Once and for all, I don't know your fucking dog, I don't love your fucking dog and I don't want your fucking dog to come near me. Are we clear?
A few nights ago, my wife and I stopped by Wawa (an East coast chain of convenience stores that 7-11 lays awake at night and dreams of being) for sandwiches. After picking up and paying for our order, we entered the small vestibule that separates the store from the parking lot. I could see through the large plate glass windows that a small, rusting green car had pulled up too close to our car in the parking lot. A window was lowered in the car's back seat door on the side that faced my wife's 4 Runner. Sticking out of the space once occupied by the window was the enormous hairy head of a very fierce-looking dog. (In the animal's defense, based on my dislike for all things canine, I think that all dogs are "fierce-looking.") A giant, thick strap of tongue hung lazily from its lower jaw, its dark pink underside hugging the contours of the huge incisors that lined the dog's mandible. Long syrupy drips of saliva fell from the tongue's slightly curled tip as the dog's cold, dark eyes scanned the store for his owner. The mutt's head was roughly the size of a buffalo's and it extended well into the no-man's land between my wife's car and the dented green heap.
The beast was not at all restrained and the window was fully retracted into the door. Without provocation, that dog could easily leap from the vehicle in a split second, prompted only by the slightest enticement of, say, a guy holding a bag of sandwiches.
I didn't move. I stood there, holding two bags of delicious sandwiches, chips and commercially-baked individual dessert cakes (one for me, one for the missus — if we cleaned our plates), and didn't move. I stared at the dog. The dog stared at me. Mrs. Pincus walked to her driver's side door. I spoke up.
"Could you back the car up?," I asked my wife, "There's a big dog sticking its head out the window and it's a little too close to our car.
She smiled and happily obliged, as she slid in behind the wheel and turned the ignition key. Once she maneuvered the car a comfortable distance from the fearsome hound, I scooted out into the parking lot and hopped in to the passenger's side of our front seat. As Mrs. P backed up a bit more to achieve a better alignment with the lot's exit, the dog's master emerged from the store and lit up a cigarette. He assessed the scenario before him and concluded that I just dissed his dog.
"He wouldn't have done nuthin' t' you.," he called out to us. When I didn't acknowledge, he shook his head, frowned and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture of disgust.
Listen, dog owners, no matter what you think — your dog can't talk. Your dog cannot communicate to a human being, in clear, understandable terms, that he promises to be on his best behavior and will not, under any circumstances, jump up and smear your shirt with muddy paws, shove his nose into your crotch at a level usually reserved for members of the medical profession or tear your facial flesh from your skull. Dogs are animals, just like lions or sharks or scorpions — and just as unpredictable. I don't know what your dog is capable of and I don't want to find out. I don't need to hear reassurance from a biased dog owner about how harmless his pet is. I will most likely never ever see you or your dog again. Yeah, yeah. I know. Your dog is your baby. Well, my baby never tore up a pile of unattended mail or shit on my neighbor's lawn. And I'm sure your dog didn't learn the lyrics to Grateful Dead songs at two years-old or make the Dean's List for eight consecutive college semesters.
I know it's hard to believe, but, your dog is just a dog to the rest of the world.