Have you ever taken the law into your own hands? When I got my first dog, Charlie (fluffy 15 pounder), about 7 years ago, I thought all dogs were nice. I was walking in the park with him and another lady and her dog (medium Shepard type) were up ahead of us. Her dog ran up to Charlie, picked him up in his mouth and gave him one of those shakes animals use to break their dinner’s neck. The woman started hitting her dog and he dropped Charlie. Then the woman claimed, “my dog has NEVER done this before.” Without a word to her, I scooped Charlie up and took him straight to the vet. Luckily, Charlie was not severely injured! He had a few bite marks that missed his lungs and was very sore from the shaking. Needless to say I was traumatized and felt so guilty.
The next day I reviewed what had happened. We were both in the wrong: even though there wasn’t another soul at the park, it was a leashed area and both our dogs were off-leash. I felt that it was ethical that we split the veternarian bill and start keeping our dogs on leashes NO MATTER WHAT from now on. In the following days at the park, I asked around to see if anyone knew the dog and owner I was looking for. Many people did know who they were and stated that there had been other instances where that dog had attacked small dogs.
One park-goer gave me her address and I knocked on her door one day. She answered the door with her dog on a leash. I felt bad about stopping by unannounced and tried my best to let her know I was there only to request we share the bill. It was a matter of principal-the fee was small and I did not need the money. She was very upset with me and afraid that I was there to have her dog taken away. I assured her that no one would take her dog away as long as the dog was leashed and did not attack others (same goes for me). I left her with a copy of the bill and my address so that she would have security in knowing where I too lived. A day later she dropped off a check for me for the full amount. I told her the full amount wasn’t necessary but after her insistance I accepted (more because I wanted it to be over and waiting for her to write another check was more awkwardness than I wanted to handle at the moment).
I felt really good about the communication and feeling heard. I saw the woman and her dog at the park for years after that and it was nice to have closure so we could both continue to enjoy the park.
Recently, I read about a guy here in Seattle who decided to take the law into his own hands (in another way) in the case of a stolen bike. Interesting story. You can check it out here.
Have you ever sought justice for something you believed in? Was it difficult? Why?
(photo by CBS television, via Wikimedia Commons)