I've been taking the kids and the dog to the nearby park to walk, chase the ball, and play on the swings (it's amazing to see the dog swing...he doesn't even need a push anymore.)
Luke (the dog) always attracts attention from kids and grownups, especially when he's running for the ball, but it's usually just a "can i pet your dog" at the minimum and a conversation about how wonderful goldens are and what experiences others have had with them at the max. usually a ten minute friendly exchange at most.
two days ago, some girl about 5th grade age came over and wanted to pet luke and then just lingered...and lingered...and petted him and hugged him. i'm really working on discipline with him and getting him to stay focused when we're playing fetch, and every time he'd run the ball back she'd be there doing something stupid, or when i'd try to get him to sit and wait for the throw, she'd be petting him. I didn't want to be rude to her so we finally just wrapped it up and went and let the kids play on the swings.
yesterday I went again, and as soon as we arrived this same little pest came running over and said "hey luke." I thought this wouldn't be a big deal, because we usually take a 30 minute or so walk before we chase the ball. This lets Luke get some warm-up and satisfies his curiosity about the park before i take him off the leash, and it's a nice quiet time to spend with the kids.
Not yesterday. This little turd starts following us on her annoying wheely shoes. Doesn't say anything, just rolls along a few paces behind. I figure she's going to leave any minute, but no...she finally comes up and starts petting luke while me and the kids are walking him.
"oh hi" i say. She starts in on how she's there almost every day because her mom likes to walk. and then starts jabbering away while we're walking....she's now officially joined our walk. This means that I've got some strange 5th grade girl tagging along, which I'm not at ALL comfortable with. I had to change our whole walk to make sure we stayed in populated areas because I'm sure as hell not about to be isolated somewhere with some strange kid, even with my own kids in tow. This meant scrapping the plans to go on the butterfly trail to start prepping Luke for a hike.
We passed this kid's mom on the path, and I thought "thank God...she's going to discreetly pull her daughter away." but nope. Mom waved at her daughter as she walked right past us, said hi, looked at me, and kept on enjoying her peaceful walk. Never mind that mine is interrupted, my time with my kids is invaded, my dog is distracted and my peaceful afternoon is interrupted because NOW THIS KID IS BOUNCING A ******* BASKETBALL OVER AND OVER FOR THE LAST QUARTER MILE.
So we finish the walk and go to throw the ball, and she stays on us. wants to throw. I don't want to make a 5th grader cry so I let her....now Luke's even more hyper because the routine's changed....finally I give up on that and just go sit and let the kids play on the playground until it's time to leave.
I don't know how to get out of this...I don't want to hurt this kid's feelings, but it's her mother's responsibility to intervene on this. Mom apparently, though, is both oblivious to her daughter's intrusion on my time and doesn't care that her kid is walking around a park with a random 32 year old man.