Somewhere in Adelaide, there is a woman who is telling a story something along these lines:

“So, I’m just sitting on the bench at the edge of the large park where dogs are allowed off their leads at that time of day, enjoying one of the lovely summer evenings we have in Adelaide, and letting my large-ish dog leave the park to run across the road – well, I did call at him three, or perhaps even four times, and he didn’t respond to my calls, but it was all right, my young lad followed the dog across the road and he didn’t stop to look for cars either – to greet another younger dog of more or less the same breeding.

This little dog started going beserk. Jumping and sniffing and twisting itself around its owner’s legs. You wouldn’t believe how scared that little dog was. Hmm? What’s that? Am I sure it was scared and not just being a puppy and wanting to play? Oh, yes, I’m quite sure of that, I’m an Expert on Dogs I’ve Never even Seen Before.

So anyway, I just happened to mention to the owner of the dog that even at six months her dog should not be scared of other dogs. After all, my own is only two years old which is more or less the same as six months, and he has never been scared of other dogs. So I suggested to her that perhaps she should socialise the dog a bit more. What’s that? How do I know whether she takes the dog to obedience classes, or whether the dog gets together with the next-door dogs quite including spending the night there, or whether it goes for a walk to a different dog park where it regularly meets with other dogs? Oh. I can just tell. Like I say, I’m an Expert on Dogs I’ve Never even Seen Before. 

Of course, my dog was bouncing around by now too, only because it was being led on by this other dog. And in other circumstances, it would have responded immediately to my commands.

What’s that? Yes, yes, I spoke to this woman in much the same gentle, caring voice I would use to suggest to a new mother that her baby probably should be wearing socks and should most definitely be weaned by now…well, after all, it takes a village to raise a child…and a dog as it turns out.

Well. I can’t tell you. This woman just exploded. It was a polite explosion, but an explosion nonetheless. ‘Do you know what?’ this woman said, and it was at this point I noticed that her shorts are probably a bit tighter than they were when she bought them fifteen years ago. ‘I’m really quite exhausted at the moment, and I’m just out for a walk with my dog trying to clear my head, and I really don’t need lectures from complete strangers.’

I looked somewhat bemused, I’m sure. She went on, obviously embarrassed at this completely unprovoked outburst as I offered my own dog another Burger Ring.

‘I’m sorry if I sound rude, but it’s just, you know, I’m just someone trying to do the right thing…but you go out with your baby and it should be wearing a hat, you go out with your dog and you should be socialising it’.

At this point, my young lad, thankfully oblivious to the adult tensions said ‘what’s your dog’s name?’ and we were able to return to the veneer of civility which holds our society together.”

The End. Apart from five minutes later when my dog did a poo and I didn’t have a bag with me, and the man walking past gave me one in a very grumpy way. And then, just around the corner, there’s this boxer dog (I’m scared of boxers, because I got chased by one once) and the gate is never closed, and it followed us to the end of the street. So obviously I’ll be taking a different route for my walk this evening. That’s The End.