White Dog was doing zoomies across the Park's hills. Steve and Puff and YoYoMa were on the far side of the perimeter enjoying walking in the wet grass and sniffing the intense smells that are released in the desert when the tiniest moisture is present. The Park was nearly deserted because of the intermittent rain and gloom. I brought the camera to take photos of White Dog performing some of her best tricks. We were loving it.
Nuka and Quinn and I barely noticed the kind of scruffy guy that asked if it was ok to sit on the bench next to where I sat in my wheelchair. As they always do, the White Ones moved close to me but showed no agitation. "Nice dogs," he said, reaching down to pet Nuka who growled and bared her teeth (as she usually does). "Please don't pet her. She is a bit of a wild card and just to be safe and not get bitten, I would prefer that you not pet her." "My Uncle had a dog who was white and looked like them and she was MEAN, she would bite you for nothin'" "Well, my dogs are pretty protective and they would certainly hurt anyone who messed with me but they are well mannered in public."
The man was edgy and I could kind of sense that he had a problem. He made me uneasy but not fearful since I had the dogs and was in a high obvious spot at the Park. We chatted about the Park and how nice it was since the City redid the streets and parking at the beginning of the Summer. I recalled how when we first got White Dog this Park had been a haven for drug dealing and was not exactly family friendly. A major renovation about 5 years ago and strict policing (and gentrification of the neighborhood) has made it the home of children's birthday parties, frisbee golf, and joggers with pups.
Steve came by and switched out the Pups, taking TOWD and AWD while leaving YoYoMa, Puff and White Dog with me. He gave me a raised eyebrow at my "friend" but I did not want to worry him. Besides YAWD had already moved to stand protectively in front of me; Puff was under my chair; and White Dog hopped up on the bench to sit between me and the guy. He asked if he could pet her and WD looked willing so I allowed him to stroke her and be amazed at her incredible softness. "This one is nice," he said. "She is the most social but she is the one who would rip the throat out of anyone who hurt me, she and I have a VERY special relationship." I added. He put his hands in his lap.
"You should stay away from me," he said glancing around like he had been doing. "I have bad habits." "Well, you could just walk away taking your bad habits with you. I hope you someday want to change those habits and have the strength to make that happen. Have a good day."
Steve was nearly across the bowl of the Park's bottom on his way back. The "gentleman" stood. YoYoMa took a step. "You know when I sat down here I was going to steal your camera but I am not going to." He walked away. And I hugged WD with one arm and YAWD with the other. SAWD came from beneath me and stood at my side.
"What was with that guy," Steve said as he walk up. "I'll tell you in the car on the way to buy some VERY deserving pups cheeseburgers," I said my heart flooding with relief. I just hope that my pass was not the cause of some poorer or needier person getting mugged.