I was recently giving a presentation to colleagues, during which I noted that one of my dogs once stole a piece of fried chicken from a sleeping homeless man.
At the time, we had a long talk with him about homelessness and poverty, and how many people are a single paycheck or medical emergency away from sleeping on a park bench and having their fried chicken stolen by a dog who eats food made of humanely-raised, Montessori-educated lambs twice a day. He spent several seconds reflecting on what he’d done before wandering off to urinate on a prize-winning rose bush.
It occurs to me now that there are no existing etiquette guidelines to shape the dog owner’s response in this situation, so I thought I would start a conversation. This is a sincere effort to assist others, and not to change my Google Search traffic from “Iceberg Hunters” to “dog steals hobo chicken.”
Here are some possible responses we did not employ:
- Return the partially-eaten, bedrooled-upon chicken to the bag, walk away, and pretend nothing happened.
- Leave five bucks in his jacket pocket, walk away, and pretend nothing happened.
- Buy some new fried chicken, put it in the bag, walk away, and pretend nothing happened.
Other people might opt to:
- Never return to that park ever again.
- Burn the park to the ground, erasing all evidence of canine culpability.
It was 1AM and there was nowhere to obtain new fried chicken, so in the end I’m sad to report we went with the basic “walk away, and pretend nothing happened,” which is a depressingly par for the course American reaction to strange unpleasantness. If Jesus hates me and this happens to me again one day, I’d leave the person some money. I’ll leave a fiver in the pocket of the next sleeping homeless person I see, to erase my karmic debt.
I post this not to tell you what you should do in this situation, but simply as an illustration of a powerful lesson we should never, ever forget: dogs are assholes, and will embarrass you at every opportunity.
Thank you and good night.