We have been spending a lot of time at the dog park. Our husky is friendly and wants to play with other dogs as much possible. After daily hikes in the woods and paying for dog daycare, we finally realized that the dog park is where she is able to get out the most energy and build relationships with dogs and humans. She runs, wrestles, and digs holes with a cast of canine characters that changes a bit day to day, but overall is pretty consistent.
The upside for dog parents is that they get a dose of human interaction. It is sort of like the parent waiting room at dance or the sidelines of a soccer game, but different in some big ways. First, the expectations are a lot lower (I think). People talk about their dogs, but there is no angst over their futures. We just want our dogs to have a good day today.
Like the dogs, there is a variety of ages and backgrounds at the dog park. Elderly retirees, musicians, doctors, teachers, service industry workers, and stay-at-home parents are all welcomed as long as you love your dog. Dogs are an equalizer.
And at the dog park, you have to be present. Watching to see when your dog poops, if she is getting aggressive, eating something inappropriate, or digging too big of a hole, there is no zoning out at the dog park. You've got to have eyes on your charge. Which means most people are standing and talking while monitoring the play space.
The rules at the dog park are known and followed more vigilantly here than other places - where people constantly try to rewrite guidelines based on their particular and momentary needs. Here, people alert you immediately if your dog poops, "Bailey pooped!" If your dog is biting or wrestling too rough, "Will you get your dog off Samson, he doesn't like it." And any other infraction, like a dog is too young, or too little, or in heat, is dealt with according to the rules. Conversations tend to be problem-driven and not too dramatic (usually).
It is a refreshing break in the workday and feels like a neighborhood community at its best.
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Podcasts I am loving this week:
We are making pumpkin smoothies again (top with whipped cream!)
Been making Julia Turshen's Caesar salad dressing (really good!)
And I am posting some of my older content over at Medium - here is one of my favorite and most shared posts: 25 mini-adventures in the library