After taking my nephew kite flying on Sunday - he has been asking to go again, every day since. So this afternoon, we went to a local park. We set up in one area of the park, near a playground, and while the kids ran off to play on the slide and jungle gym, I unloaded Henry from his stroller and let him crawl around on the ground beneath the shade of a few trees.
The kite flying conditions weren't ideal and eventually several more people descended upon the playground. When I was finding it more and more difficult to keep track of the children, I suggested to my father and sister that we move our group to another area of the park - where there weren't as many people - or trees - and maybe we could have better success getting the kites in the air.
I loaded Henry back in to his stroller, gathered our belongings and summoned for the kids to follow. As we were walking across the playground, out of the corner of my eye, I saw two white dogs come barreling towards us.
Although our kids love dogs, when they saw the dogs today, they were afraid and immediately started crying. I looked to see where the owners were and I could see a woman come chasing after the dogs with a leash. It was clear that the dogs had been walking in an area beneath the park, when they were taken off leash to do their business in the bushes. The dogs had metal spike choke chain collars and the leash that she was holding was comprised of metal links that were at least 2-inches in diameter. She had her iPod earphones in and was trying to convince me that her dogs, that I recognized as pit bulls, were gentle.
The first instinct was to put myself between the dogs and the children, but it was difficult because the dogs were jumping all over my kids.
My sister grabbed Elizabeth. I abandoned Henry in his stroller and grabbed Carolyn. My nephew was standing behind us with my father, who is very unsteady on his feet, and I watched in horror when one of the dogs went after William - who was trying to run away - and knocked him down. I dropped a crying Carolyn, even though there was another dog still on the loose, and ran over to William. The dog had it's paws on his back and it's jaws around his neck. Any fears that I had that the dog would turn on me, immediately vanished when I saw the dog on my son.
I've never kicked anything so hard in my entire life as I kicked the sugar honey iced tea out of that dog, today. REPEATEDLY.
I scooped William up, and ran over to the stroller where one of the dogs was sniffing around Henry's feet and trying to jump up on the foot rest. The woman owner was joined by a man and both were chasing after the dogs, who were now running all over the playground equipment. The owner's absolutely could not get the dogs back under control. I was yelling that they had to get their dogs back on leash - I was yelling JUMP ON THEM - and the owner's were yelling back at me that their dogs HAD been on leash.
Yeah, well ... they're NOT now!!
I don't remember what exactly I said, but there was a lot of profanity. My nephew later pointed out that he was amazed to hear me yell the f-word and he lost count after I screamed it five times. (So much for word substitution.) Shockingly, the owners were defensive. Never once did they apologize. The guy was yelling at me that his dogs had been on leash. He was asking if I wanted a piece of him and throwing his hands up in the air. When he finally got the dogs back on leash and was walking off the playground, he was yelling "What are you gonna do, huh? What are you gonna do?!"
Clearly, it wasn't macho enough that he owns two dogs that are notorious for their aggression that he parades around with spiked collars. He needs to challenge the mother of four young children - who his dogs were chasing after - to a fight. Here's an idiot that cannot control his animals and he takes them to a park where there are small children playing.
MY SMALL CHILDREN.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I've ever been so angry. Seven hours later, I am still shaking at what could have happened. But I am thankful that in the midst of this, I had the sense to call 911 and file a police report. If and when the owners are found, I will press charges.
I'm thankful that moments after this ordeal happened, I was approached by a man that told me he saw the whole thing - heard the guy yelling at me - and said if the guy came after me, he was ready to step in and knock the guy out. Although I really wouldn't have wanted to get in to a fight with the idiot on the playground, my sister and I both agree that very easily, we could have dropped him like a box of Trader Joe's peanut butter cups ... even without the assistance of the good samaritan.
Lesson learned: A mother's adrenalin is a powerful thing.
Then again, so is mace, which I'm considering adding to my diaper bag.
But mostly, I am so incredibly thankful that although William has marks on his neck and face, he is safe. I know what could have easily happened today. This link and this link and this link and this link and this link and this link are all frightening reminders. One minute we are having fun and the next minute we are fending off two pit bulls.
My little boy is safe.