On our way home from the lake, we made a stop in the city so that my husband could visit his sister, who was in the hospital there.
He dropped my dog and I off at the park; the same park we had waited at a week before while he went to the hospital. I looked then, I really did, for signs that said dogs weren’t allowed, and I only saw them at the playground. That made sense. No dogs on the playground. I could live with that.
This time we were dropped of at the other end of the park, and as my husband pulled away, I saw the sign. No Dogs Allowed. The anxiety started, but I figured I had looked the week before, and hadn’t seen the signs, so maybe it was just that picnic area.
Okay, so the picnic area and the playground were out of bounds for us, but we could still walk through the park as we waited for my husband to get back.
As I was coming up to the other end of the park – the other parking lot, where we had been dropped off a week ago – a little girl looked up at a sign that was facing her and read, “No Dogs Allowed.”
It is not like I meant to go against the rules. I didn’t know. I don’t understand rules like that anyway. Where else were we supposed to go when my husband was at the hospital? It is not like we live in that city, or even close enough for him to bring me home first (or go back to the lake to pick me up.) Both are a fair distance away. Where were we supposed to go? Last week we tried to go to another park, but noticed the sign right away. No Dogs Allowed. That is why I ended up at the other park.
About a month ago, we stopped in the same city at another park, which also had the signs up. No Dogs Allowed. It is so unfair. I clean up after my dog. It isn’t his fault other people don’t do the same. Why are we denied access to the parks?
So at that far end parking lot, where I realized we weren’t allowed to be there, I walked up to the street. I walked along the street, and back to the place where we had been dropped off. I had to wait there for my husband to come and pick me up.
As I sat there, and read by a tree in the parking lot, my anxiety grew. My heart was racing, my stomach was turning, my head was dizzy, and my fingers were numb. Even my dog was whimpering in fear. The whole time I was afraid that someone would come up to me and yell at me for having my dog there.
People are scary, and I don’t understand their rules. Being there made me want my dog with me even more – not to defy their rules (that isn’t me; it is not being able to follow their rules that brought out such anxiety to begin with) – but because I was so anxious about the people that I needed my dog to calm me.
I don’t fit in their world.
No Dogs Allowed. I need my dog. Why won’t they allow us in their world? I don’t understand. They might as well say, “No children allowed,” or “No geese allowed.” They make as much mess. If it is over fears others have of dogs, they might as well say, “No crowds allowed,” or “No people allowed.” I am as afraid of crowds and people as others are of dogs, yet if I could bring him, I even I would have found peace in a space of my own, within that crowd. It doesn’t make any sense.