Lulu’s previous owner had left her with just a little hair on her square bully head, so she wore her Christmas outfit for our walk (Rosebud Photo w/Christmas Outfit).
A grey, blistery morning was pierced by the shrill screams of children playing. Lulu danced in anticipation. This much noise and energy required her immediate attention. I looked down, and my smile met her big goofy grin as we jogged down the sidewalk.
Reaching the field, Lulu was surrounded by admiring parents. Christmas garb camouflaged her appearance.
“Her outfit is just adorable,” said one woman.
“She is beautiful,” said another.
“Look at the muscles on her,” a man exclaimed as he bent to rub her soft, white head.
Then came the inevitable question. I looked down to see Lu sprawled on her back, bicycling all four legs, and wiggling with delight. Her bright, brown eyes were squinted with pleasure as multiple sets of hands rubbed and scratched her pink belly.
“What kind of dog is she?” asked one of the parents.
“She is a Stafford shire Terrier,” I said.
There was a pause. One of the fathers quit petting her and stood up.
“Isn’t that a pit bull?” he said looking over at me. I saw the other parents look my way.
“Yes, the breed is often grouped into that classification.”
Now there were only two people petting the little dog.
I watched as several parents looked at Lu, and then checked to see where their children were playing.
One woman continued to pet Lulu through what was now an awkward silence. She looked at me, smiled, and turned towards the children on the field, calling two names. A small girl, and a boy of about 10 ran over to their mom. They had huge grins on their faces as they reached Lulu. Their mom held up her hand, indicating they should stop, and told them to sit in front of Lu.
Both children sat, and Lulu stood to greet them. She slowly approached, then suddenly collapsed and rolled over into their laps, wiggling and grinning. The little girl squealed in delight, and the boy worked to retain his composure as he also started rubbing her head and body.
“We have one at home,” the woman said to me. He is wonderful with the kids.
Other children had now seen Lulu, and the game was grinding to a halt as the little ones ran towards her. Doubt flashed across the gathered parents faces as they stopped their children from approaching.
“She is ok?” one woman said to the original mother, still on the ground by Lulu with her children.
“She is fine,” the original woman said to her. She took the hand of the other woman’s son, and showed him how to slowly hold it out so Lulu could smell it.
Other parents watched, holding their kids close or sending them back to the field. The original woman stood, and shooed her kids back to the soccer game.
“She is a good dog,” she said.
“Thank you,” I replied, smiling.
Over the next 8 weeks we would often pass this field on Saturday mornings. I guess that was the length of their soccer season. By the end of the season, we were greeted by most every family and many of the children, on our Saturday morning walks. There was no lack of hugs and rubs – for Lulu at least. Lulu had become just another spectator – a normal part of their Saturday morning routine.