At least once–if not several times–a week, I can still hear my father saying to me, “Kimberly, common sense is a gift.” It was one of his most common sayings growing up. When I was young, I didn’t understand what common sense was and asked him for an explanation. “Common sense is knowing when to come in from the rain,” he replied. I thought about his definition often. As a little girl, I liked being in the rain on warm summer days wearing wellies–or better yet, being barefoot–and stomping in mud puddles. Secretly I wondered whether I had common sense.
As I grew-up, I learned about common sense and witnessed the actions of those who didn’t have it. Some examples were simple and harmless, such as not locking the doors of one’s house before leaving. Other examples can be life threatening. Say, for example, leaving a loaded firearm on a nightstand. Common sense is supposed to be common, but many believe it is becoming rare in our society. Perhaps its decline is a result of a generation of helicopter parents hovering over children or maybe it’s because we are engaging less with one another and more with tablets, smartphones and computers. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter.
The other weekend, as my husband and I were running errands, we pulled out of a shopping center parking lot, and observed a woman exiting PetSmart with a large Alaskan Malamute-like dog. The dog easily weighed over 100 pounds. And the dog was off-leash, trotting behind her. As we drove away, I kept my eyes on her and her dog. Waves of disbelief washed over me. Oddly, no anger followed, only annoyance.
The woman, who used to be our neighbor, has two Alaskan Malamute-type dogs. On the morning my water broke, before leaving for the hospital, my husband took Blue on a walk. It was early, before 6 a.m., and quiet. Her two dogs were off-leash in the neighborhood and attacked Blue, who was on leash. Combined, her dogs outweigh Blue by at least 130 pounds. They took turns attacking him. She was unable to control her dogs and did nothing to stop them. My husband defended Blue, but not before damage was done.
Upon return home, Blue was shaking, bleeding and seeking a corner in which to hide; my husband was frantic. We called the Veterinary Specialty Hospital, loaded Blue in the truck, loaded our bags in the truck, and left. He had to have surgery to reattach a part of his paw. A traumatic morning for everyone.
I won’t bore readers with the minutiae of the remainder of the story. Suffice it to say that when we spoke with the woman about paying for damages she said, “What am I supposed to do with [the dogs]? No one is ever there that early; they are always off leash then.” She reimbursed us for a portion of the bill, $2,000, and said she would pay us the rest, but never did. Go figure.
I would have thought she would have learned from such an expensive experience. She could have learned that dogs are unpredictable. That leash laws protect all dogs. That she is unable to control her large dogs. That her dogs have a propensity to attack. Etc. But it’s evident she didn’t.
Common sense is a gift, indeed.