Thursday, January 03, 2008

Conversation at the Dog Park

A couple of weeks ago at the dog park, Pappy was engaged in one of his signature endless rounds of fetch. It was just me and one other owner at the park, and Pappy started dropping the ball at his feet-- I'm always at the end of Pappy's list.

Some folks are thrilled to have Pappy single them out, but this guy was clearly a bit diffident to being a cog in my dog's obsession. He mentioned to me that endless fetching seemed like a joyless preoccupation. I responded with a platitude about it being good exercise. He said he used to have a dog that would fetch incessantly, and he'd always felt it was associated with the dog's epileptic seizures. I said that Pappy had never had any trace of a problem, he's just terrier obsessive. He asked how old Pappy was, and I said almost three. He said that epilepsy could come on in older dogs, mentioning he thought he saw a little tremor when Pappy was waiting for the ball. Then he recalled fondly how he would sit and stroke his dog during one of the seizures.

It was a perfectly pleasant conversation, but I just wanted to yell at the guy "my dog does not have epilepsy just because he chases a stinking ball!" Even at the time the situation cracked me up... the discussion couldn't have been better scripted to drive me crazy.


Gus said...

There are people who see the worst of all possible endings first. This guy was clearly one of them.

the difference between seeing the possibility of a seizure disorder at some point in the future and seeing the joy in the present is a big one. Don't let him upset you

the philosopher's dog

Minou and Birdie's Mommy said...

Don't you love those people??? I'd hate to hear what is all wrong with my freakish dogs (according to him) they have SO MANY strange behaviors I'm sure he would have them committed. We on the otherhand like to laugh at them.

roxanne said...

Hardly joyless! Next time, start talking about the brain science that shows dogs experience the highest activity in the "pleasure" zone of the brain right before the ball is thrown. It's actually the "anticipation" zone. It's the anticipation or the "seeking" that causes such joy, but most people won't get that.

Are really smart dogs obsessive? Sure. Are they ill? Nope.

Truman and Louise's Mom said...

Reminds me of the woman who stopped me in the park one day to tell me that Truman was clearly malnourished. I just gave her a glare and moved on! His foot is on the mend -- a torn ligament has meant a crazy foot brace, a silly boot, and lots of time with only leash walks! Hope all is well and Happy New Year.

Nat said...

Is this a continuation of the leg problems he had months ago, or was this something new? Sad to think your racecar dog is up on blocks. Things are good a the dog park, hope to see you and the Mr. soon.

truman and louise's mom said...

Same old injury that happened sometime late last summer (we think). When it never got better we were advised to see an Orthopedic Vet (yep, cha-ching!) because there was a concern of bone cancer (based on odd xrays, etc). Of course it wasn't cancer, but a badly torn ligament -- the highest, worst grade possible. Only the best for Truman! So we have done no running since Sept, only leash walks. I don't know who is more annoyed at this point -- him or us!!! He is now allowed off leash with his crazy little brace --and soon that can go too. The good news...he has gained weight from being less crazed and active!

Nat said...

Yikes, sorry to hear of his tribulations. Sad to think of him not wearing a track around your back yard. So he's like totally calm and placid now?

3dogcache said...'s not that hard. To drive you crazy, that is. And maybe that is Ellie's problem. I think I've noticed a few twitches when she is staring intently at the ball, flinching at it's every move as I arc it around her head.

Ari_1965 said...

A man at the dog park once told me, as he eyed Buddha with nervousness, that his vet had told him that brown dogs have a tendency to be vicious.