dog park rules
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The Bigot at the Dog Park

dog park rules

Why can’t some people just let other people who are minding their own business alone?  How many bigots does it take to screw in a light bulb? None: They don’t see the light; they live in darkness.

This is vent day but I am sure that this has happened to other folks who read the blog. I stopped going to dog parks years ago for a variety of reasons. I know there are dog parents reading this who love dog parks, have success with them, and they provide a fantastic outlet for their dogs to play, sniff, roam, interact, and release energy. I am not down on all dog parks, so more power to those who have had success with them.

For those curious dog parents, here are the six reasons I stopped going to the dog park.

We have a deck in the place of a back yard where we reside, so there is no place on our premises to allow our dog to run and play in a fenced-in area. This is not a problem because we have access to an area where Dexter can run, play, and be off leash due to his voice recall training. Other folks do this, too, and there is never an incident, our dog is happy, and we’ve gotten to know quite a few pet parents who like the “not like a dog park” environment that exists in this particular area.

But there’s always that one idiot.

You know that saying about “there’s one in every crowd?”

We found him at the park recently.

While standing a few feet from my spouse, this guy who comes to the park to walk (without a dog) approaches me. I’ve seen him before so his “hello, how are you” was responded to with friendly pleasantries. Then he asked me out.

“Oh, no thanks, I’m married,” I replied.

“Oh, I never see you here with your husband,” he shared.

(ack, he’s been watching me, but okay)

“And your dog is really cute. He’s quite the runner.” Blah blah blah – I tried to tune him out after “never see you here with your husband.”

I don’t wear a sign nor do I blatantly share with folks that I am married to a woman, but I made a concerted decision last year not to hide it either. I am proud to be married and with the same person for nearly 21 years. I doubt most people reading this introduce themselves and follow up with their marital status.  If asked if you are married, chances are you answer honestly. I do the same thing.

“That’s because my wife and I come here together,” I told Mr. Making the Moves.

“Ohhhhh, you’re gay.” His lightbulb went off.

I didn’t reply and proceeded to walk away, moving closer toward my wife.  “I’m just not that into you and even if I were dating guys, I still would not be that into you” came to mind but I bit my tongue.

“What happened, couldn’t you two find the right guys so you married each other?”

And the flood gates opened.

“I’m just not that into you and even if I were dating guys, I still would not be that into you,” floated into the air as I walked away, this time, with quicker speed.

A derogatory expletive was hurled my way and I just ignored him.

I love my Dexter so…

This is a dog blog but it is also a blog about reality and the life of someone who identifies as a lesbian: Me. What gives people the right to be so hateful and derogatory if they are rejected? And to clear the air, would I really choose a life where I couldn’t find “Mr. Right” and so I “settled” for a woman because it was a better option?

I didn’t justify that with an answer for Mr. Rude and I won’t justify it with an answer now.

A seventh reason I stopped frequenting dog parks is because the few I did frequent had a pick-up joint vibe to them. I can handle myself, but the reason for taking our dog to the dog park doesn’t include being cruised.

The old Carol would have ignored the guy at the park and just let him ramble. I don’t need to take a stance on who I am and to whom I am married. In this case, I did. And it will happen again and again and again.  Someone, somewhere, is being derogatory to someone because of their sexuality.

Someone, somewhere will say something mean to another person because they don’t like the fact they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, have a different skin color, ethnic background, or some other reason that sets them off.

If you are that someone or know of that someone or perhaps you, yourself, have been harassed by someone for being a different than mainstream (whatever that is), do something to stop it. Say something. Speak up.

It isn’t cool to say “that’s so gay.” I often wonder if we say “that’s so Bob” or “that’s so neighbor on 123 Main Street” in response to something different, would that stick and become a cultural norm?

Probably not because calling someone gay and doing so with a derogatory tone or intent is so much, what, cooler?

Whatever the case, let me play with my dog in peace. And if you don’t like the way I was made, move along, I have no time for ignorance.

Ever experience anything similar? How did you handle it?

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  1. Women are open targets for men sometimes. Remember that #YesAllWomen twitter hash tag that went viral a few months ago. Men don’t get it and the sense of entitlement they have. I can imagine it goes double with being gay. You didn’t ask for an opinion, so why do people feel compelled to provide their obnoxious one. I don’t get it.

    1. I am tired of complaining about it and I hesitated writing this. I realize others face prejudice and harassment, and many of those people are pet parents, just like me. Thanks for the feedback 😉

  2. Carol, I think you handled this beautifully! Whenever my people are rude for no reason at all, I am always baffled. Why people feel that they need to treat other people poorly is beyond me. Sometimes I don’t say anything in those situations, but its not because I don’t want to. However, I think someone needed to check this guy, which I think you did a great job of doing. Also, I like taking Rooney to the dog park because I know he likes it, but don’t particularly care for the human to human conversation. My pet peeve was people trying to tell me what was best for my own dog, and I was a vet tech at the time….so not fun! Also, I think you and your wife make a beautiful couple!

  3. What a disgusting human being. I just…there are no words. I’m sorry this happened to you, Carol. Ignorant people are the worst! I’m glad you took the high road and walked away 🙂

  4. I wish I was shocked when I read this. It amazes me what people think is okay to say and it’s sad that situations like this happen. I’m sorry you had to deal with such a jerk. I don’t think I would have been able to remain as cool in a situation like that. Everyone needs to vent now and then!

    1. It was hard. I felt compelled to write this because it made me wonder how many other hateful people like this exist in the world.

  5. That insecure Loser is pathetic. You are probably a thousand times more loved, respected, and admired than that guy ever could be! He felt a bizarre sense of “rejection” and his weak ego couldn’t handle it so he had to find something to lash out at you about. For every jerk like that there are a million supporters so I hope you won’t give the Loser a second thought after today!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Cathy, Isis, & Phoebe

  6. OMST!! I feel for you… but people are idiots. I am slowly starting to realize that, maybe because I am getting older and yes, less tolerant of ignorant people. I really don’t care if someone is black, white, purple, gay, sad or what ever they may be. Be nice to me and the people I love and I will do the same.
    Being hispanic, I like to call myself a hispanic mutt, I see a lot of ignorance in people, add in a Shih Tzu service dog and it goes up to another level….
    I used to ignore people, but lately I am calling people out on their ignorance. People aren’t used to being confronted and will walk away… I just like to follow them and continue to berate them for their stupidity… I know it’s not the right thing to do, but then they should have never opened their mouths in the first place. Like I said, I am becoming less tolerant as I get older 🙂

  7. That idiot probably acts like an ass to every woman who turns him down and it’s no wonder he’s still single. Don’t let the assholes get you down, they’re not worth the time or energy.

  8. People are so rude! I have been called the b word for turning down guys advances before. It’s like if I wasn’t interested in you, now I’m REALLY NOT interested! It’s a form of harassment and bullying and you are awesome for writing about it. The way we stop that type of behavior is to educate and empower others to stand up for themselves and other people when they observe this happening.

  9. Here in Seattle, I once had some rando on the street try to get my attention–I was wearing ear buds, and I wanted to be polite, so I took them out and asked what he said. He then went into a big spiel about how he, with his Love Of Jesus(tm), was able to “convert” a lesbian to heterosexuality by telling them all about The Wonders Of Jesus(tm). Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ve got nothing against Christianity in general (evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity is another story altogether), but I guess I “read queer” enough for him to try and preach at me. I said, “No thanks, I’m all set,” and walked off.

    Me of today would have hollered back, but me of then was a little more intimidated. Let’s just say that if I EVER see any displays of homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant/refugee sentiment, or any other “ism,” I HAVE and WILL make a scene and I WILL do my best to embarrass the crap out of whoever is being a d-bag.

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