Nina In New York: Tales From The Dog Run
A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
I don’t have any babies yet. For now, I do have a dog, and while I love him obsessively, I am well aware of the fact that he is not, in reality, my child. For starters, he looks nothing like me.
Not everyone feels this way, though, and those are the people you need to watch. Crazy cat ladies get a bad rap, but does anyone ever acknowledge the crazy dog ladies? Because they are batcrap cuckoo, mark my words.
I saw her coming from a mile away. While my dog Gus was playing nicely with another puppy, she wheeled up to the dog run with a baby carriage and began to unload from it five little happy, curly Spaniels. Right.
Gus bounded over to the group and leapt over one of the dogs, standing above him ready to play. At this point, their mommy flipped out and began gasping and crying that Gus had “trampled her dog.” And this is the same point at which part of my brain should have said, “this woman seems…eccentric, so perhaps let’s keep our distance.” But it didn’t. And when she started hustling around the dog run telling other people that “that black dog is aggressive,” well, I just couldn’t hold my tongue. Our argument quickly devolved, as arguments between two deranged people tend to do. It went something like this:
Crazy Dog Momma: Your dog is aggressive!
Nina: No he isn’t. He’s a puppy.
CDM: He’s a menace!
N: Your dogs should be in the small dog section!
CDM: No, your dog is aggressive!
N: No he isn’t!
CDM: Yes he is!
N: Your dogs are too small to be in here!
CDM: No they aren’t!
N: Yes they are!
It all gets a bit fuzzy, to be honest. I do distinctly recall her eventually bringing all five of her dogs into the small dog section, which is separated from the large dog area by a fence, over which she continued to scream at me and demand that I vacate the park with my vicious animal. I, of course, stooped to the occasion and yelled right back. Everyone around us smiled at me sympathetically and then very quickly found things to do at least ten feet away.
I didn’t return for two weeks, convinced I would be confronted with this woman again and that she had successfully spread the rumor of my ferocious dog to all the other owners. I had less drama in middle school.
Am I proud of this? No, I am not. The only thing that made me angrier than a woman talking smack about my dog was the fact that I was unable to be the bigger person in a fight with someone whose mental illness is physically manifested in a Bugaboo filled with identical dogs.
And of course, I’ve ultimately discovered that our brawl was just a day at the dog run, no more remarkable or unprecedented than any other. Now I feel ready to take on any CDM who comes at me, steeled by experience, confidence in the universal affection for my dog, and the knowledge that I can out-crazy anyone who dares enter those double-gates.
Stay tuned for more lunacy, irrelevance and inept human interaction on the next episode of…Tales From the Dog Run!
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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