A Reluctant Return to the Park

How much do I love my dog park?

How much do I hate cold and winter?

When I left for school Monday morning, I hugged Our Best Friend and said, “We’re going to  the park Wednesday. Promise.” In fact, I kept thinking about it the whole time I was away, the anticipation of spending time with Our Best Friend chillin’ at our favourite hangout my motivational reward for adjusting to a new school routine.

I got home and “chillin'” was a little too literal. Today was -13° C (8.6° F), and colder with the wind. And there was wind, peeling the skin from your face. I spent most of the day running around, returning home around 3:45 to a dog almost berserk from loneliness after being by himself for most of three solid days.

Did I mention it was -13°? I had no compunction about breaking a promise I made to both of us, and planned a lovely excursion to the back yard hill.

Normally, Our Best Friend takes his cue from me. If I go stand at the back door, he comes to the back door. If he sees me pick up poop bags, he knows that means a walk or the park, and he goes mad barking with joy. Today, I headed to the back door, he walked to the front door, and sat down.

“OBF,” I called. “Come. We’re going out back.”

He sat a the front door, waiting, looking expectant, yet not barking.

I looked at him. It was 3:58. I had to pick up The Youngest at 4:30 from school, which is a 90 second drive from the dog park. Never, in almost three years, had Our Best Friend said, “No back yard. Not good enough. We’re going to the park.”

I took him to the park.

He got 20 whole minutes. I thought I would freeze to death, parka, mittens, long underwear, sweater, and all. There were three people and five dogs. An 18-month-old Shepherd tried to get cute with Our Best Friend, and OBF scared him to death with his vicious bark. (Nope, didn’t even come close to biting him… but King didn’t try anything funny again. In fact, when OBF tried to encourage play, King backed off.)  One man walked past to the gate, pooch in arms, saying to us, “You’re braver than we are– too cold for me!” I said, “Nope, he has five more minutes, then we’re DONE.”

OBF made the most of his time. He zoomed around like a crazy pup. He barked. He checked out the other two dogs wrestling on the far side. He gave King’s owner a little love. And by the time we left, I was an icicle.

I always say my next dog will be small, non-shedding, and female. My next home will be warm, sunny, and non-humid. Maybe a back yard pool instead of a sledding hill. A mango tree and warm tropical nights. Sure. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for Our Best Friend’s bedtime bathroom break on the sledding hill.

"Mmmm... Do I smell frozen squirrel?"

This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. Hop on!


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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!
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28 Responses to A Reluctant Return to the Park

  1. Looks like OBF really knows what he wants and how to get it! And how was it possible to leave him home alone for 3 days? We can manage a full working day now with Georgia, about 10 hours. Took ages to get there. Amazing!

    • We have been very fortunate that he’s never had a problem being left alone. He can’t be locked in another room or left outside alone, but if no one’s home he just curls up and goes to sleep.

      I absolutely hate leaving him alone for the day; he’s such a social little thing. When I’m away at school, The Spouse tries to come home once during the day to check on him. Monday he came at 3:30, Tuesday he didn’t make it at all. :(. Then Wednesday I was out all day. Obviously many people have to leave their dogs for an eight-hour workday, but I don’t work and so Our Best Friend isn’t used to it….

      I think I feel a post coming on.

  2. Jodi Stone says:

    You rock, you rock, you rock!! I got tears in my eyes when you said you took him to the park. That was so very sweet.

    I remember last winter before I began utilizing the park at the top of the street, twice every weekend and sometimes during the week we would pack the dogs in the car and make the ten minute drive to the local dog park. It was a year of record breaking snow and many days it was bitterly cold (although not as cold as you were yesterday) and I would walk around and around the dog park trying to keep warm.

    Most weekends there were some hearty souls out there with their dogs, but other times just one or two. I think it meant a lot to S & D just to be able to run free for a bit.

    Now I much prefer the park and trails at the top of the street, they really get more exercise, because they aren’t much for playing with other dogs. 😦

    Good for you for sticking with your promise to YBF, I bet he really did appreciate it.

    • Oh Jodi,I SO don’t rock!!! I was sick for the first week in January, the dog hadn’t been walked in… no, I’m not going to tell you, you’ll call animal welfare on me!

      • Jodi Stone says:

        I never would. I know how much you love YBF, and how you worried when he was sick. The greatest things about dogs is that no matter what, they want to spend time with us. If you had pushed the backyard he would have gone.

        I still think you rock. 🙂

  3. tukamann says:

    I can imagine his persistence at wanting to go to the dog park. I admire your bravery in taking him to the park in such cold weather. You are a wonderful dog mom.

  4. lexy3587 says:

    why is it that dog parks always seem to be a direct link to winds from the North Pole? The closest one to me has zero ground cover between it and Lake Ontario – nice cool breeze in the summer, and absolutely frigid in the winter.
    I love that YBF basically said, “No… that’s not going to work for me today. Bundle up, we’re going to the park!” Gwynn stares at me intently and then lets out a really soft ‘wooof’ when he wants me to do something (usually let him out to do his business… or get my act together and get out on a walk, lol)

  5. Kristine says:

    Awww, like a true dog lover, you gave in. The things we do for these furry beasts, eh? This post is so sweet! It’s a good thing you don’t live with a Shiva, though. She would have destroyed your house if you’d only given her 20 minutes worth of exercise. She has taught me how to be the hardy Canadian girl I used to pretend to be. OBF is far too well-mannered for that. He knows the best things are worth waiting for. 😉

  6. While we don’t have the cold, we do have WET. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much rain is coming down, the dogs just need to run. And 20 minutes is better than nothing.
    Glad that OBF got to run for a little bit, and even happier that you were willing to listen to him when he told you what he needed.

    • Welcome to my blog, hope you come back!

      My dog won’t run in the rain. He huddles miserably at the edge of the sidewalk, wanting to be where it’s dry. Cold, on the other hand, is heaven to him.

      • My little terrier doesn’t really like the rain either, so he doesn’t want to go out back when it’s wet. But if we head to the dog park, water from the sky be darned, he is going to run. Of course when we get home, I feel the need to wrap him in blankets

  7. I am so glad it hasn’t been quite that cold at our dog park! Luckily, my dog tends to get cold before I do (even with his jacket and booties) so I don’t have to take him out very long before he longs to go back inside and curl up in some blankets. OBF fur coat looks like it was made for this kind of weather!

  8. 2browndawgs says:

    Good for you for taking OBF to the park in freezing weather. I would have to really dig deep to find the motivation. 🙂

  9. shoes says:

    Wow – what a good doggie momma you are!! I am glad OBF had a bit of a run and that you did not entirely freeze to death.

  10. Pup Fan says:

    Aw… I’m glad you made it to the park! Sounds like OBF knew exactly what he wanted.

    Personally, I hate the cold & snow, so I know how you feel… the things we do for our furry little monsters… 🙂

  11. Brrrrrrrrrr. You’re a GOOD mommy.

  12. thatjenk says:

    Calgary winters have been freakishly warm lately (regularly seeing +11 C, which is totally bizarre), but every time I’ve caught the national forecast on The Weather Network, I’ve cringed in your honour. Major props for braving the cold!

    PS. If Alma is any example (or our girl cat for that matter), female pets are way more trouble!

    Also, love the photo of OBF!

  13. Pingback: Life by Pets

  14. Mel Freer says:

    Ha! You keep dreaming Lori!

    I keep saying the same thing. Still hasn’t happened. 🙂

    Shepherds are smart dogs. Clearly, OBF has inherited that intelligence. What a smart dog to not only decide what he wanted, but then to make you go along with it!

  15. Tegan says:

    I think I need to harden up – when it’s cold here, it’s just cold – no snow, no ice, though sometimes it rains… And yet, still, I pull the ‘it’s too cold’ thing. Your perseverance is to be congratulated. 🙂

  16. The Hook says:

    Hilarious post! Sorry the conditions weren’t to your liking ; I hate the cold as well. Lucky I’m Canadian, right?

  17. Pamela says:

    So now we know who the best dog people in the whole world are–they were all shivering in the dog park. 🙂

    Is it really horrible that every time I see how much Honey enjoys being out in the cold I wonder just how warm a fur coat is?

    When our temps dropped into the single digits this weekend, we still had the foster puppy. I was horrified to see bare foot prints (human) in the snow. I realized my husband had been taking him out in the yard in bare feet. I think he still has all his toes but I guess I’d better count to be sure.

  18. Pup Fan says:

    P.S. I gave you the Pawsome Blogger Award on my blog today – hope you’ll stop by and pick it up!


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