|Downtown Raleigh (courtesy Google Earth)|
The types of people we saw in the park depended on the time of day I walked the dogs. There were almost always homeless people there, not that many though. The other park downtown had quite a bit more homeless people because there were a few homeless shelters nearby. Once in a while, a homeless person would sleep on a park bench. The benches were comfortable for seating but not laying down. A few times, I would see someone sleeping in the bushes at the corner of the park. The cops did not allow anyone to sleep in the park and would arrest those that did for vagrancy. I saw a ranking by a homeless advocacy group a few years ago. The list ranked Raleigh in the “Top 10” as one of the “meanest cities” to the homeless. Rarely did the homeless want to pet the babies. Some were even scared of them.
In the daytime, we would see workers passing through the park. A parking lot was beside our building, even our own condo used to be a parking lot. There was some resentment by these workers against the condo occupants because we took their parking places resulting in their having to walk further to their jobs. The workers were nicer to the babies. They would smile at them and occasionally pet them. The babies would casually sniff them. If the person had just eaten or had a pet at home, the babies would be more interested in this person.
Once in a while, we’d see another pet owner walking his/her dog in the park. The personalities ranged from aloof and snotty to warm and friendly. There was one family who owned a lab that attacked Abby one evening. They didn’t leash her. The dog, Chelsea (a snotty name if there ever was one), marched down the hall straight to my baby girl and attacked her. The owner didn’t apologize but at least she made an effort to get her dog away. I couldn’t stand that family. They were toolbags to say the least. When John Kerry gave his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention, they had a party in their condo including balloons and ribbons on their balcony. It kind of reminds me of being cut-off by some asshole on the highway and to make matters worse, they have a bumper sticker of a candidate you can’t stand. It makes you want to smack the shit out of them. I did have nicknames for that couple: Pout Face and Pussy Whipped. In case it’s not obvious, I didn’t like them.
A favorite of mine was a bull dog named Zoey. She was such a sweetheart. Her owner, Susan, was a friendly person who lived part-time in Raleigh and in Florida. Surprisingly, Andy did not hate Zoey. Andy had issues with strange dogs. I tried to keep other dogs away from Andy since they scared him. But Andy did not fear or hate her. He was strangely fascinated by her. Zoey would snort when she breathed making her that much cuter. Andy would look at her with a perplexed look on his face.
I mentioned earlier that our walks around the circle were counterclockwise. After a couple of trips in the park, the babies knew which way to go. I didn’t have to guide them with gentle-tugging on the leash. If they needed to go right, they went right. If they needed to go left, they went left. They knew when and where to enter and exit the park. They were so cute taking the route they were supposed to take. Labs like structure and routines.