Thursday, March 5, 2009

Welcome to Dog Park

Dog Park is like high school, only better because it's run by a different kind of mob rule, the rule of dog.There are, as you might expect, the super-athletic, the pedigreed, the shy and submissive, the smart-asses, and the ditzy but friendly types. They mingle and mix, chase balls and each other, as well as the occasional biker or runner. They get along amazingly well. When there are disputes, a well-aimed nip or an insistent growl seems to resolve the problem without intervention from the bipeds.

The bipeds—the owners—or companions—or whatever term you use (a newbie [new to dogs and to Park] once asked if my dog was my “partner.” I considered my husky mix, Roma, and scoffed, “She’s my partner when she helps pays the bills.”)—are really what make Dog Park feel like high school. Again, only better because the nerds (comme moi) now have interesting careers, decent cars, cooler glasses or Lasik surgery, credit cards, and fewer zits. Our job is to chaperone the dogs, but we can’t help “packing up” ourselves. I particularly enjoy walking with a group of single, professional, smart women. Most of us have slipped over the cusp into middle age. (From what I can tell, our demographic is the majority. Men are fewer and tend to be married.) We prefer dogs to men (though perhaps I speak out of turn), and we have a lot to say about the way the world is run (more on that in future posts). This pack, however, like all the packs at Dog Park, is fluid. We drop back on the trail to scoop some poop and find ourselves walking with the guys who watch basketball or program computers or strolling with a microbiology major who studies her dog’s poop with the intensity of an ancient Greek oracle. Mobility is the key, really. Dog Park, unlike tenth-grade math class, is en plein air. If you don’t like the conversation, you keep moving.

I hope that’s what this blog will be about—the issues and conflicts and discussions that come up during my daily walks along the two intersecting loops of trails at my Dog Park, a dusty patch of undeveloped land in the heart of central Austin. I spend hours there every day with my two dogs, and it occurred to me recently that it was time to document a place where so much happens even as it always stays the same. I hope to post regularly. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.--zia

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