On Tuesday, I brought our newly adopted puppers out to the ball fields so:
1. I could watch Clay play ball like a boss. Almost 40, and he’s still the craftiest player out there.
2. I could guzzle down a majorly deserved beer on a gorgeous summer day, and
3. Macie (previously mentioned puppers) could interact with the general public in a socially acceptable manner, as learned through her recent obedience training, in which she had JUST THAT DAY earned her graduate certification (and an adorable bandana, to boot).
I was ill-prepared for what would follow.
Being a first-time dog owner, I had high expectations of what the experience would be like. I daydreamed about sitting on the bench, legs crossed and shades on while talking lightheartedly with my girlfriends. My learned, ever well-trained dog would rest at my feet as we watched inning after inning. Fans would marvel at Macie’s delightfully friendly personality and calm demeanor. Naturally, Macie would see Clayton step up to the plate and whine excitedly. The girls would laugh at how endearing it was, clutching their hearts when they saw how much she adored Clay. “You must be an amazing alpha for her to look up to,” they’d say to me, wistfully making a note to ask their husband to adopt a dog, too. “You have to be willing to put in the work,” I’d counter with a gracious smile.
Before that day, I was a huge optimist. Here’s how it really went.
The second we got out of the car, I was being dragged viciously through the parking lot toward kids practicing baseball at the far end of the field. They could see the horror in my eyes and tried to avoid me as we came rushing by. It made me feel great.
We sat down near my girlfriends, Macie lunging at each hit ball like she could magically run through fences, or chasing after a ball rolling across the ground from kids nearby warming up.
I remember surveying the scene and saying to myself in horror, “My, God – there are balls everywhere!” Like I didn’t realize I was going to a baseball field. Or that balls are Macie’s kryptonite, that — if nearby — turn her small, albeit compact, body into a full-length semi-truck, and her demeanor into that of Penelope Cruz’s character in “Blow.”
Full out, crayz-ballz, my friends.
All this happened in a millisecond, but it was enough to have me sweating bullets. Around me, I could hear various friends’ voices inquiring, “So she just graduated from obedience school today?” and “She’s just excited…” when I helplessly explained she’s not usually like this. Like they believed me. They had KIDS, for gosh sake. They can see straight through a lie.
Then the children started coming.
They toddled forth slowly like tiny, unmerciful drunkards. Their eyes were locked on Macie, and in their steady pursuit they resembled zombies after fresh meat. One by one they came, until all I could see of her was a bit of fur and eyes desperately looking for a way out. Soon a crowd of toddlers had engulfed her. Miniature hands grabbed at tufts of fur, trying to envelope Macie in a hug while looking around bewilderedly and questioningly babbling “Dog-gie?”
She’s lost to them, I remember distinctly thinking. They’re going to kill us all with their adorableness.
Then with one sneaky lick at a caramel apple sucker and another attempted gulp at a dum-dum, the kids fled as to not have their treats sullied. And, just as quickly as they appeared, they were lost to the park and their mothers’ arms once more.