As a New Yorker, you are privy to certain things that might not be the norm in other parts of the country (Well, minus California). For example: A Halah cart on every corner from Soho to Times Square, Fruit stands whose “Fruitiers” never seem to go home and that you inevitably see at 2 am when you stumble home drunk, and, of course, my all time ultimate favorite thing ever….wait for it….you’re gonna love it…. online ordering from Delivery.com at any time of night! I know! It’s possibly the best thing ever to happen to a New Yorker! (I know you’re shaking your head “India”…I’m a fat kid, what can I say?) However, even though these thing put happiness in my heart, perhaps the one thing that New York has to offer me that I would trade for all of these scrumptious delicacies for is….the Dogpark. I know, I know, I see you laughing and I would be too if I:
1) Didn’t live in the city
2) Didn’t have a dog
3) Didn’t have a dog that lived with me in my already cramped apartment with a Devil cat…IN THE CITY
I know, you’re wondering why any of this information really matters; why the fact that I live in the city and go to a dog park is of any consequence. But, the truth is that the Dog Park has probably extended my life by a few years. And if you knew my pup, a one and half old lab/pit mix, you would understand that two hours at the dog park gives me a day of no hair pulling, no yelling, and no chasing the dog down, disciplining him with “BAD BOY!” when he jumps on the cat. Honestly if I could go one day without having to say “NO!” or “LEAVE THE CAT ALONE!” I would die happy and I’m sure that my BF’s ears would love a day off from my madness! He ALWAYS tells me that I’m worse than the dog and that the neighbors will think i’m a crazy person! But, I can’t help it! The damn dog, no matter how cute he may be or how fast his little butt wiggles out of pure joy when he sees me, just makes me so irritated sometimes! He is non-stop! It’s like having a kid! From the moment you wake up, or better yet, when he wakes you up, it’s go time! You don’t have five minutes to slowly get out of bed, stretch, yawn, greet the morning sunlight. No, your alarm has gone off and the Bo has so graciously greeted you by jumping on top to lick you to death and you only have a matter of seconds before he progresses into his “nibble on their hand stage to wake them up” stage to roll out of bed. And, yes, as I am sure you are thinking, “why doesn’t she lock him out or something?” or “train him!” I have. It does absolutely nothing and I have contributed this behavior to him being a pup and as such it’s no fault of my own!
And this is where the Dog Park comes in. A thing that I never really knew about until, well, I had Bodie. On the days I have off, this is the number one priority. Get the dog to the park for two hours and pray that there is a dog there or at least an uneaten tennis ball that I can throw. And if it’s raining, oh well, I’m going out and I’m dragging the pup with me, I don’t care how much he fusses. And no, I do not have a rain coat for my dog. I don’t even have one for myself! He has seven layers of fur, I think he’ll be ok! This is my sole salvation for the day, the time when I can let the dog off the leash and he can run around like a rabid dog without me having to yell at him about it. He can play, jump, act like an asshole for all I care and it’s all fine and dandy b/c by the time I get home a couple hours a later, the pup is so tired that the only thing he wants to do until the next morning is get some serious shut eye! And you bet your ass that I’ll get up early to be home by lunch to know that I can peacefully do whatever the hell I want without having to worry about Bo getting into something he’s not supposed to. And just a side note, at least with my pup, walking doesn’t do shit. It doesn’t matter if you walk to Africa and back, the Bo will still be raring to go. There is no measure for the amount of steam he burns by playing with his fellow pups. And I honestly don’t know how in the hell I would get by if the Dog Park wasn’t around. In NC it didn’t matter b/c you have backyards and fenced in areas where you and your best pal could play and really, not that I can remember, your dogs didn’t interact with other dogs unless you happen to have two. So, in retrospect, it was actually easier to have a dog in a rural area than it is here. Sure, we can take them shopping with us and shit, but we don’t have big houses or yards they can run around in. And if you have a big dog in the city, omg, you better make sure that guy gets exercise b/c you will not be able to get a moment’s rest if you don’t. At least with a smaller dog you can pack into your bag and carry it with you. But, in my opinion, that just doesn’t seem right. Your furry friend should never be beside your hairbrush and lip gloss.
So, the dog park and I have a fairly long history with each other. And at one point in time, we were very close and I visited it every day for three months when I was unemployed. And it is at this point, when you have established yourself among the “Kings” and “Queens” of the Dog Park, a.k.a the regulars, that the Dog Park not only serves for the amusement of your pup, but for the amusement of yourself. You would think that if there would be any place that would be “drama free,” it would be a park, especially a dog park, where the only thing that speak are the owners. But, no, it never fails, where there are people, there will inevitably be drama. Now, usually I would take you back a bit and share information about these lovely characters that I have unfortunately had the chance of meeting, and don’t worry, you WILL hear about them, but let me just skip to the reason why I actually started this whole entry. Now, to give you a bit of a visual, there are a few types of people that you will encounter at the Dog Park:
1) The “Richies” : Rich folk who have nothing else better to do with their day than to hang out at the dog park for the better part of the morning
2) The dogwalker: People who are employed by the Richies who are to filthy rich and lazy to walk their damn dogs themselves
3) The unemployed: People who LITERALLY have nothing else to do with their day
4) The Others: People like me who work, but go when they can
So, scene set, Bo-Bo and I happen to be at the Doggy Park the other day, the usual on my day off, when in comes this very fluffy, very friendly pup that Bodie happens to play very well with. Lets face it, Bodie would play well with a dan fly if that were his only option. And that, I can say, is something I can be truly happy about. Bo-Bo loves everything/everybody. So, this pup wiggles in towards Bodie, who we’ll call her Daisy for now, and begins to play with him and the owner, an older gal, a.k.a a Richie, comes and sits beside me and an Unemployed girl who owns a cute black puggle, who actually, I don’t mind. The person, not the dog. Now, this Richie, who by the way must be pushing 60 and still thinks that she can get away with shorty-mc-shorty Nike running shorts, starts off by not saying “Hi” or “Good Morning,” but by telling us that her poor little Daisy was attacked by a vicious pitbull. I know, before she even says the breed, that this was the dog to be blamed. My blood is already boiling. (By the way, it’s amazing how fast you learn about breeds and dog behavior just by sitting at a dog park! Give it a try) Everybody always blames the pitbull! It’s always his fault! Everybody thinks that they are scary and that they attack everything in its path. When, in reality, they are one of the most love able and sweetest dogs I have ever met!
Sure, they might be a little more prone to behavioral problems, but what dog isn’t? I mean through training, knowing your pups body language and it’s ticks, you can practically avoid any and all confrontation and really erase all possibility. Yeah the dog may be apt to certain mannerisms, but who either eggs them on or trains with preventative methods? THE OWNER!!! It’s all on us! We are the ones who have to be pro-active about our pups and make sure they understand what is right and wrong! Once again, it is like having a kid! Oh! And did you know that DALMATIONS, not PITS are considered more apt to behavior problems?? Well, now you know!
So, anyway, this Richie continues to say that a pitbull grabbed onto her Daisy and wouldn’t let go! And before this had occurred, according to Richie, the pit had attacked another dog. And the Richie was so scared because she couldn’t get the pit off her pup because, as she concluded, the pit had lock jawed. Wrong answer!! Yes, pits have a very strong jaw, but they do not grab on and then not release. Stupid people with bad information. But, this was not the part that upset me about this Richie’s story. It was what she said afterwards that really disturbed me and put a score against her. She proposed that we start a petition, as she had heard that another park had done this, to ban all pitbulls from coming into this particular park. And not only this park, but to start a movement to ban pitts in ALL dog parks. Richies and their fucking time. By the way, Bodie, the PITT mix is still playing with Daisy, gently. I can tell that the Unemployed doesn’t know how to respond, but as her good nature would overcome, she would eventually agree to avoid a scene. Oh yeah, the Richie also added that her and the owner of the pitbull got “into such a scrabble” that the COPS were actually called to break it up. The COPS. Really? Like they don’t have more important things to do than to go to a dog park and break up a fight between a Richie and an Other? Forget the robbery downtown boys, there’s a cat fight between two rational human beings uptown! Lets go! Ridic, much?
At this point, I have to interject, b/c I am so offended on behalf of my pup that I couldn’t just sit there and ignore the proposal:
“Well,” I say to her “I guess I’ll just have to leave then.”
“Why’s that,” Richie asks with bright eyed astonishment.
“Because according to you my dog isn’t allowed in here.”
“Your dog! Bodie! He’s a lab!”
“No, actually, he’s a lab/pit mix.”
“Oh..well…” she pauses, licks her lips in embarassement as she watches her Daisy dance in circles with Bo,”He’s good enough…”
Conversation over. I win. And she’s been trying to make it up to me ever since.