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 ran.

I grabbed Foxy and 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.



  1. Val on December 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    This makes me so happy. I love you. :D

  2. Lan | morestomach on December 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    not only did you save yourself from a ticket but you kept the guy from ticketing your friends at the park. good job. you’re such a rebel.

  3. Susan Morales on December 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Tales from the wild side. You are my hero. :)

  4. Muggsers on December 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    HAHAHAHA!!! I love that story so much!

  5. Peg Achterman on December 10, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Fabulous – but now you’re probably “wanted” :/
    Did you get a good look at him? Get the plate number? Will you be looking over your shoulder all the time? Ha — you fought the law and this time it didn’t win!

  6. Bree Jeffries on December 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    SO awesome! You rebel, you!!

  7. Greta on December 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    That is hilarious!

  8. Miranda on December 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    So awesome! Next time you go to the park, you might need to go in disguise. :)

  9. The Zadge on December 10, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    That’s my girl! And I need to give you one of my complimentary Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards!

  10. Michael on December 10, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    You are SO awesome! Love this!

  11. mom on December 10, 2013 at 7:18 PM He will hunt you down for the rest of your life….you will NEVER be free. Parks and Rec cops are like that, I hear.

  12. jodie on December 10, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    and this is what makes you a badass.

  13. Michael on December 11, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Am I the only one who things “Foxy Brains” is a great gangster name? Also, if you need a safe house, call me. My people been dodgin’ the law for generations (child of the Southern Appalachians).

  14. Allison on December 11, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I will be laughing about your Mom’s comment for a long, long time!!

  15. mrs. chesney on December 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    5-1-5-0 somebody call the po po!!
    LOL – love this.

  16. Perry on December 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Annie and Foxy – the reign of terror begins!

    This made me smile big time – loved it. Bad news is, your park will be surrounded by city ticketers for a while, I’m betting. You’re a wanted woman, after all!

  17. hootenannie » Blog Archive » Trollhaugen on December 16, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    […] Unleashed […]

  18. […] Even in the dark by myself, I feel safe in the park. It’s the hub of the neighborhood, home to big family barbecues and outdoor movie nights and workout boot camps, and late at night is the only time I feel safe letting her run (because remember?). […]

Leave a Comment