The Dog Park

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time at the dog park lately. We inherited a 2-year-old Alaskan malamute that defies the rules of sanity and must be worn out (read exercised or entertained) daily or he will eat my furniture. So once a day, we pack him and the 150-year-old dog into our scary white van and go to the dog park. It is an odd place with a different set of rules that I never dreamed I’d beholden too.

It is okay to sniff butts, but not to talk to one another. It is okay to run and be chased, but never to dig. And humping is largely frowned upon. There are “Bark Rangers” that troll the park and give out advice, discipline and tell you to pick up dog dodo. People talk, put only about their dogs. Everyone is anonymous except for the dog they have. And you are judged by your dog and his behavior. If your dog is a hoyden, you will hear about it. If your dog is a “sir barks a lot” you will be told it is not polite. If you miss your dog taken a dump and someone else beats you there with a pop bag, you will be severely reprimanded. It is a stressful place given that my dog, although sweet, looks like a wolf and acts like a 2-year-old on crack.

I admire the tenacity and wherewithal that it took a small group of dog lovers to secure this land, fence it, make rules, decorate it and patrol it. They are surly going to dog heaven. But I and my dog are not “good rule followers” in fact, we tend to be rebels. We like conflict and to snip a little off someone’s back if they are bothering us. I am not alone. There is a special group of people and their pooches who have befriended us. Fellow rebels and Northern Breeds. We take over the park and let the dogs howl, talk, dig and even hump. We have secret meeting times, off times when the rule followers are at home watching court TV. It does us both good and we feel happy when we have broken rules. I even bring wine in a pomegranate glass. I don’t know where this dog gets all his ideas from. Hmmmmm.