Laurel Canyon Dog Park here in L.A.., right off the infamous Mulholland Drive, is where Polly and I go to see other dogs. It’s a large fenced in area and there’s also a smaller separate area marked for “small and timid dogs”. Down a grassy hill are some benches and trees and trash cans with pooper scoopers leaning against the fence.
We started going to the Dog Park soon after I got Polly 4 years ago. Frankly I think we do it now more for me than Polly. Polly doesn’t really “play” with other dogs. She pees and poops and sniffs around and lays in the sun. I love it though. It’s relaxing being surrounded by the hills of the canyon away from the urban sprawl and the weather is beautiful. I also have Dog Karma and the regular dogs and puppies run up to me and kiss me and jump in my lap.
Although I usually know all the dog names, there are other regulars like me who I’ve become close enough to that I know their names as well. Our little group will sit on a bench or on the hillside and watch the dogs run around while we gossip and notice the celebrities about. Wanda Sykes, Orlando Bloom, Allyson Jainie, Alan Ball, Pink, Katie Holmes, Famke Jenson, Dave Navarro. We’re all (of course) too cool for school to gush. We’d rather act nonchalant and talk about what they’re wearing. Some of my friendships have even expanded outside the DP and we’ll have dinners and talk on the phone. But the DP is our base, our clubhouse.
There are also the “Crazies” - people who obviously have boundary issues or are too loud or neurotic about their dogs or usually all three. They aren’t hard to spot and when we’re confronted with one, an eye roll or muted groan warns us all. I’ve noticed a lot of the Crazies are older women and my theory is living in a city filled with siliconed actresses and Trophy Wives could cause one to be a little angry and needy. Then there are those like the woman with her dog Daisy who showed up about five months after we started going.
Daisy supposedly was 10 months old when her “mom” started bringing her to the DP. I say supposedly because it became clear over time the lines of reality were blurry at best. Daisy’s mom said Daisy had been attacked the week before by a pit bull in the larger park and that’s why they were in the Small DP even though Daisy wasn’t particularly small and not timid. In fact Daisy was kind of crazy. Like Mother, like Daughter. She’d run around like a spazz and had a particular fondness for biting Polly on her hind leg to get her attention.
So Crazy Daisy’s Mom began sitting next to us on the hill. She had a habit of not just sitting with you but sitting practically on top of you. She said she was a writer (not unusual for L.A.) and claimed to have written movies for Lifetime. (No!) She stuck out from the rest of us with her crisp polo shirts, her Mom pants and her blindingly white Ked sneakers. She wore her straight blond hair pinned back with little barrettes.
She’d talk a lot. Unbidden, unending, uninteresting chatter about the “Industry” or her love of award shows. She handed out business cards she had made for free over the Internet that said her name and WRITER underneath. We just called her (not to her face) Crazy Daisy’s Mom.
Even worse was when she talked to the dogs. I know I sweet-talk Polly and mutter endearments to puppies but CD’s M would speak some weird baby accent that was like a cross between Elmer Fudd and Maggie Simpson. “DOES WITTLE DAISY WANT SOME WA-WA? AND POWEE TOO?” she’d scream at the dogs. Polly would look at her like she’d lost her mind while Daisy would spazz more and chase her tail and try to bite Polly’s legs. CD’sM would laugh gaily and start talking again about god knows what while the rest of us sat in silence and passive-aggressively smoked our cigarettes. Eventually, after a few months, we just clammed up when she arrived.
One fateful day, we were all sitting on the hill as usual when I heard CD’s M behind me. “OH DAISY WAS ATTACKED BY A PIT BULL LAST WEEK.” I looked down to the dogs and there was Polly once again being pestered by Daisy. I felt a huge swell of sympathy for Pit Bulls everywhere and turned and said pointedly “Will you please try and control your dog from biting Polly?”
CD’s M laughed shrilly. “OH SHE’S JUST PLAYING!”
“She’s driving Polly crazy. Please.”
CD’s M bolted upright on the hill and stood. “FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU AND YOUR LITTLE CLIQUE! ME AND DAISY WILL DO WHATEVER WE WANT! FUCK ALL OF YOU!” She took Daisy and then stormed out of the park leaving all of us, including the dogs, sitting agape on the grass. We never saw her at the park again.
It was probably the single coolest thing she’d ever done.
A week later we’re at the park and one of my friends left before returning a few minutes later all wild eyed with a huge grin on her face. “You won’t BELIEVE what I found thumbtacked to the bulletin board in the parking lot!” She handed me a sealed envelope with HUGH written in huge caps on the front. I opened it up and found this typed letter (The italics are my comments).
If you were having a problem with me or with Daisy. all you had to do was speak to me about it as an adult and I’m sure we could have worked something out. You certainly had ample opportunity to take me aside and talk to me calmly and civilly any number of times.
Instead you passively-aggressively [sic] froze me out, as if expecting me to read your mind. You then chose to childishly lose your temper at me and worse, at a defenseless Daisy , who after all, is still a puppy and was just playing. [Daisy was around 2 at this time]. As a result, Daisy was up the entire night with an upset stomach - her reaction to the stress you caused.
I’m sorry if Daisy and I make you uncomfortable but you’re obviously free to go elsewhere. After all, you and your clique don’t own this park or that area. As I mentioned several times, Daisy was attacked early on in the big park and feels safer in the smaller area. Daisy has never injured another dog, nor would I let her, as I taught her bite inhibition which means that she doesn’t bite hard enough to break the skin. Furthermore, Daisy does happen to be, in comparison to most, a small dog, as I’m sure the park rangers would agree.[None of us have ever seen a park ranger. Ever.]
Also, if you sit on the ground, you take the chance of having a dog run into you. Isn’t running around and playing what dogs are supposed to do at the dog park?
People often don’t realize the consequences of their actions. I just want you to know this has been a particularly difficult year for me, what with my first dog dying a horrible death from cancer [huh?] and a close family member committing suicide not two months ago. [huh?]. Thank you to adding to my burden by making so stressful the one true sanctuary Daisy and I enjoyed.
I’m waiting for the Lifetime Movie, "One True Sanctuary." If they can afford it, I’ll probably be played by Christoper Walken.