A couple of weeks ago Hamlet and I took our usual evening walk around our apartment complex. There is an open space in the middle of the complex that we call the dog park because people from the complex take their dogs there to let them off leash and play together. It is not truly a dog park, just an informal place for dogs to get together and enough space where they can run around to their hearts’ content.
I just planned to take Hamlet on a quick jaunt through the “dog park” because no one is usually there at 6:30 p.m. (although at 5:30, watch out, it’s “yappy hour”). Upon getting closer to the open space I saw a Boston Terrier so of course we went to say hello.
She was a little brindle girl by the name of Mindy. I’d never seen her around the complex before but she was just the cutest little thing, about two inches shorter than Hamlet and probably five pounds lighter. I was chatting with the owner and said that Hamlet was friendly and he said Mindy and the other two dogs were also as far as he knew. Turns out the Boston is his roommate’s dog and the other two belong to her parents.
I let Hamlet off his leash and he immediately took off, zooming around the open space. The other three dogs were in tow, barking and chasing him. Hamlet is used to being one of the faster dogs in the apartment complex (or at dog parks). Most of the other dogs are usually bigger breeds like Labs and while they’re wagging their tails and tongues and spying where the next Chuckit throw is coming from, he’s able to run by them or out-maneuver them. Or maybe they let him out-maneuver. In any case, little Mindy gave Hamlet a run for his money. She was chasing him, caught up to him, did some cool move I can only assume she learned in her black belt karate class, and had Hamlet toppled over and splayed on the ground in a matter of seconds.
Hamlet was bewildered for a half a second but quickly recovered and acted like the trooper he is, got up and ran away before you would even know that he’d just had his butt kicked by a girl. But as he ran by I saw red streaks in the white fur on his neck. It’s probably every dog owner’s worst nightmare to see blood on their dog while at the dog park. Whose is it? How did it happen? Is everyone ok? Are those people going to sue me? But I don’t even have any money. Maybe I can pay them in baked goods. And so on.
I grabbed Ham before he could zoom off again and he seemed totally unaware that he’d been injured. He made no sound, exhibited no signs of pain or even mild discomfort and cared only about being let loose to challenge Mindy to another race. Upon closer inspection I couldn’t find the source of the spots of blood, so deemed it “just a scratch,” and wiped off the blood. After checking with Mindy’s caretaker to make sure she was all right, I let Hamlet back out there. They ran around a bit more and then Mindy and company left shortly after so we saddled up (in our household that’s what we call putting the leash on Hamlet) and walked home.
Just to explain how minor this ended up being, I snapped a few photos with my cell phone (apologies for some blurriness). I don’t even know if these pictures allow you to see anything other than normal Boston Terrier-ness, which is a good thing (no one was hurt), right? I would give you ample warning if I thought these photos might make you squeamish but honestly there isn’t any blood (just pink spots that you may not even notice if I didn’t point them out), no open wounds, nothing scary or sad or horrible, just a Boston Terrier ready for a nap.
After this closer inspection at home, I still couldn’t find so much as a scratch on Ham, much less anything that was still bleeding. I cleaned up his neck with some soap and water and everything looked dandy (thank goodness!). Now I’m wondering if maybe Mindy had a cut in her mouth and when she nipped him during her mixed martial arts takedown that she simply leaked some blood onto him.
In any case, the most important thing is that Hamlet and the other dogs are ok. And also that Hamlet learned that while he may be small and fast there is still smaller and faster. I think he might have a crush on that Mindy.
Have you ever had any injury close calls at the dog park? Has your dog been put in its place by an unassuming karate afficionado competitor? Ham is waiting with panting breath to hear the details.