Murphy - who is not named for Murphy Brown
This is Murphy. She belongs to Steph. Murphy is at the dog park pretty much every evening with Steph, although not always at the same time we're there. She has never yet let me pet her, but she's getting a little closer to that each day. Murphy is like Tuffy was: shy and standoffish. Encroach on her and she'll bark or run away, but stand around and eventually she'll come up behind you for a cautious sniff.
She seldom plays with other dogs, either, but here too she's improving. Steph thinks that Murphy feels most dog behavior is beneath her dignity.
But after Steph pets Cayenne, Murphy will approach Steph for attention, and be quite affectionate. See what a little competition can do!
Just playin' - for the moment
Something a little disturbing happened at the dog park the other day. A woman who is there every afternoon with her brother(?) and something like seven dogs thought she had hit upon a way to deter dogs from getting into fights, as has happened a number of times recently. She had a Taser with her. When dogs got too rambunctious, on the verge of possibly fighting instead of playing, she turned it on and called off the dogs - not just her own, but any dogs involved. Understand: she did not shock the dogs, didn't even touch them. But the electrical zap and clack-a-clack noise near sensitive dog ears was enough to encourage dogs to back off.
She did this a few times on Tuesday, as I and other humans watched. Cayenne, who had been at the edge of the pack as usual, came to me afterward for comfort and didn't leave. I wasn't going to say anything to the woman, who is rather nice, but the owner of an eight-month-old puppy who had been trying to play with the other dogs was quite upset. Another woman half-heartedly defended the use of the Taser as a noisemaking deterrent, as long as the woman never actually used it on a dog, which she said she would not. I have to wonder, though, whether she would indeed do that if a dog was biting and refused to back off at the sound of the clack and zap!
The question came up whether it was legal to carry a Taser into the dog park and use it in this way. When I got home, I called the police non-emergency line and asked, not to get the woman in trouble, but just to know the legality of the situation. It turns out she does have the right to do that, as long as she doesn't abuse a dog (which the policeman on the phone seemed to think would involve actually shocking the dog) or threatening a human. So that seemed to be that - except that she didn't have the Taser out tonight (perhaps no need?). A police car was hanging out in the parking lot when I arrived, only to loop past me and leave as the dogs and I emerged from the car. Coincidence? Maybe. I only know that I don't like to see conflict at the dog park. But that human - and canine - nature, isn't it?