Yesterday Boss and I went to the dog park.
It was 47 degrees which meant it was moderately tolerable to be outside for more than 10 minutes. I was also given a day off. Not really given – more like forced. Demanded. All right, I was restrained. Plus after spending what felt like 48 hours entirely inside and then on a plane next to two young children traveling alone (excellent seat choice if you are have gotten nothing but 4 hours of sleep the night before, have not had coffee and want to spend the entire flight answering the question how much longer until we get there), I felt like I had to get outside.
Boss was the perfect excuse. To the dog park we go. Not before a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee for me. Next, we arrive at the dog park and walk up to the small dog gate. The area for dogs under 30 lbs. Immediately a gaggle (really, there is no other word to describe it) of small dogs approach the fence. They are hungry for Boss. I don’t blame them. He is small, adorable, 8 pounds now of smooth fur. He is the color of caramel and always smells good. He is my little dog!
We enter the gate and immediately Boss is bumrushed by 5 other small dogs; two Schanuzers, two poodles, one Beagle, and one dog that looked like one of those multi-breed combo dogs with a name like Maltie-Yorkie-Pom-Poo – in other words, this dog wasn’t very cute. Regardless they all crowd and circle around Boss. He sits in the middle and looks nervously at me. I am sorry Boss but you need this like a child needs preschool. You need to be socialized.
Socialized in the dog world means have your arse sniffed, your rear end mounted and your remnants of what was once your balls licked. I’m just calling it like I saw it. Boss of course did not appreciate this type of welcome. I don’t blame him. Put me in a new situation surrounded by a circle of furry friends and if anyone gets one inch near my pooper I’d scream.
So he did what any little scared dog would do – he bolted towards me. I’m not saving you dog. Get in there and play. Fight your inner chicken and run wild with the big dogs. Be unleashed and free. But look at him. He stands in the middle of an invisible circle like a newbie trying to make their way into an elite triathlon field. He might as well be wearing a heart rate monitor strap while sitting on a bucket to tie his shoes. In other words, he was sorely out of place.
He just didn’t know what to do with the other dogs. Plus one of the poodles kept mounting him. So he yelped, then he darted and then they all followed him as one giant mass of five curious dogs. I took this as my cue to re-leash Boss and give him a chance for survival in the small dog field. I mean, these other dogs were small but still had about 20 lbs on Boss. So I walk him around leashed to sniff plants and mark weeds. Break him in slowly with these smaller, more manageable dog park things.
A few minutes later I decide he needs to give it another try. Plus I need to drink my coffee. So I unleash him. The other dogs are chasing the beagle with a Frisbee in his mouth. Together they make a one way train of dogs running in the field. Boss joins in on the back end of the train and chases too. He looks ridiculously out of place, tries desperately to keep up with their bigger legs, and is only moments away from the other dogs noticing that he has joined in.
When they do, he gets violated again. Mounted, sniffed, eyed. Boss realizes he must stand tall – as tall as 6 inches can be – so he barks at them. Pounces on them and even tries to mount the poodle. Go Boss! It was a good try but he was too small plus the poodle wasn’t that good looking anyways.
The rest of the time Boss plays with the other dogs then milks their owners for head pats, tummy rubs, scratches and treats. He is the friendliest dog of all of them. I attribute this to good parenting skills. And excellent genes (after all, he was fathered by Count Chocula’s Charlie and mothered by Anissa Flutterby; how can you not emerge a genius with parents named like that?). The only thing he snubbed was that weird maltese-yorkie-poo-fluff fluff thing. And I don’t blame him.
As Boss frolicked and barked in the field, I just laughed. I watched him, whimsical and free and found it to be one of the most amusing things I had seen in a long time. I realized that for all of the difficulty of leaving a dog, finding someone to watch the dog, and caring for the dog – well, I wouldn’t trade the dog for the world.
I’ve decided Boss and I will spend many days at the dog park when the weather permits. If not just for him, then for me to have some free medicine – to laugh out loud, to be free and get my mind on something else. Besides I hope to one day be the proud owner of a dog that is finally accepted into the in crowd with the cool kids that violate the new kids and make them sit in the front of the bus with the rest of the window lickers.