|Cody's Creations has leashes, collars, and harnesses with "I Need Space."|
The warmer weather has made it harder to avoid people, though. There are more people out and about and since we're still wary of walking on the street where Barley got attacked, we've got fewer options of roads to walk down to avoid crossing paths with someone else.
In April right before Easter, we were out walking and a family that we had seen around while walking before stopped us. The mother said, "I have a gift for that!" and pointed to Barley (English was not her first language, so it took me a minute to figure out that it was something for Barley. She jogged across the street, pointed at Barley again, and said "a gift" as she handed me an Easter goodie bag with a Zuke's Z-Bone and various other treats inside.
I was confused.
Even though I'd seen the family before, we'd never said more than "Hi. How are you?" to each other. The kids had never asked to pet Barley before.
At first, I was worried it was poisoned. I mean, who just hands a stranger a bag of dog goodies? But Barley really likes Z-Bones, so I was torn.
|Ok, if we're being honest, Barley really likes anything edible--and some things that are inedible.|
Then, I put on my sleuthing hat, channeled my inner Nancy Drew, and did a little digging.
As I've said elsewhere, my town celebrates EVERYTHING and is very similar to Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow (minus the hunky diner owner). A quick internet search revealed that the pet store in town had a dog Easter Egg hunt with prizes (and our goodie bag had a number on it) downtown, which was the same direction the family had been walking from and we crossed paths a little after the event ended.
I decided the treats were probably safe, especially since they were all individually wrapped within the goodie bag. I called my mom for a second opinion and she agreed.
Last night, we had another weird encounter. We walked down our street, which we do just about every evening, where there's a nice little park. A baseball game was going on, so we didn't walk around inside the park to avoid the kids, but we enjoyed watching part of the game while we walked by.
As we headed back in the direction of our house, I saw an older man, who looked a little bit rough, walking towards us. He said, "Ma'am, can I ask you a question?" Barley wasn't bother by him and my pepper spray (and my citronella Spray Shield) were easily accessible and there were a ton of people in the park for the ball game, so I stopped.
He was interested in Barley's tail and wanted to know if she was part husky.
|Soth understands the fascination with Barley's tail.|
|I also understand the fascination with it since I've taken lots of pictures of its shadow.|
|This tail attracts lots of attention.|
We chatted for a few minutes and Barley sat very nicely beside me. We've had this conversation many times with many people. (Once, a man on the trails at the arboretum said, "Well, that's a voluptuous tail" as we walked by--with my flat butt, I knew he wasn't talking about me.)
It became clear that this gentleman probably suffered from some sort of mental illness. Most of our conversation, which in addition to Barley's tail covered Joe Montana, 400 acres of tomato fields, and his trucker friend from high school, made very little sense, but I could tell that he was enjoying having someone to talk to, so I tried not to be in a hurry to walk away.
When we did part ways, Barley and I had only made it a little ways down the road when I noticed a truck coming up behind us and slowing down. I looked over and a man was holding a huge Milkbone out the window for us. I said, "Oh! Thank you!" and took it from him. He drove off without saying a word.
Why would someone hand me a Milkbone without saying a word. Even a "you're welcome" or "that's a nice dog" would have been less strange than a treat-and-run. I thought maybe he knew the old man and wanted to thank me for taking the time to chat with him, but then why wouldn't have he have said so? He also didn't have a dog in his truck--and even though I usually have some treats in my glove compartment, they aren't easily accessible for me to just roll down the window and hand one to someone with a dog. So, this Milkbone gave me the willies.
I stuck the bone in my pocket, but I figured that no amount of sleuthing I did would make me feel better about the Milkbone, so as soon as we got back to our parking lot, I tossed it in the dumpster.
Am I overreacting and being an overprotective owner? I felt guilty tossing the treat in the dumpster, but I paid careful attention to the Stranger Danger videos in school and I wouldn't eat an unwrapped snack a stranger handed to me, so I certainly am not letting my dog eat one.
|Barley says, "Fine. Don't let me have the treat. I'll steal Soth's owl toy instead."|