Throwdown at the Gym

I tend to avoid confrontation, especially with strangers. Sure, I can talk a good game when telling you a story about the latest stupid incident in my life, but we both know the quotes I’m throwing out were said only in my head. In real life, I’m the one who just looks at idiots and, at most, delivers an eyeroll. Let’s call it six of being wimpy and a half dozen of wanting to take the high road.

With the noted exception of this Labor Day at my gym.

I parked next to a Toyota Corolla with the passenger windows cracked or rolled down halfway. Inside on the front seat was a dog, his paws up on the door to see who had just pulled in next to him.

I don’t understand people who leave their dogs in cars while they run into a store. I don’t care how long you’re going to be; chances are good that you didn’t need to bring your dog on this trip. If your dog can’t be left at home because he’ll have an accident, what makes you think that won’t happen when he’s left in your car? If you just picked up your dog from the vet or groomer, guess what? You could and should run your other errands before getting the dog.

Don’t tell me how your dog doesn’t mind. I’ve seen your dog, and he’s frantic trying to protect the car from the other cars and drivers around him and trying to figure out where you’ve gone. The car is not home and he doesn’t understand. If it’s an emergency, I get it; just don’t make it a habit.

Seeing a dog in a car at the gym irked me. Most people work out for about 30 minutes. Add in any locker room time and you’re looking at 45 minutes or more.

I toyed with the idea of saying something at the front desk but decided against it. See sentence one of this post.

That is until I saw the second dog in the backseat. This dog was wearing one of those retractable leashes, which was now wound tightly around one of his legs. He was gnawing at part of it to free himself.

I asked the front desk to page the driver of the grey sedan with the plate number I had memorized. No one moved. The gym guy and I headed back to the car to double check the plate and get the make and model. By now front-seat dog was in the back seat, barking and snarling when we came near the window. Any idea of freeing the dog myself left my head. Tangled-up dog was now whining in pain and looked even more tangled.

A second page went out. One of the trainers came up to the desk and, as we talked about the dogs, she said she knew who the owner was and figured he had purposefully tied the dog’s leash that way. A slow burn started in my heart.

She thought the dog owner was a guy she called “Snorkel and Mask Guy” for his propensity to wear said equipment while doing laps. He was probably in the showers since she had seen him exit the pool a little while ago.

Sure enough, in about a minute, SMG rambles by the desk on his way out. Gym guy asks him three times (!) if he drives a Toyota Corolla. When SMG finally acknowledges the questions, it’s to ask if someone put his hand through the window again.

I can only assume others have been nipped after reaching to untangle a dog or make sure the dogs are okay.

I explained, in a very calm manner, that I had him paged because I was worried about the one dog. In my head, I was giving this guy the benefit of not wanting his dog to be in pain. Me=stupid.

He stops at the desk and rearranges his gym bag, a disgusted look growing on his face. I end my calm explanation with a snarky, “But don’t be in any rush to go help your dog.”

SMG proceeds to tell me that people have called the SPCA on him already several times and then looks at the ingredients of his sports drink before checking his cell phone.

“Shocking that people would do that,” I say.

He starts to say something else, but I’ve had it. I’ve delayed my workout by about 10 minutes waiting for this idiot to respond to the page and he’s almost — no, he is proud of what’s going in his car.

I start to head to the pool, stop, look him in the eyes and loudly say, “Ass!”

Proud moment for me? Not really, but if an animal or a person is in pain and I can do something about it, I should. If the owner of the animal can do something, he definitely should. I don’t want to see his dogs in a car again, but if I do, I’m going to be one of those people calling the SPCA and maybe the police. And maybe taking photos of the dogs, the car and the plates and posting them widely.

How would you have handled the situation? Would you have choice words for the dog owner? Would you have risked getting bit to enter someone else’s car? Or would you have not given it a second thought?

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3 thoughts on “Throwdown at the Gym

  1. Good for you! I wouldn’t have entered his car, but I hope I would have said something. Down here in the 100 degree heat, I can see breaking a window to keep a dog from dying of the heat, but fortunately I haven’t ever had to take any drastic measures like that myself.

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