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Dung starter

Mom took me back to the beach today. The beach is just the greatest! All the people that I walked up to said hello and gave me pats and scratches. That doesn’t happen most other places, probably because most places I have to keep Mom on a leash, and Mom’s suspicious of strangers. I say it’s because she’s poorly socialized and a little unfriendly; she says it’s because she’s from New England.

Anyway, on the beach I can say hello to whatever people and dogs I want, and Mom can hide 20 yards away where she doesn’t have to talk to anyone. If she feels like I’m making strangers into friends too quickly then she calls me over to check on her instead. This time Mom must have been really scared of strangers, because she wasn’t just keeping her distance, she was actually running down the beach away from all the people. I had to look up every 20 seconds or so to make sure she didn’t get away.

There was another dog just like me who was running with his man just like Mom. I tried to make friends with the dog and his man since we were all running in the same direction and everything, but on the whole beach they were the only ones that didn’t want to say hi to me. Maybe the man didn’t know about beach rules like not wearing shoes and being relaxed and saying hello to dogs. Or… They were going the same direction as as Mom and me… so we must be racing!

For over a mile and a half I raced with the dog and his man, trying to inspire Mom to keep up. But Mom just preferred to stay behind where she could be alone and lose the race. Some people are just like that.

Before we got in the car Mom washed her feet at the dog water fountain while a Great Dane drank from the people water fountain. Mom smiled at him because the water fountain was the perfect height for his face, and it makes Mom happy to see things that weren’t made for each other turn out perfect like that. But another man didn’t like perfect things.

“That’s a human water fountain, you know?” said a guy who had a gift for noticing the obvious things that most people take for granted, and pointing them out. “It’s a dog beach,” said the Great Dane’s person, who wasn’t as excited as the other man about saying obvious things out loud. “But people drink out of that water fountain…” said the man who saw the same things that everyone else saw. “But it’s a water fountain. People and dogs drink the water out of the air,” said the Great Dane’s man. “I’m just helping you by telling you it’s a human water fountain,” said the Not-Helpful Man. “You’re a dung starter, aren’t you?!” Only he didn’t say “dung.” His helpful tips about rules would have been useful down on the beach with the dog and his man that didn’t know the rule about giving me attention. But the Great Dane’s man didn’t seem to want a lesson in how to use water fountains. “I’m just here giving my dog some water. You’re the one starting dung.” Only the Great Dane’s man didn’t say “dung” either. “No, you are!” “No, YOU are!”

Mom finished washing her feet before all the sand was off of them and walked back to the car while the two men at the water fountain continued to argue about who was starting the dung. It worried me that we were leaving them alone, so I kept looking over my shoulder and every time I did they were still fighting over who started the dung. “Mom, why didn’t you say who started it and break the tie so they could move on?” I asked. “Because some arguments you can never win, no matter how right you are,” Mom said. “Some people will just say the dumbest dung, and they think that as long as they say it over and over that they’ve won the argument.” Mom didn’t say “dung” either. “Good thing I never do anything like that,” I said. “Whenever I get in an argument with someone they always deserve it. If I don’t tell them that they’re doing something wrong like stopping when they should be walking, or coming out of their house, or …” “…or drinking from the wrong water fountain?” Mom added, helpfully. “How can you drink out of the wrong water fountain? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Weren’t you listening earlier…?! There’s no apartheid at the dog beach.”

-Oscar the Pooch



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