We've been on the road for the past week. We stayed the first night along Highway 84 near Rufus. The next two nights were at a little "Passport" campground near Ridgefield Washington called "Big Fir Campground." Then the past two nights were spent at Cape Disappointment State Park. I'll talk about each of these later as I have time to edit my photo's from them and do a good job of describing my impressions.
What I want to talk about here has to do with dogs and choices.
At Cape Disappointment there was a fairly large group of people camping together just a couple of sites away from us. They had five or six tents in their site and on the first night the kids played and everyone was smiling and exited to see one another. One of their group had brought along is two dogs though. Both large Pit Bulls. These dogs had begun to act up as we were moving our rig into our site but the owner was quick to quiet them. As time went on it became apparent that this dog owner had to be on his toes with these dogs as he constantly had to watch them and keep them under control. They were tied though so were not loose and running about on their own. Everything went smoothly for them and us the first day and we went about our business with out incident. We visited friends who were hosting in the park then came home late and went to bed. It had begun to rain anyway so no point in staying out and getting wet.
Next morning as everyone was getting up and preparing coffee and breakfast we suddenly noticed running and excited activity in the campsite with all the tents. One woman ran carrying a small boy to a car and it immediately left for help. Others were running about as well and some were using cell phones to talk to people someplace. That was amazing to us since our phones didn't even pick up a signal at our location. At first I thought the boy had fallen in the fire or had otherwise gotten a bad burn. Almost immediately a park ranger arrived with his lights flashing. he began talking to people from the campsite and then the owner of the dogs arrived as well. He had been off somewhere. That's when we heard what had happened. One of the dogs had bitten the boy, a nine year old, in the face. From above his ear to his throat.
Suddenly what was to have been a wonderful weekend with friends now turned into a very tragic one. One in which everyone there will be scarred for life. All because somebody had to bring animals he knew he had to watch closely. What will happen to the dogs now? I don't know, they are known to be unpredictable, but until they attack someone, virtually every owner I know will say that his dogs are safe. How many times a week do we hear about someone being attacked by these dogs? Why do people insist on keeping and having them, especially people who are not prepared and who do not know how to handle them? A nine year old boy will carry those scars for life and what about his emotional side? I hope the dogs owner has had his macho attitude sufficiently rebuffed.
Later, as the dogs owner was letting them relieve themselves on the posts at the water faucet that everyone uses for fresh water, I could see the pain in his face. He knew he had screwed up bad, yet he still protected his dogs. Shortly thereafter he pulled his tent and left, with this dogs. I feel sorry for him and his dogs. But not as sorry for him as for the little boy and his family and friends. All because of one mans choice to bring those dogs to a camp with children present.