Ever since moving here, I’ve been tracking the activity at the local dog park. It’s a great park. Two big areas that have built-in agilty equipment, plus shade and water and benches to sit on.
It’s a busy place.
And that’s the problem.
My three dogs all have issues with busy places. Gracie will bark at people and not tolerate the overtures of strange dogs, especially young friendly ones.
Fanny, on the other hand, would LOVE to play with all the dogs but her style of place is more Greco-Roman wrestling than chase or tug.
Some most dogs don’t appreciate that about her.
And Otis? My lover-boy has eyes only for humans. Other dogs, he assumes are all threats to his life and reacts as such. If he has the opportunity to meet them in a quieter way – like on a walk together—he makes fast friends and then is the perfect playmate. Enjoying chase, tackle, and tug in equal measure.
But you see my predicament when it comes to a dog park. Fanny must be managed, Otis must be restrained, and Gracie must be protected. All of which is impossible if there is even one other dog at the park (even on the other side of the fence, Otis and Gracie understand the apparent threat).
There is a nice walking trail (the high school’s cross country course) to walk at the park, so if we arrive and discover it occupied, then we make for the trail.
This morning, however, (9:30 on a Friday, make note) we had the place to ourselves. Fanny got plenty of ball chasing and frisbee catching in.
And in between the dogs romped and wrestled. And then raced through the tunnel, over the A-frame, and along the dog walk before working on ‘WAIT!’ on the table and leaping through the rings.
There is a small trail of round stools at varying heights, so I set about teaching Otis (Fanny was busy devouring a tennis ball) to put his paws on the stools. I imagine they are meant for dogs to sit on, but he would be hard-pressed to balance his big gangly self on the stools.
Dog people have strong feelings one way or the other about dog parks. I get that. With my dog Frankie, we loved to visit dog parks – he could play with any dog, any day. I thought having one nearby would be a great thing—until I watched Fanny roll a Shih tzu, Otis erupt at another lab-mix, and Gracie snarl at a friendly hound.
Now, I get it. Too many opportunities for things to go sideways. And not every person knows how to safely manage their dog. Also, it’s pretty clear that not everyone comes to the dog park to play with their dogs. Plenty of people seem to come to the dog park to talk with other people—in person or on their cell phones.
So we plan to be flexible every time we go and spend a lot of time on the cross county course. But I do fantasize about a dog park that would be by reservation only. That would be perfect.
For now, we enjoy it when we can.
If you’ve been keeping score, you’ll want to know that my foster kittens, Bonnie and Clyde, were spayed/neutered and have left the building. But that is only to go to another building (Petsmart in Winchester). Cat fostering continues to be an entirely new experience for me. Apparently, being showcased at Petsmart means they’ll have a new home in no time. Happy for these two cuties and hoping for the best!
Until Each One Has a Home,
For information on me, my writing, and books, visit CaraWrites.com.
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And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds. You can also keep up with all that is happening with Amber’s Halfway Home, our short documentary film about rescue in the dog pounds of Tennessee.
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