The Dog Park

We live a seven minute walk from our local dog park. I just learned recently that it used to be a “bus turnaround” point; hence, it has an oval cement path around the perimeter, and a bus shelter at one end. I always wondered how that bus shelter got there; now I know.

Our dog park is large and relaxing. Along with the oval track (which, prior to my recently acquired knowledge, I had assumed was put there by the city so we could walk along with our off-leash dogs), there are a few picnic tables, some large shade trees, and a water fountain. The water fountain has a human end at the top and a doggie spout at the bottom, with water bowls on the ground meant for the hounds, but I’ve seen larger breeds put paws up and drink from the human end. Humans don’t drink from the fountain in the park; we bring bottled water, if we remember.

People come from all over the city to use this park. I’m told it’s the best dog park in town. Other parks are too small, the dogs are aggressive, the owners irresponsible. I don’t know why people from those parks don’t show up at ours. Maybe because the regular denizens make them feel unwelcome. Our dog was attacked once by a pit bull mix (a breed technically not allowed at our park). Everyone who knows our dog (and some people who don’t) came running, the pit bull’s owner left in a hurry and has not been seen since.
 
We don’t tolerate bad behaviour in our park.
 
Not that it doesn’t happen. Our dog has gotten into a few scraps, mostly over tennis balls. Dog toys and dog parks are usually a bad idea, but every so often someone is tossing a ball and our dog will go for it. He once bit a spaniel on the ear, and he himself got bitten on the muzzle by a German shepherd cross. I apologized to the spaniel’s owner, and the shepherd’s owner was beside himself. We all took responsibility for what our dogs did– dogs will be dogs– and we’re all still friends. (Well, the shepherd is still mad at our dog, but the spaniel forgave and forgot.)
 
I love the dog park. It’s a break from drudgery, a place to hang out with people who have at least one thing in common– they love dogs. Age, occupation, other hobbies… doesn’t matter. You can always talk about dogs. People stop being clerks and lawyers and teachers and students and just become dog owners. It doesn’t matter if you’re a jock or a nerd, if you have a chihuahua or a Great Dane. If you’re friendly and sociable, if your dog is well-mannered or handsome or even just an ordinary mutt, you’ll be welcome and you’ll make friends. Friends within the borders of our chain-link fence.
 
That’s the other great quality of the dog park; you’re as anonymous or open as you like. It’s almost like the Internet; you can let everyone in on everything, like a Facebook page, or you can sit quietly on a bench, ignoring the world and not getting involved, like some someone who lurks on the forums but never posts. And, like the Internet, people will only know what you let them see. They don’t really know if you’re married or single, a CEO or unemployed, or even if that’s really your dog or your neighbour’s. So some caution is required; everyone is so nice, so friendly, so open, you want to believe it’s all real, but all you really know is what they’re like at the dog park

So this blog is about the dog park– the people, the experiences, and, of course, the dogs. Because I haven’t asked for consent, I’m preserving anonymity; I’m not using real names, not even dog names. I’m not identifying the city. Any resemblance to someone you know might be just a coincidence– or not. Really, it’s just about what owning a dog teaches you about people and life, the pleasures and the poop, both part of the human experience.
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About one person's view

I'm the mother of three girls, three cats, and a dog. All need constant attention, but only the dog likes to go for long walks!
This entry was posted in dog parks, Dogs, life, pets and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Dog Park

  1. Chico's Mama says:

    I am so glad I found your blog! Thank you for encouraging us to bring a dog into our lives. It’s been nothing but love (and pee and poop but who cares)!

  2. Pingback: A Reluctant Return to the Park | The Dog Park

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