In January of 2020 I first wrote about Emma’s attacks on dogs of the Upper West Side.
In the time since, Emma has attacked other dogs, chasing one out of the park and across Central Park West. And again, Emma’s owner did nothing to stop her. Many participating in dog play groups have requested Emma not be allowed to assault their dogs. Because Emma’s owner refused to control her dog, a number of owners began to avoid these groups.
Pax’e and I have tried to avoid Emma’s aggression:
By altering our walking schedule
By going to different areas of Central Park and as a result we have missed seeing our friends in our usual locations
If I’ve seen Emma in the park, we have quickly turned and headed in the opposite direction
I choose high or open ground to let Pax’e play so I can see if Emma is coming – but…
Even with all these avoidance strategies in place, last week as Pax’e and I were getting ready for a ball toss west of the tennis courts at Ninety Sixth Street, I heard a growl coming at us from out of nowhere then saw Emma trying to grab Pax’e’s back end.
I had not seen Emma coming before she was biting Pax’e.
Emma was relentless. All I could do was keep twirling between Emma and Pax’e as Emma continued with multiple aggressive charges.
Emma finally backed down from me and my yelling at her with straight-on direct eye contact (not an advisable thing to do with an aggressing dog but there was nothing else).
Emma’s owner did not call Emma off of Pax’e and me. She did not try to intervene. She simply continued along the path without her dog.
Many of you don’t know that I walk with a cane and have had a number of falls this winter. Attacks like this not only put Pax’e at risk, but me as well.
Emma’s attacks put dogs and people at risk of physical harm and a kind of Dog-walking stress disorder where dog-walkers cannot have a peaceful walk in the park because they are in a heightened state of stress and arousal hoping they don’t run into Emma.
New York City dogs and their handlers have rights to be safe. They should be able to walk through parks without the threat of an unleashed aggressive dog attacking them because the dog’s handler does not care. No dog walker should leave their apartment wondering if the off-leash bully of the neighborhood is going to attack them.
More of us need to say something to Emma’s Cruell de Vil-ian mistress or Emma will continue to prevent those of us who have been attacked by Emma from having a simple peaceful walk in the park – or worse.
Dog walk in Central Park juxtapositions the mundane and the macabre.
It is one thing to hear the news and another to see it when taking the dog for a walk in Central Park.
My morning walk with Pax’e usually takes us from Central Park West at Ninety Seventh Street across the park to Ninety Seventh Street and Fifth Avenue.
It didn’t come as a surprise that Mt. Sinai was setting up hospital tents in the park just north of Ninety Seventh Street at Fifth Avenue. But like anything we think we are prepared for, sometimes when we actually see it, we realize we are not.
In human history, crises like this one are so often outlined by the juxtaposition of the mundane and the macabre.
Pax’s poses for her picture while the hospital tents go up behind her.
You could almost miss them as you look at the cute dog in the foreground.