Marley and Me: The Unpleasant Yankee Version

Sunday morning, I took the little ones to a local university field so that they could expend some energy. It was cold so I had them bundled, but they were still mobile. We apparently had the place to ourselves. The field is surrounded by a small hill that obscures the view of the parking lot.

The gang and I were playing when we heard a dog barking. I turned, looked toward the parking area, and saw a large yellow lab sprinting atop then down the hill toward the two-year old boy. Like a probable scene from the upcoming movie “Marley and Me,” I picked up my son, pushed the little girl behind me, and we quickly moved behind a low wooden platform—one that provided additional spacing between us and the growler. If I needed to protect them, this would at least give me some options.

As the dog closed in on our crew, a man in running clothes followed by two women appeared from the parking lot shouting at the 90+ pounder. The dog stopped, turned and jogged back over the hill, disappearing into the still of the morning. A few moments later, I watched the owner start running with the women and then remove the leash that he had attached and used to pull the dog away from us.

Now, I am a dog lover. We grew up with them, always had one to play with, and I still count my English Springer Spaniel of 13 years (who died in 2006) as my best friend. Sara the Springer loved people and I learned my lesson about not paying full attention to her at a park. One time, she was not leashed and found a hiker on our favorite trail that she decided needed a cheer-up hug--complete with two muddy paws to the stomach. After apologizing profusely, I became a better dog owner.

After yesterday's incident, it struck me as odd that the lab’s owner never attempted to apologize for his lack of responsibility in letting the dog run at us. His pooch scared some little kids, but instead asking for forgiveness, he just walked away. No sorry, or not even a wave to serve as a half-hearted apology. Nothing. It would not have been hard to put the dog in his car (parked in the lot) or let one of the women hold the leash, while he walked over the hill, and said that he was sorry for the scare. I certainly would have at least done that, but maybe I expect too much from others.

Then, I remember that I am up North now where people are just different. Exchanges from people as the one I would have hoped to experience don't seem to happen around here. When we first moved in, I remember meeting a transplanted NYC native who lived in our neighborhood. After talking with him a few times, he said to me: “you know I hate it when people I don’t know say hello to me. If I already know them it is ok—-but why would strangers want to greet me? I don’t want to talk to them." I was dumbfounded. I guess yesterday’s labrador incident serves to once again reinforce the obvious—-“Ok, I am definitely no longer in Tennessee or Arkansas.”

This is where I end with Colossians 3:13: "Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Right????