I loaded my dogs, Sophie and Kingston, into the car. We were heading to Parkridge Park, a nice dog park near my home. Kingston smiled as he looked out the window. Sophie rested her head on the back seat to get some cool air.
We arrived at the park. I got the dogs leashed around my left hand and held their water bowl and Tropicana Orange Juice water container in the other. It’s a good hike from the parking lot to the actual section dogs can run in. Kigston was whining with excitement, while Sophie was attentive to the birds and people as we approached the gate.
I unleashed them and opened the second gate and they took off running. Our yard is not dog friendly, so this is their time to release all that energy.
I came to the large evergreen tree and sat the water bowl down, and filled it with water. I sat down at the picnic table and watched the dogs play.
Suddenly, I heard strange noises near my left. I turned to see a young girl. She might have been 8 or 9. She was black, had her hair braided and wore a black shirt with a star on it.
“What’s your name?” I said to her, smiling. The girl did not reply. Instead, she continued to hum and sort of shout as she left the table. Her gait was unusual, she almost seemed to have difficulty balancing. Within seconds of watching her, I thought she might have autism. Up ahead is a bench, and there were two teens on their phones. A girl and a boy.
“Ally! Stay over here!” said the girl, looking up from her phone for a second.
The child, Ally, looked in the girl’s direction, but continued to waddle around in circles. A few moments later, she seemed to be skipping, pretending she was somewhere else.
Kigston, in his own special way, pranced to me and let me pet him. Then, he ran off to the evergreen tree and drank some water.
The two teens were still on there phones. I finally noticed their dog, a sort of pug. He was laying down near the girl.
Sophie squatted and I lept up to clean up her mess. It was quite far away from the table. I took care of it and threw it away in the trash can. Kingston and Sophie began to chase each other again and I sat back down at the table.
I spotted Ally, who was now drawing in the only dirt section of the park, with a stick. She was continuing to hum, which I listened and figured it was some kind of song.
“Ally! Stop doing that. Come back over here,” said the girl, again.
Ally ignored her, waving the stick in the air now. Watching her was fascinating. I ached for her though, for the teens had ignored her this entire time. I deduced this might be a “big sister” situation, as the girl was the only one who spoke to Ally. She wasn’t a very good role model, I thought.
A few minutes past. I was daydreaming. But, I was taken out of it, when I noticed Ally was extremely close to me.
“Are you having fun?” I asked her. Again, she did not reply. Instead, however, She picked up my Tropicana Orange Juice container. For a split second, I had the urge to tell her the container was not hers and to put it back. But, something inside told me not to speak. I instead got up and leaned forward to watch her.
As the water waved back and forth with Ally’s gate, she went on over to the Evergreen tree. She opened the lid and squatted her legs ever so slightly. She tipped the container, as the water fell into my dogs silver water bowl. It had been completely empty, I realized. I had forgotten to refill it.
I sat back down, as Ally poured the entire contents of the Tropicana container into the bowl. The bowl was so full now, the last bit of water overflowed into the small ditch that had been formed by the tree roots. Ally came back up and walked on toward me and sat down the container. I smiled at her. She didn’t respond and went back into the main park area. She then began to hum the same song.
As my dogs continued to play, I smiled. Here was this young girl, unable to communicate normally and ignored by the two people she was with. Yet, despite her shortcomings, she had noticed my dogs needed water and helped.
It was touching to learn there was still kindness in the world.