Well, I’ve meddled in the affairs of others again. One had an inauspicious beginning but turned out well; the more recent is still playing out.

I’ve started taking Elvis to a local park about every other morning, weather permitting. It’s not a dog park, but on weekdays of course the kids are in school, and on weekends we just go early(ier) and haven’t seen many folks yet. It’s only a 3-mile drive, and I can throw the ball quite far with the Chuck-it. The only drawback so far has been the stickers that Elvis keeps finding with his tender paws. I might have to buy him some booties — he’ll REALLY hate me then!

We slowly make our way around the various empty ball fields and pathways, throwing (me) and chasing (Elvis) the ball. Then we do some brief leash work as Elvis is not very good on a short leash yet.

Every time we visit, I see an rather raggedy old man who appears to live out of his vehicle. He has two dogs, and just putters about his old pickup truck with the dogs tied up alongside.

On the second visit, as we were leaving I screwed up my courage to talk to him and pulled up alongside. The conversation went something like this:

“Hello sir, I don’t mean to intrude, but I just wondered if there was anything I could do for you?”

“Do I look like I need help?” (with a scowl)

“I’m sorry, it looks like you live in your vehicle and might be in need of some assistance, yes.”

“Is that any business of yours?” (scowl deepens, angry posture)

“All right sir, I’m sorry to have bothered you, please have a nice day.” And I drove away.

This incident upset me only slightly — maybe I’m growing a thicker skin. Or maybe it was the three deep breaths and the water I chugged down immediately afterward.

I came home and told Shawn about my interaction, and he was proud of me for trying to help.

But wait — it gets better!

When we next visited the park, the old man left his vehicle and approached me tentatively.

“Excuse me, ma’am, that was you that talked to me the other day? I’m sorry that I was rude to you.” He introduced himself as Jim, we shook hands, and proceeded to chat about dogs and life for 10 minutes while I threw the ball for Elvis, who couldn’t care less who I was having a conversation with as long as the little pink ball kept sailing into the air over his head.

I didn’t ask about his circumstances, and he didn’t volunteer much. But my guess is we’ll have ample opportunity to trade stories as we will be living in the area for another two weeks and visiting the park.

I doubt that tonight’s episode will turn out as well.

The family two doors down from us has been here (Green Lakes RV Resort in San Antonio — more on that in the next post) since before we arrived. There’s a mother, a father, a tweenish girl, and two younger girls. And one poor little 10-pound dog who’s frequently left outside for hours in her crate in a wide range of temperatures. Sometimes with a sweater, sometimes with a blanket over the crate.

It’s against campground rules, and it’s cruel to the dog.

I haven’t made an inquiry/complaint with the managers because I don’t want to rock the boat. I also break the rules by taking Elvis to a far corner of the park, under the electric transmission towers, and playing fetch off-leash. It’s hard to cast the first stone in that circumstance. But Elvis and I aren’t bothering anyone or endangering his well-being.

Tonight, that little dog barked from her crate for 15 minutes while at least one family member watched TV inside. I finally called park management. Actually, I reached the after-hours answering service. Sherry was incensed when I told her the cause for my call and actually recommended that I call authorities on behalf of the dog. She was going to follow up by calling the resident and the on-site park manager.

The dog stopped barking shortly after my call, so hopefully it was taken inside. I guess we’ll see if my one phone call makes any difference in the life of that pet.

Historically, my meddling hasn’t turned out well for me. I might be 50:50 this week. Fingers crossed for another happy ending.