This post is called Dumb Dog Owners/Bird Harassers, or DDO/BH for short.
Since rain has been scarce, the upside is that shorebird habitat is blooming everywhere. Marbled godwits have been sighted, little blue and tricolored herons, dowitchers, Western sandpipers....Ohio is hopping with shorebird migration.
I wasn't interested in driving hours to see the marbled godwit, but Armleder Park (about 20 minutes away) has a river.
I was hoping to see a nicely shrunken river and a nicely swollen shore.
Lorelei and I got that, but the birds were a bit lacking.
The river was nice and shallow. Lorelei occupied herself by looking for toads and fish, while I tried to slowly make my way towards a kingfisher perched downriver.
It was a precious moment...a kingfisher, just sitting there.
I was walking quietly along the shore, getting closer and closer....
The kingfisher bursting from its perch and a huge splash behind me made me jump about 3 feet out of my skin. Did Lorelei fall into the river?????
Nope. A big goofy yellow lab was in the water, fetching a ball.
CRAP. Does anyone read freakin' signs?????
I have had run-ins with lawless dog owners at Armleder before. And I don't just let it go.
I watched with my jaw dropped as this TWIT strolled along, letting her dog get closer and closer to a great blue heron upstream. Now, this great blue heron had watched Lorelei and me slide down the river bank and was not concerned with us.
Ms. TWIT strolled closer and closer... Look at that body language. Unconcerned. She knew the heron was there. She knew her dog was off-leash. But she didn't care.
And when the heron couldn't handle it anymore:
Off it went, with the dog on it's heels.
My hands clenched and I started muttering to myself (quietly, since Lorelei was there). And Lorelei was so precious...worried about the bird. (Mommy? That lady let her dog scare off the great blue heron!)
I saw the TWIT double back and I called to Lorelei to come on. We were going to meet up with this dum-dum on the trail.
As we topped the bank, we saw the dog, and as it saw us, started bounding toward us in that way that only Labs can. He was wet and muddy, and proceeded to jump all over me and smear said wetness and mud all over me. I pushed him off and blocked him from knocking Lorelei down.
The TWIT owner came along and I said in icy tones, "Do you know that you are supposed to have your dog leashed at all times in this park?"
She grimaced and said, "Oh! I am SO sorry! SO sorry!"
Continuing to push the messy dog away from Lorelei, I said, "You know, I don't care about a little mud. I do care that your dog spooked that heron."
And I let my hand fall to my camera and let the camera swing a bit.
(Unspoken in my head, "And I will humiliate you and your irresponsibility on my BLOG.")
The dog got tired of being pushed away and bounded off into the woods, to go jump on something that wouldn't put up as much of a fight.
I sighed, took Lorelei's hand and continued on. I could hear the woman yelling for her dog, and the dog giving that bark that they do when they aren't going to do anything you say.
A few minutes later, I saw the woman emerge from the woods, with her dog on a leash.
Now, if you maybe have known me for, well, any length of time, you are aware that I am a bit of a rule-breaker. But I would like to add that I have mellowed to the point that I don't have to break a rule just for the sake of hearing it snap anymore. And being a BONE-afied nature lover, I care a GREAT DEAL when rules pertain to nature and birds. So if you think I am being just a bit too mean, or a stickler, well tough. That's how I am.
Anyone think I was too in-your-face (yet another one of my charming traits)?