The Playground Stampede

Once, a few years ago, our family went camping with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. They had just gotten their dog, a blond labradoodle puppy named Mac. He was small but vicious, had disproportionately large paws, and was teething. We thought, for some reason, that it would be advisable to take him for a walk to the park. When we arrived at the park, however, Mac yanked the leash out of our hands and decided his time would be better spent ravaging the playground and terrorizing children. And by children, I mean us. He didn’t even run away like a normal dog; he just bounded back and forth, tongue lolling happily, spit flying, all teeth and fur. He was screwing with us, dancing out of our reach while we all lunged and tried to grab the leash. It was no good. He was like a machine.

“What are we supposed to do?” said Jase. My brother Alex and I shrugged. I think we felt secretly smug. Our dog may have eaten an entire pizza recently, but she had never before gone on a playground stampede.

So here’s what we did: Jase and his seven-year-old sister, Anna, stayed behind to continue trying to corner Mac. Alex and I sprinted back to the campsite to grab Mac’s cage. And when I say cage, I mean it was one of those monstrous cages that could have served as a dog house and often did, with his blankets and toys inside. We lugged the cage back to the park, and Mac immediately bolted for it. He loved his big cage. We barely had time to wrench the door open before he went crashing into it. We locked the door, exchanged triumphant high-fives, and then stood there staring at each other. There we were, half a mile away from the RV, with a caged dog. And so we did what we had to: we dragged the cage, with Mac inside. It took the full strength of four able-bodied kids. People were gawking. At one point Jase called to some guy, “What, this isn’t how you walk your dog?”

This is the best picture I have of him:



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