This morning I uttered a phrase I never thought I’d ever hear come out of my mouth. My shame is so deep I think my forehead is now permanently attached to the ground. It isn’t easy typing with one’s head stuck to the floor.
Shiva and I were walking in a nearby park. Most of this space is marked as off-leash, which is amazing. However, some parts of the trail are only off-leash from October to June. This is most likely due to the public beach also within the park zone. Since we do our morning walking before the sun comes up, I’ve been known to slide a little on these rules at that time of day.
When we got to the gravel path the gate was still closed, meaning no cars could get in. I figured this meant we were safe. I unclipped the leash and let Shiva do her usual running and sniffing and munching routine.
I have a pretty strict rule for off-leash activities in technically on-leash areas. The moment I see a dog or a person or a rabbit or a big foot I recall Shiva and get the leash back on. No matter how approachable the person or animal appears. It’s common courtesy as well as being the law. Therefore, I have no excuse for what happened this morning.
As we walked along a glittery puff of smoke appeared on the road in front of us. Before I could register anything the magical dust took the form of a man with a dog on a leash.*
Shiva’s recall is around 95% in instances such as these. She’d already gotten her zoomies out and scarfed all the mud in our general vicinity; I should have been able to get her back. I didn’t even try.
Don’t worry. It gets worse.
Because Shiva is a Shiva, she sees the dog and kicks up a shower of gravel in her urgency to get to him. Finally I emerge from my stupor** and realize what is about to happen.
“Sorry!” I call out, jumping up and down like a cheerleader. “She’s friendly!”
As soon as the words were spoken I felt a vortex swirl around me and suck me into the earth. At least, I wish one had. Instead I had to stand there and face my idiocy like the moron I am. It didn’t help that the man was amiable.
“No problem!” he said with a smile. “He would love to play!” He unleashed his dog and we watched the two of them run around together, wrestling and growling and having a good time.
Even the sight of the two dogs rough-housing couldn’t make me smile. I had violated something I held very dear. I had become an MDIF.
There is no going back from here. Now that I’ve said it, I will forever be one of them, kicked out of every dog-owning club I’ve ever joined, banished from all good company.
That’s not even the worst of it. Truly, what bugs me the most, is that by becoming what I most mock, I have lost my right to complain.
Oh, the humiliation of it all!
Will you forgive me if I promise to never let it happen again?
*I swear. It really happened just like that. Maybe they were actually aliens sent down to study our planet. Maybe the dog was the high commander. Or maybe they were time travellers from a different dimension. Alls I know is they weren’t there and then they were.
**I bet the aliens drugged me so I wouldn’t tell anyone. Ha! Too bad for them I built up a tolerance to such things during my experimental phase. Er, I probably shouldn’t be talking about that.