especially Bella … even if she hasn’t a bad bone in her … but my lesson was well learned, on the lead in public. Even when the coast seems clear


  26. Oh boy, I feel your pain Enda, we have two small jack russel terrier type dogs and they are such annoying little yappers that I hate taking them for walks. Agreeing with the comments above, it’s likely you were responding to the man too. I always feel sorry for the way dogs seem to be chained up or even caged quite a lot in this country on people’s properties but I suppose it’s to keep them from roaming. I’m just not used to seeing dogs treated like that. #blogcrush


  27. As a dog momma to crazy, anxious and beautiful Gatsby, I would say I would never ever have him off lead. For other dogs, and for streets with cars and such. But hey, that is just me… I know his limits (and they are many!). Give the pooches a hug! xo #triumphanttales xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • The pooches get loads of hugs. Lily, especially is so warm and lovable. But she rushes at other dogs if not on a lead – even on the lead sometimes – and can be a real handful. She also has a terrible habit of peeing when she is excited!!! A work in progress!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no! The peeing with excitement is such a drag. You want her to be happy, and mopping up all of the time is no fun.


  28. Oh noooooo – what a tricky situation! Probably best to keep the dogs on a lead in future but it is lovely see them having a proper run so very tempting to let them off from time to time! I love that you admit you were defending the indefensible and your description of the scenario – really brought it to life! #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Back over, from #blogcrush xo

    Liked by 1 person

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