I live a block from a city park where Foxy has made a lot of dog friends. There’s a huge grassy area in the middle, and a lot of dog owners have taken to letting their pups off leash to run like banshees. The Fox loves it, and there’s no better way to tire her out than to have her chase dogs 5 times her size.
The only catch: it’s illegal. I’d been warned by the other dog owners that city officials will ticket if they catch you with your dog off leash; the first time is $80, the second is $150, the third is $300, and most everyone I’ve met at the park has been ticketed at least once.
So yes, I’ve been warned. But I’m Annie Parsons and live on the edge of danger.
Today, on this beautifully bright morning, I bundled up and walked Foxy to the park. The sun was gleaming off the snow, and she couldn’t wait to chase the ball I’d brought. I did a quick spin-around and saw that the perimeter of the park was clear of any city trucks, then unleashed her to run like the unrefined mongrel she is. A few other people showed up, and we chatted as our dogs romped.
All of a sudden, one of the women hissed, “TICKETER.” And sure enough, walking toward us was a man, notepad in hand, his white Parks & Rec truck at the curb.
So I did what any self-respecting person would do. I grabbed Foxy and ran.
I ran full speed in the other direction.
One glance over my shoulder, and I saw the city man about-face and head for his truck. He was going to circle the block and head me off at the corner – because is this girl seriously running?
But the thought of an $80 ticket was sickening, so I picked up speed, blessing the tread on my Sorels as I beat across the ice.
I made it to the edge of the park, and turned to see the truck about a half block back on the other side. The light was red, but we crossed the street anyway. I cut through a neighbor’s yard and into the alley behind my house, crouching behind the fence just in time to see the truck pass us by. Just like the movies.
And when I finally made it through my front door and locked it behind me, I closed the curtains, put my hands on either side of Foxy’s little furry face, and collapsed into a pile of giggles.