Monday, July 27, 2009

#32 I Hate Dog Parks

Don't get me wrong here, I love dogs, I just hate dog parks. I never thought it would be this way. I adopted my beautiful mutt, Roxy about a year ago now and could not wait to take her out to public places. Growing up with two yapping lap dogs who we could never take in public was not my ideal situation. Roxy was my key to having a more healthy lifestyle where I could meet new people, spend more time outdoors, and have a new best friend.  After about 2 rounds at our neighborhood dog park, I learned the ropes. 

There were cliques galore filled with owners who were exact clones of their pets. Big burley men had bulldogs right beside them. Macho men came to show off with their dobermans, their un-neutered balls the size of Florida oranges. And of course the little ladies in pearls sitting on benches and gossiping with their poodle mixes. These people stand in circles leaving no space for newcomers. Their whole life is the dog park, often showing up 2 or 3 times a day and staying for hours on end. When I eavesdrop on their conversations all I hear is "Sparky went to the vet yesterday" and "Buddy just loves these new beefy bones I picked up" and "My Roscoe only eats organic" Please people, don't you have anything else to talk about other than your dogs? Clearly not.

They act like the goddamn mafia, grouping together and ganging up on those whose dogs give off the slightest "bad vibe". They're dogs, for god's sake, they don't all behave perfectly every second, which is what I for one love about them. I find it endearing when Roxy chews through week old garbage and steals peaches off the counter. So, sometimes she growls a little when a dog she doesn't like gets too close. Good for her, at least she isn't being phony like we all are. I wish I could growl at plenty of people, but it just wouldn't be right. When Roxy growls or heaven forbid barks at another dog, these people literally attack me like there's no tomorrow with blood curdling shots of "Get your dog away!" and "Stop it NOW!" as if the poor girl can understand.

My favorite is those my dad and I call "flingers". These are the intense dog park goers, usually clad in spandex and tracksuits, who bring tennis ball "flingers" for their dogs, because they are too lazy to throw themselves.  They find a vacant corner to throw the balls for their dogs, and become furious when any other dog tries to play. Roxy for one loves a good tennis ball chase and it's very difficult for me to stop her from going after one. The Flingers then give me their dirtiest possible glares and attempt to move to another area away from Roxy.

Seriously people, it's a dog PARK. A park is a public space where people and animals come together in harmony. I understand that some of you are there to bond with other people who clearly have no lives other than their dogs, but please respect the rest of us and give us a smile or a nod once in awhile. While we do have lives outside the dog park, we also might want to talk about our dog's newest vet visit or what her poop looked like yesterday. Also, try to understand, dogs are not humans. That's what makes them so awesome, so let's try to celebrate their growls and howls, and not jump down people's throats every time things don't go exactly according to plan. Finally, if you would like to play with your balls in private (that's what she said), then stay at home. I mean seriously, Woof.