In the last few months, I haven’t been to the park as much as I used to be, and the last few times I went I haven’t seen any of my friends. And I miss them. In fact, I’m a little concerned that perhaps some of my favourite people have moved away and I won’t be seeing them again, because I should have run into them by now. That’s the drawback of not being friends “beyond the fence;” you wonder and might never have the answers.

Bernese/St. Bernard mix, all 155 lbs. of him

However, our dog park, being OUR dog park, is still the friendliest dog park around, and it’s easy to make new friends. This big dude is one of them. His owner is a lovely woman who lives in a suburb north of city (the same suburb as Ronnie, actually). It’s quite a drive to our park from her home, but like everyone who comes, she’s taken by the spaciousness and, of course, the friendliness of the people. Our Best Friend found the big fellow a little intimidating, but still preferable to King, who was skulking about as well.

A week or so ago, I was even called upon to fulfill the “ambassador role” once more. Interestingly, the fellow asking the questions was Jewish himself, but not religiously observant. He had been told by a rabbi that Jews should not own dogs, but as he was there with his four-month-old boxer pup, he obviously did not take this bit of misinformation to heart. It annoys me, though, that some people conflate a particular religious philosophy with actual Jewish law, and promulgate philosophic stance as an absolute religious dictate. And I’m glad the fellow paid no attention, because that puppy was darn cute, and I hope to have the pleasure of watching him grow into a beautiful dog.

So while I miss the friends who have been absent recently, I’m still going be a regular at the park, at least to welcome the newcomers and dispel misapprehensions. And I wonder, narcissistically,  if after another ten years of regular attendance, people will notice when I don’t show up.

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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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8 Responses to Newcomers

  1. Kristine says:

    I am sure they will but I know what you mean. I know I am going to wonder about all the dogs I have come to know in the last four years when we move to a different neighbourhood. It’s also hard not to wonder if they will think about us and wonder where the little spotted dog is. Even if we don’t know each other’s names I do think our dogs make an impact on other dog owners. There are some I doubt I will ever forget.

  2. Jodi Stone says:

    Hi!! It’s so good to ‘see’ you back! I’ve been wondering how you were doing.

    It’s sad when we lose touch with people, even if they have moved away, hopefully you will make new friends.

    And what is the story about Jews not owning dogs? I’ve never heard of that.

    • So I *was* missed. 🙂

      Generally speaking, more right-wing Orthodox Jewish sects do not own dogs. I have never conducted a study, but my guess is there are two main reasons for this. One, they have very large families (each family on either side of me has nine children, and the one Next Door (as opposed to “Attached”) is expecting number 10. That doesn’t leave a lot of room in the budget for kibble and vet bills. (Heck, I can’t afford my dog any more either, and I only have three kids.) The second reason is that it’s simply not in the culture. Dog ownership grew out of hunting, herding, and guarding. Dogs were utility animals before they were companions. As Jews, again, culturally speaking, don’t hunt (we can’t eat meat if it’s been shot, only if the animal has been slaughtered by a specially-trained person in a very specific way), and don’t tend to own sheep, they’ve never really been dog owners. Of course many Reform and Conservative Jews do own dogs, and obviously I do, but if you wander around certain sections of Brooklyn, you won’t see anyone with a beard and a black hat walking his dog. The rabbi this fellow spoke to belong to a sect very opposed to animal ownership for reasons too complex to explain here. 🙂

      • 2browndawgs says:

        This is interesting. I had a very good Jewish friend all through college and after, (we lost touch after I moved to another state). There were no dogs in her family or extended family. I just figured they weren’t dog people, but maybe as you say it wasn’t part of her culture. Glad to see you back blogging.

      • Jodi Stone says:

        Interesting thank you for clearing that up and YES you were missed!!

  3. I bet they’d notice, but why would you leave your favorite place? 😉
    I’ve never heard about that particular philosophy with the Jewish faith, so thanks for teaching me something new (and the Boxer’s pop too!) I’m not very religious myself, although I do believe there is some sort of higher power out there governing us all….

  4. thatjenk says:

    If I ever decide to/get to go back to school, you may have just stumbled upon a potential thesis! Religious philosophy and pet ownership – I would LOVE to dig into that!

    I’m sure people notice when you and YBF are not around for a while! I definitely notice when you’re not around here 🙂 (Here being blogville)

  5. Of course your dog park friends would miss you. But you’d never know because you won’t be there and they don’t all write blogs. Pity, huh? 🙂

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