QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adventures at the Dog Park

I just returned with Sophie from the Dog Park, and every time I come back from the Dog Park I’m inspired to blog about it. It’s hysterical to me.

I’m not a “regular” there, because Sophie runs with me; that’s enough exercise for her. I took a running day off today, however; my muscles are still a little tired and sore after a 20-miler 2 days ago and a recovery 4 miles yesterday. When they’re still sore and tired after a recovery run they’re saying: “yo. Chill, babe.” So I am.

I digress, though. I wanted to talk about the Dog Park….and so I shall.

We pulled up to the Dog Park and Sophie was immediately STOKED.

OMG!! I LOVE this place!! Ready? Ready? Ready? Ready? C’mon c’mon c’mon let’s get outta the car…”

Today as we approached the 2-phase gate to enter, the pack which was already there smelled new blood and came to greet us. Any time a new dog enters, all dogs cease all activity, no matter how enticing, and swarm to check out the newbie. Sophie was thus ceremoniously greeted. It was a free-for-all with each dog trying to be the first to catch the unique aroma of her rear end, and Sophie simultaneously attempting to catch whiffs of theirs. (Ron White, a stand up comedian, tells the story of traveling with their dog and the hotel has a “dog concierge” who comes around and offers services for the dog. Among the offerings were “aromatherapy” for the dogs. Ron jokes that they should have “ass candles.” Llol)

Every visit to the dog park has the same components: there is always a canine bully; there are always big dogs, little dogs, cute dogs, ugly dogs; dogs with smart owners; dogs with no-so-smart owners; there is always a toy hog; and the people there have no kids.

Today’s bully ID’d Sophie for the wuss she is immediately. A Rottweiler mix chased her over to the nearest corner, pounced on her, and held her there WWF style. Sophie is a full-bred German Shepherd, yes – and the biggest wimp on the doggie playground. She likes to chase but not wrestle. Once the playing deteriorates to wrestling, she is outta there. “Whoah, there, manly Rottweiler… okay. Heh heh. Ya got me. Yup. You’re dominant, big boy; you win. Uh… may I get up now?”

Clearly disgusted from the lack of challenge she presented, the Rottweiler let her up, wandered over to the Dalmation, and promptly snatched the deflated soccer ball with which it had been playing.

“Ha ha!” the Rottweiler’s owner nervously chuckled, “sorry ‘bout that…”

Sophie next began searching for her perfect playmate: anyone who wouldn’t tackle her and would be content to be the chaser or the chasee.

A black and white speckled cockapoo then entered and was immediately immobilized by the curious canine crowd. The barking began. From the time it entered until the time it left (far too long), the cockapoo hung around the edges of the canine play sessions barking incessantly. I can only imagine what was going through his little doggie mind: “hey guys! Can I play? Can I play? Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh?”

Sophie finally found a couple of Labs with whom to run. This time she was the chasee; she happily ran in large circles, tongue hanging out, periodically resting behind the various benches which grace the Dog Park.

In the meantime, a smallish yellow Lab had predictably picked up a mud and drool-covered ball and rope toy and was prancing around in front of the other dogs, dangling it like candy dangerously close to his fellow canine buddies and then psyche! Off and running with it. Whereas previously none of the other dogs had noticed the toy, now they were all green with jealousy. “Ah, man. She is so lucky!” This happens with every visit – there is always a dog that picks up a disgusting toy that has been left at the Dog Park and turns it into that “must have” object of desire. It always reminds me of that Eddie Murphy Saturday Night Live skit? The “you ain’t got no iiiiccceee cream” one? The thing is… I find this funny… and whenever I mention it to the fellow dog owners, all standing around watching their dogs with a keen eye, no one else gets it.

At this point now we have 3 Labs all chasing Sophie, who is getting a little tired and would probably like to stop; alas, she cannot. The Labs have too much energy. There is the smallish Lab (I know – a lot of Labs today – 5 in all) toting around the coveted, drool and mud-covered ball and rope toy, the Rottweiler repeatedly stealing the deflated soccer ball from the Dalmation, and the cockapoo barking at the entire scene….

Every so often an owner will perceive his dog misbehaving and admonish him or her: “Oh, Bella… come on. Play nicely.” “lol. Hank, cut it out, boy.”

…When in walks the Coonhound. Immediately surrounded by the other dogs upon entering, the Coonhound unceremoniously ignores all of them and obsessively/compulsively begins his tour of the Dog Park on his own. “I MUST smell everything here before beginning… oh my… it’s a bit overwhelming.” He circles the entire Dog Park, periodically stopping to mark his turf, and then at last decides he might deign to play with some of the other four-legged creatures there. He walks over to a fellow dog owner and, before the unsuspecting Lab owner could react, pees on his leg. I am not kidding. The Coonhound’s owner is not paying attention, so the Dalmation owner sheepishly says: “um… he just peed on your leg.”

“Oh my gosh…” says the Coonhound owner, incredulously, “he’s never done that before. I’m sooo sorry.”

And so goes another blog-worthy adventure at the dog park, with dog owners anxiously standing around just like parents at a playground, comparing dog-parenting anecdotes and swapping advice and making sure everyone is playing nicely in the sandbox.

I can’t wait until our next visit…
PostScript: Anyone who enjoys personification of dogs as I do might enjoy Merrill Markoe's Walks in Circles Before Lying Down, a novel giving voice to dogs and whose protagonist works at a doggie daycare. It's light, fun reading and will make you laugh.


  1. I think I'm extra glad that I have cats this morning!

  2. It's like doggie high school! The cool kids, the jocks, the geeks, and all.

    The way Sophie speaks through you (we totally do it, too) reminds me of the seagulls in Finding Nemo: "Mine! Mine! Mine?"

    Thanks for dropping by today!

  3. lol. I LOVE that movie. One of my all-time favorites. My favorites are Dude Crush the turtle and his son, and of course Dorie. Ellen degeneres is fabulous!

    Yeah; I love to think about what my cat is saying to my Dog and vice versa...


Please feel free to let me know what you think - especially if you like it. If not, please reconsider (just kidding!) I can take constructive criticism! Really I can...