The other day, I was at a park that I frequent quite often with my dogs, in a neighborhood about 10 minutes away from where I live. It’s in a very family-orientated community where there’s a dog park, a skate rink, and a swimming pool, a fire station next to the park, and a school right across the street. I generally go there to walk/run around in the grassy areas of the park with my dogs and keep on top of focus exercises and commands… so if they see a gecko, bird, or squirrel – they’re focus is still on me, rather than other distractions.
Anyways, at the park…I was getting out of my car and a van pulls up right beside me. An older in his 40s comes out.
“Hi,” I said as I made eye contact. If there’s one thing that ‘s changed about me living in the desert, is that I say “hello” a lot more to strangers.
“Do you’re dogs have leashes?” he asks.
Behind my sunglasses, I had a look of confusion. Of course I had leashes. This isn’t an off-leash dog park. I even have poop bags to pick up poop because I’m not a jerk. I like to think I have the look of someone responsible who is doesn’t break rules, because I feel like I’m a rule, but maybe he didn’t see me as such.
A lady pulls up in another vehicle and asks, if I was leaving. Behind my sunglasses, another look of confusion. She then proceeds to yell at him.
“Get my fucking dogs back in the van,” she yells at the man I had just said hello to moments earlier. “She has two fuckin pitbulls in the car!”
It was 9 in the morning, and while I had been awake for a while and already gotten a morning workout in, it was taking me a while to process what was going on. So she knew this guy? And those were her dogs? But she’s in a different car?
“I don’t care,” the man tells her. By this point he’s already gotten his dogs.. or her dogs out of his van, meanwhile my dogs were still in the car, as I was right outside of the passenger door, waiting to see if I should bring them out.
“Get my fucking dogs back in the van!” she yells.
“Why do I care if she has pitbulls?” he responds. “I have a fucking gun!”
At this point, she gets ape-shit upset crazy upset and fanatically screams at him with no self control.
“I don’t care if you have a fucking gun. Get my fucking dogs back in the van!! I don’t want them near fucking pitbulls!
It was like how I would imagine one of those popular teenage girls would yell at their squad when finding out that someone in their who they thought was their best friend/ side-kick (but really they were using them) stole their prom date and was nominated for prom Queen, when she wasn’t….
But this all happened within a span of a few minutes, and to be honest, I didn’t know how to respond to all of it so I pretty much pretended to ignore. They eventually left, but it left me a little sad: she didn’t know my dogs and she reacted based on whatever experience she had or whatever she had heard on the news.
In owning dogs that are a breed that has a bad rep, I’ve come to understand that there going to be people who have their fears and stigmas about the breed, and that’s completely fine. We chose to own our dogs knowing that this sentiment exists, but in owning them and deciding to love them, there is the even greater responsibility to defend them, and go above and beyond to ensure that they rise above whatever bad reputation they have.
I understand that people will react based on their impressions that are defined by past experiences, and what they def: one time, husband and I were at one of those condo sales pitch, and the sales guy pointed me out and was like … you! You like to shop! Which, it’s true, but for some reason it bugged me because I’d like to think that there’s more to me than the fact that I like to shop.
I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to develop first impressions, but I don’t think it should be the only thing that defines. Like if I were to only generalize the people at the park who went ape shit over my dog, my first thought about them would be… white trash, these guys are white trash.
Anyways, that is all for now. Hope everyone is having a great week.
Until next time 🙂