The Bad & The Ugly –
Today I took the Fantastic Four, Riggins, Bear, Jax & Dragon up to the observatory via the Fern Dell trail. They all did great, and once we took a time out at the top we started back down. On the way up we had passed a dozen or so dogs and even more humans. My pack had no issues with anyone. Some dogs they ignored while others everyone wanted to say hi (aka sniff butts). There was no growling, no fighting, no lunging, no issues.
On the way down I had gone just a few steps when I saw a women coming up with 3 dogs. She looked like she had stopped in the shade to rest (she wasn’t in the best of shape). As we got closer she started to scream “PULL YOUR DOGS BACK. PULL THEM BACK. PULL YOUR DOGS BACK!” Her dogs seemed fine at that moment. One was crouched down in a “staking” mode but that isn’t uncommon for dogs. The other two didn’t seem to care one way or the other that their mom had gone crazy. I ignored her as I walked past keeping my guys as far away as the path allowed. She kept screaming at me, which triggered one of her dogs to lose his shit and start barking aggressively. Smallish dog … I didn’t think it was a problem as I figured, even with three dogs, she could keep such a small guy contained on leash. Finally, after more outbursts from her, I had to point out the obvious: 1. She was crazy. 2. If she was so worried about her dogs meeting other animals she shouldn’t take them to a public location. Well, that did nothing but throw fuel on the crazy fire. She went, what I would consider, “ape shit.” Looking back she is lucky I was in no mood for a fight because it would have been so fun to fight with her. She started following me screaming that I had no right to have 5 dogs that I couldn’t control (Please note my puppers where pretty afraid of the woman shrieking at them so where keeping as far away as possible, not barking, and not causing any problems … which is actually pretty shocking). It didn’t help that my response to this was that she couldn’t count. 5 dogs? Was she counting me? By then I was far enough away to mumble, “bitch” under my breath before moving on.
30 ish seconds later I let Riggins off leash to trot along beside us without being tethered to me. You know what happened when I let that vicious creature that I couldn’t control free? Nothing. He walked all the way down past many more dogs and many more people and didn’t have a single problem … none of us did.
On the other hand I could hear crazy yelling at more people further up on the trail. I assume she left carnage from her ridiculousness all the way up and down that path. This “incident” had two things that make me insane and start to feel all stabby.
First of all, don’t question my ability to care for my dogs. Don’t you dare. This happens more often than you would think and usually I get adequately pissed off to cause a scene. Once a young man was walking down the street to Runyon with Riggins and me scolding me the entire time about Riggins wearing a retriever bell. I was polite at first and then verbally destroyed him to the point he turned around and went back to his car. RETREAT!!! I care for Riggins and my guest dogs with love and extreme passion. For you to suggest otherwise really chaps my hide!
Secondly, this woman couldn’t admit SHE was in the wrong. Obviously she had gotten in too far over her head bringing her dogs there (BTW she did yell at me that her aggressive dog was a shelter dog and I needed to have more compassion … yah I really need to work
on showing more compassion to dogs … it’s a huge problem for me) and instead of apologizing and moving on she choose to channel her embarrassment into angry toward an innocent bystander. Why? All that does is make more people feel bad. When I walk aggressive dogs, like Bud, I ONLY walk them alone and when passing a dog that looks like he/she will get close tell the owner that my dog isn’t being very nice today so I am going to keep him away from their dog. SEE WHAT I DID THERE … MADE IT TOTALLY MY RESPONSIBILITY … BECAUSE IT IS … I BROUGHT THE AGGRESSIVE DOG … MY RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE IT IS DONE SAFELY.
This happens a lot in life. How many times have you seen something like this play out in the work place? Embarrassment or fear causes us to push blame on others instead of accepting it. It’s so much better to accept, apologize, find a solution, and move on.
The ugly part? Well that chick was ugly … YOU UGLY!
The Good –
I have found a new favorite dog park. The Hermon Dog Park right off the 110 just outside of downtown LA. When I walked up to the park gate I wasn’t really impressed. It is smaller than other dog parks I go to and is all dirt. There is a sign that says it was named one of the best 10 parks in 2009 (or something like that … don’t quote me on those numbers) and my first thought was, “why?” It’s pretty much a big ol’ fenced in dirt lot. Turns out I was wrong. It is really a very nice park and what makes it that way are the people.
Dog park people are weird. I’m allowed to say that as I’m one of them. Each dog park has its own personality and its own “type” of people. Hermon Dog Park, like the area it sits in, is home to many different types of people. My experience is that they are like the Silver Lake dog folks but less freaky and more grown up. That’s a good thing!
I can go to a dog park and not really interact with anyone. There is usually the “regulars” who form a gang at a central location and you enter at your own risk. It’s a lot like high school. Normally I head to a location that is comfortable, stick in my earbuds, and laugh out loud to an Adam Carolla podcast. At the Hermon park everyone was so nice and welcoming I had to take my earbuds out in order to have conversations … I know … wacky. I had invaded their park with 4 dogs (dog parks around here only allow each person to bring 3 dogs so I was technically breaking the rules … not something I suggest doing) and they were nothing but sweet and nice to me and the pups. They get a bright shiny gold star from me!
My previous favorite dog park was the Pasadena Dog Park and it still has a place in my heart. I had avoided taking all 4 dogs there simply because it is full of Pasadena Dog Park people … who can sometimes be a little judgy (don’t tell them I said that). Yesterday I planned to take only my guest dogs to the park but Riggins looked so sad I added him to the outing at the last-minute. Turns out, that day and hour, I had nothing to worry about and the folks at the Pasadena location were super nice and not judgy at all … shame on me for assuming otherwise.
Jumping to that conclusion was my fault. I am sorry. In the future I won’t make assumptions based on sweeping generalizations I make about other visitors of the parks. Have a good night! (accept, apologize, find a solution, and move on … see not hard!)
I once went on a couple dates with a guy who treated me like a puppy. I think the total number of dates was 3. I kept giving him a shot because he looked so good on paper. Cute enough, had a stable job, lived in a house near the city, had a vacation house in Big Bear, etc. I tried to pretend that he didn’t talk to me like I had just peed on the carpet, but it was a deal breaker. I swear the dude even patted the top of my head … honest.
I thought of him today when I realized with all the time I spend with dogs I’m surprised my human interactions haven’t been downgraded to one word commands, angry staccato growls, and high-pitched words of encouragement. I suppose it’s only a matter of time.
This week I have 3 guests plus Riggins. That’s four adorable dogs and sometimes I feel like the lion tamer at the circus. When getting in the car you can hear me say:
- Jax up. Jax up. Good boy!
- Riggins up. Good boy!
- Bear up. Bear up. BEAR UP! Good girl.
- Dragon up. Up. Good boy!
Then reverse when we get out of the call but add a couple “stay” to keep them in place until they are called.
When I leave the house by myself you hear:
- Jax to your house. Jax in. Good boy! (close crate and lock it)
- Bear next, to your house. Dragon back. Dragon stay. Bear in. Bear to your house. Good girl! (close crate and lock it)
- Dragon come. Good boy.
- Riggins treat. Treat. (take Riggins outside with treat and close and lock gate)
- Good Dragon. (close and lock the backdoor)
All I need is a top hat and some of those big black boots and I’ll be set for the center ring!
SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START. This weekend has been a doozy of activity and my brain is on overdrive. Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones could really be the daily topic for the rest of the week! Sat night I attended a fun-filled wig party which means you NEED to see pictures. Poor adorable Dragon had to go to the vet today to get a foxtail out of his eye leading me to an anger against nature, which should be discussed. For some reason I got on a tangent about corporate America and how much more efficient and decent it would be if it wasn’t for the expected and bullshit ass kissing …. one of my favorite topics. The news about a Cheerios commercial being “controversial” due to an interracial marriage has me fuming about some people’s use of the internet. Finally, adorable Bandit was free to go home to his mom after 3+ years of unfair incarceration but sweet Phineas is still fighting for his life and being mistreated by brainless humans in power.
For today why don’t I focus on the interaction of the internet and then leave you with some cutie pictures of Dragon to help cleanse your palate. Deal? DEAL!
Although I am currently a brilliant dog sitter my background is in market research, media intelligence, and social media consulting/research. This gives me the knowledge to be a whole other type of angry at the whole Cheerios ridiculousness (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this.) By the time I heard of this story General Mills had disabled the comment section on their YouTube channel so I really can’t find any comments that are negative, racist, or hurtful anymore. Oh I’m sure if I tried hard enough, I could find someone somewhere with a webpage spewing hatred but that isn’t what comes up when I search for the story. General Mills did a good job of shutting the whole thing down. That should have been the end of it. But noooooooooooooo. The internet went BONKERS, as it sometimes tends to do and what, sadly, can be considered a normal reaction to an Internet posting spiraled into so many “discussions” that the traditional media picked it up. Then doing what it does best, the media made a story out of something that isn’t really much of a story. Is it really shocking that people are hateful? Does it really surprise you that there are folks that can still be labeled as “racist” living among us? I am in NO WAY saying any of the negativity was right or should be tolerated. I heart Cheerios and I think that little girl on the commercial is cute as a button! Most brands do AND SHOULD have rules in place as part of their social media strategy, on any of the internet real estate they are using to support the brand, that specifically tells readers certain types of feedback and comments will not be tolerated and will be taken down.
What I am saying is that you can find that level of human stupidity on almost EVERY posting on the internet, YouTube, news articles, blogs, forums, microblogs, all of it. The story, for me, isn’t “Cheerios was attacked” but more “the Internet is a place to attack.” Sadly people feel safe as faceless users behind their computer screen and become braver than you would expect (BTW good example of why online focus groups can be more “honest” than in person). I read a lovely post about Patrick Stewart’s very personal work he does with women’s groups specifically to support stopping abuse against women. THAT POSTING HAD MORE NEGATIVE COMMENTS THAN POSITIVE. Can you imagine? A few of the posts were suggesting Patrick Stewart (aka the best of all the captains) was being unfair to his father. He wasn’t, in fact he was very level-headed and empathetic to not only his mother but her abuser, his father. Any 1/2 wit with a brain could see that. There were comments about how the idea of supporting an end of abuse against women is sexist because there is violence against men and women. Okay … true enough … but THIS POST IS ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN YOU TWATS! A N D there … I just illustrated the other problem for you. Anger has become our go to emotion on the internet. It isn’t nice productive, “let’s discuss our difference in opinion” type unhappiness its name calling, hair pulling, all out screaming hatefulness.
I’ve read sites (like Phineas’ Facebook page) where the owner of the site has to keep reminding its emotional readers that what the goal of the site is, to help save a life, and that the community will not threaten those involved in any way. You see the same reminders when anything about religion and/or equal rights is being reported on or discussed. Isn’t that a given? Why do we have to be reminded not to be assholes? When did name calling back and forth EVER solve anything?
I often refuse to read comments to an article that I’ve read on-line. Other times I’m drawn to the comment section like it’s a train wreck I can’t look away from. I know that by the time I get to the fourth message I will be furious at someone. When selling social media research and/or listening the sales person will focus on how important it is that you control and drive the “discussion.” That you “listen and respond appropriately” and be “open and honest in your communications.” Sadly a “discussion” rarely seems to happen. Instead it is thoughtless outbursts of hatred and meanness with no way of being held accountable for what you have done. Words do hurt. They hurt humans and they hurt brands and entire companies. Thumbs up to the digital/social media team at General Mills. Killing the ability for folks to give feedback without taking down the actual “controversial” video was the right thing to do. I really hope that’s where they stopped and they weren’t behind making this an even bigger story. I want to believe that they weren’t and that instead they have handled and responded to the media stories with style and grace. After all there HAS to a protagonist somewhere in this story right? We need someone to cheer on.
This entire mess doesn’t just highlight the darkness of humans but it is a landmine for companies and brands. Woowee … if you don’t have a CLO (Chief Listening Officer) I suggest you get one STAT. If you are in LA I’m happy to send over my resume!
P.S. When I worked in Guest Services at Disneyland ions ago it was known that you really weren’t an expert at City Hall (the shift that put you in the front line of angry guests as this was where people were sent to complain) until someone made you cry. I feel the same way about blogging. You haven’t made it as a blogger until the ugly and ridiculous comments start rolling in. I SO WANT THAT TO HAPPEN TO ME. Maybe today is the day I make it! Perhaps THIS is the post that will make me a real blogger … fingers crossed!
P.P.S. Adorable pictures of Dragon as promised!
This is going to sound somewhat self-righteous and boastful but what can I say … to quote my dad, “I call it like I see it.” I have identified an issue with my dog sitting skills. Dogs love me. This is all well and good but they don’t just love me they become protective of me. This “imprinting” (think the wolves of Twilight — and yes I’m horrified I know this) happens fast and it causes problems.
Riggins and I are hosting an adorable schnauzer named Dragon. Dragon and I just came back from dinner and when Riggins came in to say hi to me Dragon growled at him (and immediately got in trouble). At the dog friendly restaurant Dragon didn’t want me to pet a fellow dinners dog and when I tried growled, ran to me and under my hand. The other diner exclaimed, “wow someone is jealous.” My answer, “he has only known me a few hours … how is that possible?”
Bud and Clover got in fights so badly that I had to find Bud another home for the weekend and I can no longer watch him when I have other dogs here. Based on the outbursts they were both trying to protect me.
Lousy, who was nothing but a snuggle bug almost killed my good friend, Giovanna, when she came into my house and wanted to eat the roller skater who was hitting on me at the rose bowl (thank you Lousy … that guy was weird).
In fact I dare anyone to F*ck with me! The dogs have seriously got my back. Do not come close unless invited otherwise you could end up dog food! (Not really but you will most likely get the snot scared out of you.)
I gotta figure this out so it doesn’t cause any more problems. Not that I don’t like being adored and loved by my furry friends but enough is enough! I don’t think it is an alpha thing as all other “alpha” type behavior has me as the pack leader … I think it might be the fact that I just love them. Adore them. Treat them as sweetums vs. dogs (against all of Cesar Milan’s advice). How can you not though? Look at those cute faces!!!! Perhaps it is the kind of dog that has an owner who will pay for personal dog sitting. Dare I say spoiled? Perhaps these dogs are just used to being the love of their humans life.
Either way I do love them. They are all adorable and make me happy. Even Riggins tends to pout when one of them leaves. (And don’t worry about Riggins and Dragon … they have been friends all day. Minor set back that was quickly resolved.)
P.S. – Due to Dragon’s name and love for me I demand everyone call me Kahleesi, Mother of Dragons, for the rest of the weekend.