29 November 2015

Of Dogs and Driveways

I had a weird encounter one day last week, and I've been meaning to write about it. I was out with the dog before starting my work day, and a neighbor was having a new asphalt driveway installed. Since the dog tends to be nosy about people, she wanted to check out the workers, and we were heading in that direction anyway.

A guy who appeared to be in charge was standing by his car, talking on the phone. As we approached he finished, saw us, and asked, "Whippet or greyhound?" I answered greyhound, he looked over the dog for a moment or two, then said, "Your dog's in pain, it's time to put her to sleep."

Now, I have mentioned before that our dog is 14, and she has been dealing with some pain from arthritis, mainly in in her hind legs. We give her medication for it twice a day, and we pay very careful attention to her movement and behavior. We are always on the watch for any signs that she is in greater discomfort, or that her overall condition might be worsening. And I suppose it's possible this guy had some experience working with racing dogs. But however well-intentioned he may have been, it's highly presumptuous to say such a thing to a stranger. So I responded only by saying, "It's not time yet. We'll know when it is."

Then, as if things weren't weird enough already, he moved around the corner, toward where a few other men were finishing removing dirt from the driveway area before beginning the asphalt pour, gestured toward the waiting truck, and said, "You want some of this? We're definitely gonna have some left over." I didn't know how to respond, so I remained silent, and he kept going: "Where do you live? I'll just bring the truck around when we're finished."

For a moment I considered accepting his offer. Our driveway has parallel depressions from the car driving over it repeatedly, and I thought it might be nice to get those filled in. But I didn't want to get involved in dealing with asphalt without talking to our landlord, and I also did not know if it would be a bad idea to cover our older driveway surface with new asphalt, or the ramifications of covering only a small portion of the surface. So I thanked him for the offer and said I had to get back inside, which was true.

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