Our first trip to the dog park was only a mild success. The only good thing about that park was the fact that it was fenced. No running water, no grass (think mud), and a creepy walk past some big dumpsters and through an even creepier wooded area. Clover wasn’t sure exactly what was expected of her that day, but she figured it out pretty quickly.
I looked over at Clover as she played with another Labrador Retriever and saw a huge amount of slobber/foam going on. Another woman at the park started screaming at me, “Oh, My God, your dog is rabid! It’s foaming at the mouth. I’m going to call the police!” I was new to this dog park thing, but I knew for a fact that there was nothing going on with Clover other than an overdose of slobber. We left after a few more minutes: I, thinking about finding another dog park, and Clover with giant slobber strings hanging from her mouth and mud all over her stomach and legs and embedded in her paws.
I found another park that we came to frequent often. I mean OFTEN. We went to the park at least 5 or 6 times a week for about two-hours every visit. I made some friends as did Clover, and for the next couple of years, we were regulars at the dog park. Clover was too tired to rearrange the furniture or chew the drywall, and all was good in our world.
I helped with fund-raising for a local group that was trying to get a dog park in our community. I was happy to help out by writing solicitation letters, contacting local radio stations to promote our fund-raising dog washes. The new park came about after about two-years of planning and its very convenient. The only thing is, I don’t like that park one bit! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home to find ticks on me or the dogs. I also noticed that a lot of the people that frequent this new park are totally clueless about their dogs, other people’s dogs, dog park ettiquite, county rules, etc.
One of the most memorable moments at the new park still never ceases to amuse me (or piss me off). A woman with a large yellow Labradoodle puppy, a toddler and a small baby in a stroller, and her mother/father/in-laws arrived on a frigid day when the wind was really blowing. The woman, along with her entourage lasted about 8 minutes in the windy cold. They all ran for the heated car … leaving their dog in the dog park unsupervised. I walked over to the car on my way out, and told her that she couldn’t leave her dog in the park unsupervised. She told me to shut the f*ck up and mind my own business. Now, me being me, didn’t take kindly to that one bit. I told her that she should read the county bylaws which were posted at the gate .. that is of course if she could read!
I continue to take my dogs to the “old” park occassionally. The people there are easy going with all of the idiot owners/bad dogs driven away, or on one occasion arrested (whole ‘nother story). There have never been any problems with ticks there, but I notice that since we don’t frequent the parks as often as we used to, the dogs are much healthier. A coincidence? I think not. I think of the dog park like a lot of mothers think of daycare or kindergarten — a hotbed of germs!
I highly recommend finding a good dog park. They are pretty good places for both owner and dog to socialize, get some exercise, and enjoy some outside time together in a controlled environment. Just remember, “PICK UP THE POOP.”
Thank you very much.