I took a wide berth around them, but the man called out to me to ask if I had seen another dog that looked like his small white one. Seems that he had been out walking the dogs and one of them took off after a deer in the woods. I felt bad for the guy and especially bad for the dog. They weren't even on the park property when it happened and I wasn't really clear where it had occurred, but he seemed to think that this was a place the dog might show up.
I made another loop around the area I had just been walking on the off chance that I might spot or hear the dog. When I got back to the pole barn the man was still there, his wife and son were also out driving and looking. By the time I made it back to my van it was dark, the wind was blowing, and some form of snow/rain mix was beginning to fall.
I hope they found that dog, or that someone found it and took it in last night. I know the feeling of having lost a dog. I know that family must have had a miserable night and so did the dog. I hope they avoided a tragedy while learning a valuable lesson. Small dogs are still dogs. They still have canine DNA, genetically coded instincts, including prey drive. Just because you treat them like babies and play dress up with them it doesn't mean that they are dolls or fashion accessories. They are dogs and they know it even if you don't.
That small dog's four little legs were never going to catch a deer, but it doesn't mean he wasn't going to try. They were fast enough to get away from his human companion. Yes, shit happens. Accidents happen, but this was no accident. Leashes can break, as I discovered myself one day, but that is not reason not to use a leash. If anything, it's a reason to use two.