Dedicated to the young woman at the park, whose Rottweiler was nearly as large as her and was tethered to her by a vicious choke chain. Also dedicated to the large and well-meaning woman who sat on a nearby blanket. And lastly, to those sweet, misunderstood, gentle giants: the Rottweilers.
Young woman (speaking to my daughter, A): You can pet the dog if you would like to. He's very nice and he loves children.
(My daughter stands as far away from the dog as her short little arms will allow, stretches out her hand and brushes her fingertips against the dog's haunches.)
Blanket woman: It's a shame that people train Rottweilers to be guard dogs. They can be such sweet, nice dogs.
Young woman: I know. Those people give Rottweilers a bad reputation.
Blanket woman: Training those dogs to attack people, it's just too bad. They seem so sweet and loving.
Young woman: And it's not like they even need training. Our dog tries to kill the mailman every time he delivers the mail. They are natural protectors.
(A small, black dog wanders over to meet the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler goes for the little dog, intending--so far as I can tell--to eviscerate it and feast upon its entrails.)
Young woman (Yanking with all her strength on the choker): NO! DOWN! DOWN NOW!