Why you should care

Because a riot is sometimes a dog’s best friend.

I got my dog Bailey about 10 years ago. He’s a lab mutt and a rescue and a total sweetheart. He’s also a total troublemaker and an idiot.

The day prior to this fateful event, I was on my way to pick up my kids from school and decided to stop in at a grocery store to grab a couple of rotisserie chickens for supper. Bailey was in the car with me, and when it came time to park and go fetch my kids, I kind of had a brain fart and left the hot, delicious smelling dinner birds in the car.

When I returned, the dog had eaten both chickens, leaving only the bigger bones behind. Even the foil-lined bags had been licked clean of any fat or grease. Bad dog! Goddamn it! Oh well … shit happens.

And indeed, the next day at the dog park, the shit did happen. Big time.

Bailey and I were at the park for about 10 minutes when he started to walk a little funny and got a nervous look on his face. He trotted over to an empty corner of the park, squatted, and let loose with a burst of raucous, startling gas before lighting it up with a massive explosion of digested ex-chicken. It was a weird, almost gelatinous mini-lake of just-on-the-verge-of-being-solid-but-still-liquid poo.

Some huge, muscle-bound freak got in my face … and he was not messing around …

I was in shock. And, of course, some nosey ass nearby waltzed over — if you aren’t aware, people at the dog park are like sentinels of Christ when it comes to watching others to make sure they pick up their dog shit — and uttered the presidential level dog park busy-body phrase, “You gonna pick that up?”

“You got a shop vac?” I looked at him. There was no way I was touching that mess.

But this is where things got strange, or stranger: The big puddle of diarrhea gave off a hot smell of rotisserie chicken. My stomach actually growled, loudly, and the dude who had asked me if I was going to “pick that up” stared at me with a look I’ve come to recognize as disgust. Disgust and disappointment.

Soon, though, there were bigger fish to fry as every dog in the park stopped what they were doing and stood at full alert. Sniffing. One by one, dogs arrived at the puddle of poop like it was some sort of watering hole in the savanna.

In the world’s smelliest dog-park horror film, and before I could do very much of anything, the owners of these dogs found their canines eating and licking up what Bailey had left behind.

“Get away from there! Goddamn it! BAD DOG! BAD DOG!”

Not to be put off, the dogs were getting feral from it all. Most took greedy bites. Some paused momentarily, their eyes darting left to right, as they bit at the air. Many were starting to growl.

[I]t sounded like Jurassic Park back in there. And it looked just like a cartoon dust ball: dogs fighting, growling, yelping, running, chasing.

Some huge, muscle-bound freak got in my face with a couple “poo bags” and grunted, “Clean that up.” He was not messing around, so I proceeded to mop and scoop up whatever had not been eaten by the dogs. The result? A football-sized poo bag of the chicken waste. It was disgusting. I proceeded to walk the bag over to the park’s “Molok,” an underground garbage container, when out of nowhere a big German shepherd ran up, snatched the bag from my hand and tore off into a wooded part of the park that was pretty inaccessible to humans.

Then, in short order, one dog after another, really almost every dog in the park — around 20 of them — beat hell after the German shepherd with the coveted waste. Pretty soon it sounded like Jurassic Park back in there. And it looked just like a cartoon dustball: dogs fighting, growling, yelping, running, chasing. All while being healthily slathered with steaming offal.

And all the while the owners were going hysterical, torn before beating me to death and calling, in vain, for their dogs to “come here.” One particularly desperate man was screaming, “I’m late for work you motherfucker! I’M LATE FOR WORK.”

Well, that was my cue to leave.

bailey

Bailey Incognito

Source Photo by David Hall

If I hadn’t mentioned it, Bailey was by my side like the ultimate best dog ever throughout the whole thing. I leashed him and made for the exit.

“Hey! Where are you going?! This is all your fault!” A woman yelled at me. A bunch of people who had given up on retrieving their dogs started to circle me.

“Okay, okay,” I said, holding my hands up in a gesture of stop/peace. “I don’t want some jackpot here. It’s not my fault your dogs are all disgusting pigs.”

With that, I turned on my heels and Bailey and I ran to my car. Top speed. We got in and I locked the doors. A small crowd had taken up after us and was just now heading toward the car.

I did what any sane, guilt-ridden but ultimately not-giving-a-crap citizen would: I floored it and held down the horn until all those freaks and their shit-eating hounds were behind me.

I haven’t been back since.

OZYTrue Story

Good stories from around the globe. Essays and immersion, into the harrowing, the sweet, the surprising — the human.