So last Saturday, my darling husband and I took the kiddos to a park especially for them. The forecast was for great weather, and I was feeling guilty about not walking them or taking them out for anything but a potty break in a several weeks. It's a good thing they seem to enjoy being home bound : )
Our city established a dog park inside one of our established "people" parks a few years ago. I think it's pretty nice. They have 2 large fenced-in areas for running around and then another large area that has a nice shoreline so the dogs can swim if they want. We avoided the water and sand. Too dirty : )
But, in the 2 regular areas, one is for dogs over 25 pounds and the other is for those under. Of course it is also a bit smaller. We have taken the kiddos in both areas, because sometimes there are not any dogs in the small dog area. They are about 16 and 18 pounds so they are not totally helpless there : )
Anyway, this day there were lots of dogs in each park. So we took them in the small dog area. You should have seen the looks on our faces and the other owner's faces as we walked in. Today the small dog park was populated by mostly "rodent" dogs and pampered purse puppies. It was not looking good. It's so interesting to see the way both dogs and owners act in the park. For the most part people are pretty chill and willing to let dogs be dogs. But then you get some pairs that are akin to the kid at school who had to wear SPF 90, zinc, special UV protective bathing suit, floaties, nose plug and swim-ring to the pool, and his accompanying way over-protective mom.
This day that pair came in the form of a small brown male poodle mix and his accompanying "owners" of a 13 year old girl and her elitist homemaker mom. Really he owned them : ) I believe it was there first time to the dog park. The mom was asking other owners if bringing their dogs was scary at first. The girl kept picking him up and soothing him and keeping him away from the other dogs. Our poor dogs were being shooed and told "no" by this bratty teen because they were getting near her dog and making him nervous. Our dogs like to chase and run. Hers liked to whimper and hide. I was nice enough not to tell her to leave our dogs alone. That's part of being in the "chill" owner group : )
Also there were several chihuahua mixes, including a cute but terrified little guy named Poncho. His owners were cool though. They wanted him to toughen up a bit. They did not mind that he would squeal like he'd been bitten every time our dogs would chase him. Let me be clear, our dogs chase, rough play, bark and even growl. But they do not bite. They are just being the pack animals with pecking orders just like God intended. As much as I love them, they are not people. And especially at the dog park or in the company of other dogs, that is apparent.
So after awhile of watching our dogs not have anyone to play with that wasn't scared or whining and feeling like our dogs were the bullies of the group, we decided to move to the "big dog" park. We had seen a Corgi and Basset Hound over there that were only a little bigger than our dogs.
Let me tell you, the owners over there are a little more chill. It is expected of those dogs to be big, rough and tumble. Little Ernie and Eby must think that they are German Shepherds anyway, because they were chasing, growling and barking at dogs 5 times there size. We even had to get up off the park bench and stand in the middle of all the dogs because ours started being territorial of us and the area we were sitting in. We had to calm them down several times they would get so worked-up barking.
Then, another newbie entered the big dog park. It was trouble right off. After clearly reading the sign, a lady stepped in with her 5-month old large breed puppy, and a Chihuahua with an attitude problem (the one that almost all Chihuahua's have). Well like 4 big dogs rushed them as they came in. The Chihuahua starts barking and snapping and bearing his teeth. The big dogs do the same. Only this lady is freaking out about her little dog. Then her friend is like "Whose dogs are these, who lets their dogs act like this?" and getting loud and annoying. So I think someone did come and break it up a little. But everyone just kinda stared at her and was like, can you read a sign? BIG DOG park. Then she seemed uncertain again after her friend took the Chihuahua (who evidently couldn't hack it in the little dog park either because later I saw him sitting on a bench outside the parks with the friend) and she was left alone with her big puppy. Two large dogs came over, just saying hi and checking them out really, and she starts acting nervous like they're gonna bite and her pup is like hiding between her legs.
Finally, an older gentlemen who was there with his young German Shepherd let her know she needed to let her dog off it's leash because it makes him feel defenseless against the other dogs who are not on leashes. Wise man. He must know Cesar's Way. So she let him go, and although he still stuck pretty close to her, he was better. And they both loosened up a bit.
So that day was a lesson that even though at home my dogs are my little precious poopsies, I should not forget that they are indeed still dogs. Just like kids, they act different in public in a pack of theirs peers than they do at home. I can't keep them from all life's trials and lessons. That would only make them weak and unprepared for real-life experiences.
Lessons how the nature of dogs and people are different, but the lessons they teach us can be alike.